Cisco Increases Offerings for SMB Space

Recognizing the opportunity in the often-overlooked small-to-medium-business market, Cisco Systems has enhanced its product and services offerings to include enterprise-quality technologies for smaller consumption.

The company has announced a new family of switches the Cisco 300 Series managed switches designed with power savings in mind as well as increased quality of service, said Mark Monday, vice president of Ciscos Small Business Technology Group.

This is one family ranging in size from eight ports to 48 ports,” he said. They are all new switches for the small business with all the new capabilities and features available in switching now such as QoS and better energy efficiency. And because it is one big family each has a consistent interface, which makes it easier for partners to be successful once they learn how to configure them.”

The company also introduced new IP communications devices, ranging in complexity from entry-level to Wi-Fi-enabled. At the low end, Ciscos Spa 300 series is a portfolio of entry-level IP phones in the sub-$100 range with support for Ciscos Unified Communications 500 Series and hosted IP telephony systems. Moving up the stack, the 525G2 is a full-featured, wireless IP phone with Mobile Link, a feature that pairs with a mobile phone to allow the smooth transfer of calls back and forth, plus the import of contacts wirelessly.

From the 525G2 you can accept a call ringing on your cellphone or transfer to a call to your cell phone and walk out the door,” Monday said. Plus, because it is wi-fi enabled it doesnt require wires you dont need to run wires to use these phones.”

Cisco also introduced Office Manager, a desktop administration too that can be used by the office manager in-house to manage the Cisco IP communications system. Using this tool, the office manager can set up business hours, time of day, etc., as well as manage adds, moves and changes. And users are all defined in office manager, so if someone quits the office manager can turn off that persons account with one click.”

The company also debuted additions to its video surveillance solution set the VC 220 dome camera for indoor use and the VC 240 bullet camera for outdoor use, both featuring enhanced image quality in bright and low lighting conditions. Cisco also introduced its Advanced Video Monitoring System, a software application enabling users to monitor and control their video deployments of up to 64 cameras.

Say, for example, you run a bike shop,” Monday said. Now you can have a high-end surveillance solution for relatively low cost. Partners in particular are seeing value in this and are adding this to their product set.”

Cisco also created a new support arm specifically for its SMB partners, offering one-on-one support for products and services in the SMB portfolio. The Cisco Small Business Support Service offers three years of peace-of-mind support, including next-business-day advanced hardware replacement, software updates, access to the Cisco Small Business Support Center and Small Business Support Community, and online chat support.

The company also created an online portal for its SMB partners that provides immediate access to the Cisco business applications and information that partners use most frequently to help improve productivity.

Partners can define My Cisco the way they want to see it,” Monday said. They can choose what functions and features they want to see and access, and configure it the way they work with Cisco.

With these service and support additions, we are ensuring the partners can support their customers with our environments. We want them to feel good about being a partner of Cisco,” he added. We are very serious about the small-business market.”

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