As part of Cisco's ongoing efforts to enable anytime, anywhere collaboration, Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) today announced new software that extends the Cisco Jabber unified communications application to virtualized workspace environments. As part of a long-term software strategy for collaboration-enabling virtual desktops, this software, called the Virtualization Experience Media Engine (VXME), will be available initially on Cisco thin clients, followed by support for third-party devices, starting with Dell Wyse thin clients, and then Windows-based thin clients and Windows PCs.
VXME enables virtual desktop users to access Jabber's enterprise-class collaboration capabilities such as voice and high-definition (HD) video, presence and instant messaging (IM) as part of the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) Smart Solution. With the Cisco VXI end-to-end solution for desktop virtualization, virtual desktops, applications and collaboration services are centrally hosted on the Cisco Unified Data Center and delivered across a Cisco network to a broad array of user devices for a superior virtual workspace experience.
Cisco also announced support for new desktop accessories, designed exclusively for Cisco by Logitech and Jabra, which enable Cisco Jabber for Windows users to customize their virtual workspace to increase productivity and work more effectively. For example, a virtual desktop user logging in from a home office may want a keyboard with a unique caller-ID display and call control buttons. There are also specially designed peripherals, ranging from a standalone speaker phone to a handset to a webcam that enables Jabber users to collaborate from their virtual desktop using HD video. Cisco, Jabra and Logitech have enhanced the collaboration desktop consisting of voice, computing and video services, into a fully integrated virtual desktop solution built around Jabber.
Today's announcement is all about helping employees work the way they want. As employees demand increased flexibility in how they work, more and more companies are turning to desktop virtualization. According to a 2012 Cisco IBSG Horizons study, 68 percent of U.S. respondents agreed that most knowledge-worker roles within their company are suitable for desktop virtualization; over half of these U.S. respondents have already implemented -- or are in the process of implementing -- a desktop virtualization strategy. Respondents indicated that the top three drivers of desktop virtualization for their organizations are data protection, employee mobility, and business agility.
Cisco Jabber for virtual environments, enabled by VXME, is initially available on Cisco's thin client, the Virtualization Experience Client (VXC) 6215. The VXME software is targeted for global availability in the first half of the calendar year. Additional benefits include:
- Increased choice for users: In the first half of the calendar year, the VXME software will be extended to Dell Wyse's Z50D thin client, followed by support for third-party Windows-based thin clients and Windows PCs, to enable an enhanced enterprise collaboration experience to other endpoints as part of the VXI architecture.
- Improved user experience: Cisco VXI was the first desktop virtualization architecture to eliminate the crippling network bottlenecks and server overload often caused by real-time voice and video traffic traveling between an end user device and a virtual desktop hosted in the data center. Today's announcement builds on that solution design; using the VXME software, Cisco Jabber is able to use the computing and processing resources of the local user device. This minimizes the impact of real-time HD audio and video traffic on the network and data center resources and frees up bandwidth, improving the experience for end users on a virtual desktop.
- Easier Management for IT: With today's announcement, Cisco VXI becomes the first desktop virtualization architecture to integrate network-based quality of service (QoS). The VXME software on a thin client makes the network aware of the voice and video traffic on the virtual desktop, enabling the network to automatically prioritize this collaboration traffic. This reduces jitter and delay and delivers the best possible collaboration experience.
- Highly secure access to information and collaboration virtually: With Cisco Jabber for virtual environments, Cisco VXI enhances the collaboration experience delivered without compromising on voice and video capabilities. To end users, the virtual desktop becomes a mirror of their traditional enterprise workspace, providing highly secure access to documents, corporate applications, and a full suite of collaboration tools via Jabber.
- Compatibility with top desktop virtualization partners: Cisco Jabber for virtual environments is compatible with Cisco VXI solutions running Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 FP1, Citrix XenApp Published Desktop version 6.5, or VMware View 5.1.
Cisco is also providing options for users to personalize their virtual desktop experience, through support for new desktop accessories from Logitech and Jabra. These new accessories are built exclusively for Cisco Jabber, running natively or in virtual environments.