Cisco adding iPhone app for voice-over-Wi-Fi

Growing iPhone use spurs efforts to expand unified communications tech

Cisco Systems Inc. plans to add voice-over-Wi-Fi capabilities to its existing iPhone app by April, part of a continuing effort to expand its unified communications technology into the mobile space.

The current iPhone Cisco Mobile app requires users to have a Cisco Unified Mobility Advantage server installed at a business. The server is usually administered by a company's IT department.

Cisco Mobile already gives iPhone users quick access to many of the standard Cisco IP features, such as visual voicemail and Mobile Connect, software that can route calls from a work number through a company's phone switching network and then out to an iPhone. The iPhone client software is free.

Cisco sees voice over Wi-Fi for the iPhone as a less expensive way to communicate because it would eliminate the need to use cellular voice minutes when placing a call in a Wi-Fi zone, said Laurent Philonenko, general manager of Cisco's unified communications business unit.

The upcoming version, to be called Cisco Mobile Voice, will also be free and is expected to be available by April. Among the new features it will offer is "shake to lock," which allows a user to end a call with a simple shaking gesture of the phone, he said. Another, named "call preservation," allows a phone call to stay connected, even if a user opens a different application in the iPhone.

Cisco is also developing another iPhone application for voice-activated dialing. That app can be launched by bringing the phone to the ear and speaking, since the iPhone's accelerometer detects the movement. It will be part of the Web 2.0 IP Telephony Widget.

Philonenko spoke to reporters in Boston and other cities from San Jose, Calif. via videoconference and was joined in Madison, Wisc., by Pat Scheckel, vice president of converged infrastructure solutions for CDW, which resells computers and related gear to businesses.

CDW, which has 3,500 customer deployments of Cisco's mobile and unified communications technology globally, has already worked with one manufacturing company that has implemented voice over Wi-Fi using Nokia smartphones and Cisco 7925 IP phones, Scheckel said. "They had exorbitant cell phone bills and now just use Wi-Fi," he noted.

Philonenko said it is important for Cisco to bring its mobility apps to iPhone, which has gained ground in large businesses in the past two years. Cisco eventually plans to bring all of its mobility applications to Nokia and BlackBerry devices, and, later, Android phones, he said. "Android is not yet a big factor in the enterprise ," he said. "And we think Windows Mobile will re-emerge....

"The iPhone came from nowhere and companies like CDW are now deploying them by the thousands," Philonenko said. With smartphone devices proliferating, cell networks seem to have saturated the globe, "but there's still not enough 3G bandwidth for what people want to do." As a result, Wi-Fi is seen as a relief valve, raising the value of voice over Wi-Fi, he added.

Cisco, which offers Webex collaboration software as well, is tracking the growing importance of social networking, Philonenko added. "Everything we do [at Cisco] is going to be mobilized," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags unified communicationsWi-FivoipiPhonecisco

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?