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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags unified communicationsvoipciscoiPhoneWi-Fi

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

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?