Last week Cisco revealed a push-to-talk communication solution called Instant Connect that, according to the vendor, is ideal for manufacturing, healthcare, campus and enterprise employees. Built for instant communication on current enterprise networks, the new VoIP service promises to deliver secure, reliable communications and a full-featured push-to-talk (PTT) experience that goes beyond the typical two-way PTT mobile handset experience.
Cisco said on Monday that its new Instant Connect solution uses existing network infrastructure over enterprise wireless networks, eliminating the need for a third-party service provider, a wireless carrier network and/or additional network investments. This new solution even allows users to choose the mobile device they want to use, including Cisco's own wired and wireless phones.
Instant Connect is established within the corporate network by installing PTT Servers that run as virtual applications on Cisco's Unified Data Center technologies including the Unified Computing Systems b-series, c-series and e-series platforms that can easily be expanded as PTT usage grows. To use the service, employees simply log into a group and push a button to communicate. Obviously once users move off-site, they can only remain connected to the PTT service via the corporate network by using a mobile carrier data plan or a Cisco-based hotspot.
For group and private PTT conversations, the new Cisco Instant Connect service supports Cisco Wireless IP Phones and touch-capable Android-based devices (phones, tablets, etc). The new service also now enables managers to directly create and control collaboration channels and group communication privileges.
As seen in the video below, Cisco demonstrates Instant Connect using two Samsung Rugby Pro phones and an Android app sporting one very large virtual PTT button. One of the users has even mapped one of the phone's physical buttons to activate the PTT function (rather than touching the screen). "Channels" added to the user's account can be changed by hitting a virtual button, loading up a stored list, and selecting the desired destination.
"Managers can add live surveillance cameras or recorded video, enabling rich media collaboration with the group," the company said. "Video surveillance feeds can be dropped into incident communication channels providing voice, video and data collaboration directly to field personnel."
Ultimately this new PTT solution seemingly eliminates recurring monthly service fees and operational expenses. "We are happy to launch our first wave of Cisco Instant Connect products in response to our customers asking for more cost effective solutions and greater control of their communications," added Dan O'Malley, Senior Product Manager at Cisco.
Cisco did not provide information regarding when Instant Connect will be available, or how much the service will cost, so keep checking back with Cisco's website for more information.
Kevin Parrish is a contributing editor and writer for Tom's Hardware,Tom's Games and Tom's Guide. He's also a graphic artist, CAD operator and network administrator.
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