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Cisco’s Unified Communications 6 is packed with upgrades that didn’t get coverage

Cisco Systems, Inc. has released version 6.0 of its Unified Communications suite. The announcement came earlier this week, but most coverage focused on the addition of mobility to the suite’s abilities.

A more useful aspect of the debut was ably covered by our sister site SearchVoIP.com, specifically focusing on a joint venture between Cisco and IBM under which Unified Communications 6.0 would integrate with Lotus Notes, SameTime nand a variety of other IBM applications.

But there’s a lot more there — a lot more. UC6.0 brings mobility to call manager, the ability to switch from WiFi to cell nets and back again more easily, better integration with directories, toolbar-icon-level integration with Exchange and other Microsoft apps, more effective management, better phones, and — most significantly for much of the channel — new packages designed specifically for the mid- and small-business markets.

UC500, designed for companies of under 500 end users is probably the most interesting part of the new release, because its simplicity and ease-of-installation (not to mention the cost) brings UC within reach of almost any customer, according to Matt Briggs, partner and director of sales for Single Path, a voice-over-IP/Unified Communications specialist Cisco named its Midwestern Regional SMB Partner of the year for 2006.

Prices haven’t been released yet, nor has a release date, though Cisco announcement materials list May of this year as the target for the first shipments to customers. More details and more VAR reaction on the way.

In the meantime, here’s the key Cisco presentation on Unified Communications 6.0, with the full list of features and dates. Warning: it’s 35 pages worth of PowerPoint, but most of them have enough information to justify the slides.

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