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RIM and Cisco push unified comms on BlackBerry

But will it spell the end for the desk phone?

By CBR Staff Writer

Research in Motion (RIM) has announced a tie-up with network vendor Cisco to launch BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS) Server for Cisco Unified Communications Manager.

The system can turn a user’s BlackBerry device into an extension of their desk phone, providing one contact phone number and one voicemail that works across both the mobile device and a Cisco Unified IP desk phone.

The user can transfer calls between the desk phone and the BlackBerry as well as make calls from the smartphone using either the BlackBerry phone number or enterprise line.

BlackBerry MVS Server enables IT admin to push out policies to individuals or groups of users to prevent incoming or outgoing international or long-distance calling, directory enquiries calls, or calls based on specified area codes. RIM says this should enable organisations to keep control of the costs associated with phone systems.

“It’s just like being in an office,” David Heit, RIM’s senior product manager, told CBR. “The person I am talking to has no idea whether I am in the office or not, and I’ll have no idea if they are out of the office. If I am put on hold, it is via the corporation’s PBX and the voicemail is the company’s rather than the mobile carrier’s.”

Heit added that although there are now lots of mobile workers using a mobile as their primary communication device, there will always be a need for a desk phone. “We are talking about breaking a paradigm that has been in place forever. Some people have to have a desk phone, the idea of getting rid of it is relatively radical to them,” he said.

The platform requires BES 4.1.5 or later, Cisco Unified Communications Manager 6.1 or later and a BlackBerry MVS Client installed on BlackBerry smartphones running BlackBerry Device Software 4.5 or later.

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RIM expects BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS) Server for Cisco Unified Communications Manager to be available in North America during the third quarter of this year, with a European release a short while after that.

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