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Over the past year, we’ve seen this massive shift to remote work and the accelerated adoption of integrated cloud collaboration. For Cisco, we lived this journey with our customers as they moved to our Webex collaboration platform with calling, messaging, meetings, sharing, presence and seamless integrations with our device portfolio, wrapped with intelligence for productive collaboration from anywhere.

While the world quickly embraces modern collaboration technology, calling is undergoing a massive transformation as it becomes more embedded in our everyday workflows. Calling is no longer its own separate workflow requiring users to stop what they are doing, pick up the phone and dial. Voice is being deeply integrated into new technologies to allow users to make a call from any application and to move that call to any device.  Not only that, but the lines between meetings, chats and calls are blurring as users need the ability to make a call then start sharing a screen or whiteboarding.

While calling is not a new technology by any means, offering voice across a diverse set of devices with consistently high quality is very difficult to do and requires a deep understanding of the technology. As calling finds its way into more workflows and uses cases, businesses need a solid foundation for reliable high-quality calling to maintain the end-user experience. They need the sophistication of software, hardware and networking all working together in the background to deliver this experience.

 

Calling as a Part of Everyday Workflows

During the pandemic, millions of users spun up their home offices within days. Cisco helped many of our customers transition their entire organizations to remote work and our collaboration applications were downloaded millions of times to allow users to keep working without returning to the office. With that, calling showed up in a big way; students dialled into class, sales reps called on their customers and healthcare workers checked on their patients.

Calling is a universal way to connect and continues to be the way that most people connect in real-time. Due to the timely nature of voice, quality and reliability are critical. For example, let’s think about an emergency 911 call made to a local dispatcher. The phone call needs to be reliable and with the highest quality to enable the two parties to communicate clearly over the phone.  Every word is spoken and detail shared is mission-critical and could be a matter of life or death.

We are proud to have earned the trust of many first responders and critical service providers who rely on our calling platform to provide essential services, often around the clock.  See how San Francisco Suicide Prevention migrated their vital service to Webex Calling with absolute reliability and enhanced effectiveness:

 

Cloud Calling Migration: the Journey is Key

We at Cisco are proud to have pioneered VoIP technology both on-premises and in the cloud. The Cisco calling platform underpinning Webex is also used by the largest telecom operators worldwide to support over 34 million cloud calling business users. And our on-premises Unified Communications Manager deployments further support tens of millions of users in businesses of all sizes. Together our calling platforms deliver over 6 billion calls every single month!

The benefits of migrating calling to the cloud are that it provides resilience, scalability and consistent user experience while minimizing operational effort. It also offers the most effective way to continuously keep pace with innovation.  As new use cases for calling pop up, the cloud allows us to react quickly and provide new user experiences. Cloud calling fits within the overall drive for digital transformation, resulting in more connected and cost-effective, integrated workflows.

But moving on-premises calling infrastructure to the cloud requires detailed planning and flawless execution. It’s not just moving to a cloud softphone alone – as some might think. For example, at Cisco, we have over 50 million softphones deployed but we understand that it’s not enough for the transformation, what you need to move is your call control. This change requires critical capabilities, including user, group and enterprise features, dial plans, emergency access, device configuration and PSTN connectivity require continuity through migration to transition smoothly and minimize negative business impact.

Our experience with delivering Calling and other collaboration experiences across on-premises, hybrid and cloud led to the development of tools, solution architectures and processes to move and quickly get value out of the cloud.

Here is a detailed overview of cloud migration technology and process considerations from one of our engineers specializing in this area. Watch the video to learn more about cloud migration, validation, and best practices:

Looking Ahead

As workflows continue to adapt and change at a rapid pace, the ability to integrate calling into a complete collaboration experience opens new and exciting opportunities.

Full calling integration in Webex enables natural workflows, moving seamlessly between calls, meetings, messaging and sharing to optimize team productivity. Our calling leverages platform intelligence like noise cancellation and other AI-based capabilities that were once only leveraged in high-end conference rooms.

With Webex, we are evolving the Calling experience from just hearing, to seeing and doing. We are leveraging the full power of Webex capabilities to enable completely new calling use cases. Imagine a world where you can always see the person you’re talking to like the richness of an in-person interaction but with the simplicity of picking up the phone. We are committed to building an inclusive future for all by bringing more empathy through every connection one phone call at a time.

 

This blog was originally written by Lorrissa Horton for Cisco Blogs.

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