Cisco Changes Licensing for Unified Communications Platform

DL380 Gen10

Cisco is modifying its licensing model for such tools as WebEx and Jabber to offer software-based choices, and the company is paring down the menu to three options.

Cisco Changes UC Licenses for Mobile Workforce

Cisco has changed the licensing structure for its unified communications products, positioning the changes as a response to Cisco partners that have asked for more flexibility in UC licensing and for more features to be added to certain packages.

For starters, Cisco is removing the requirement that UC licenses be anchored to the acquisition of Cisco IP phones, and is instead moving to what the company describes as “software only” licensing. This will allow customers to interact with the Cisco telephony platform via other devices like PCs, tablets and smartphones.

The new licensing reflects those disparate needs, offering three options with various levels of collaboration solutions, including Jabber, WebEx Social and WebEx Conferencing, McLeod said. The three UC licensing options are Standard for more traditional workers, Enhanced/Enhanced+ for workers who split time between the office and being on the go, and Professional for the fully mobile workers.

Cisco’s three levels of UC licensing:

Standard for mainstream information workers: Includes call control, voice messaging, unified clients, mobility, and presence for medium to large businesses

Enhanced/Enhanced+ for mobile workers: Everything from the Standard option with Cisco Jabber mobile

Professional for “power users” that need it all: All of the above plus video, audio, and web conferencing, contact center capabilities, and more

Furthermore, all new customers will be eligible to use Cisco’s new Enterprise Licensing Manager (ELM), a free application designed to offer better visibility of licensing usage. ELM is native in UC Release 9.0, and offers users an easy way to manage their licenses—including removing licenses and adding new ones, moving them and changing them. It gives workers an easy way to adapt their licenses as their collaboration needs evolve. McLeod (senior director of worldwide partner collaboration sales for Cisco) said the capabilities in the applications are a key differentiator for Cisco.

“What we’ve bolted into ELM are things that no one else has,” he said.

The new licensing model also reflects a growing trend within the UC and video collaboration toward a greater demand for software, one that vendors like Cisco, Avaya and Polycom are all looking to address. Cisco officials have been making significant moves to bring the company’s various UC components together. For example, in June, Cisco brought its portfolio of online collaboration tools under the WebEx umbrella and grew the capabilities of its WebEx Social (formerly Quad) enterprise social networking offering.

Later that month, Cisco rolled out UC Release 9.0, greatly expanding the capabilities of its UC tools and services, including the ability to work better with third-party endpoints.

Cisco’s McLeod said a number of trends, including greater demand for collaboration over the Web and the growth in the use of video, are driving the evolution of UC.

More Cisco News:

Cisco WebEx Social: Bringing Social Collaboration to Mobile Devices

Cisco’ Answer to SDN, Cisco ONE Introduced at Cisco Live

Cisco, VMware Doing Further on Next-gen Cloud Infrastructure

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