Cisco/Apple bolster WiFi, business apps and voice collaboration with iOS 10 release

Cisco and Apple make iPhone and iPad integral part of enterprise network

The Cisco and Apple partnership has yielded a ton of new business features that include improved Wi-Fi connectivity, business app prioritization capabilities and the tighter integration of voice for collaboration – all via the today’s release of iOS 10 for Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

Today’s announcement is a reflection of how important and integral mobile smartphones have become to businesses. For example Cisco earlier this year stated that smartphone traffic would exceed PC traffic by 2020. In 2015, PCs accounted for 53% of total IP traffic, but by 2020 PCs will account for only 29% of traffic. Smartphones will account for 30% of total IP traffic in 2020, up from 8% in 2015, Cisco wrote in its 11th annual Visual Networking Index in June.

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“Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will account for two-thirds of total IP traffic by 2020. By 2020, wired devices will account for 34% of IP traffic, while Wi-Fi and mobile devices will account for 66% of IP traffic. In 2015, wired devices accounted for the majority of IP traffic at 52%,” the company stated.

The partnership, announced in August of 2015 also reflects how effectively the two companies can combine mobile devices and apps that can have an impact on enterprise networks. ."We can move beyond what just a normal app developer could do," said Rowan Trollope, senior vice president of Cisco's collaboration group at the time of the announcement.

Indeed the new integrated collaborative features between Cisco and Apple include:

  • Cisco said its enterprise wireless networks will recognize iOS 10, automatically enabling fast roaming and load balancing for high performance. iOS 10 devices and Cisco wireless access points perform a “handshake” that lets iPhones and iPads intelligently decide to which access point to connect, based on criteria such as existing network traffic.
  • Cisco said that IT can pick the apps they want to receive prioritized network bandwidth. The network accomplishes this by trusting iOS 10-embedded quality of service (QoS) tags. This ability is especially important for apps that use real-time services such as video and voice.
  • Cisco Spark, the company’s cloud collaboration platform uses public iOS 10 APIs to allow a native call when employees make calls on iPhones. Users can tap an address book contact, a favorite, or a recent and instantly initiate a voice or video call using Cisco Spark. They can also answer Cisco Spark calls directly from the lock screen and use Siri voice commands or Bluetooth-connected headsets to make calls. They can also take advantage of call waiting whether they're on Cisco Spark or cellular. In addition, iPhone calls can be integrated with existing telephony systems, according to Cisco.

“Like most folks, the smartphone has become my primary calling device. But here’s where things are interesting. With almost every other service I use – “there’s an app for that”. However, this hasn’t exactly been true for business calling. Most people just use the native dialer in their iPhones for business calling, despite the fact that Cisco – and other providers of IP communications infrastructure – have had mobile apps available that connect to their infrastructure wrote Jonathan Rosenberg, VP and CTO of Cisco Collaboration in a blog post about the announcement.These mobile apps – in many ways – offer a superior experience for business calling. VoIP enables the usage of wideband speech codecs like Opus for a much clearer call. Video calling is possible, and works great in Jabber and Cisco Spark. With Cisco Spark you can easily move a call to another device, like a Telepresence endpoint or a desk phone. These are all great experiences that you just don’t get when using the native phone app. For the IT guy, mobile apps provide cheaper calling by using campus WiFi, and allow for lower cost international calling because they use the enterprise UC infrastructure. They’re also better for compliance and security.”

Rosenberg wrotebefore iOS 10, if you were already on a cellular call when a second incoming cellular call arrived, you’d have a choice about which call to take. However, if you were on a VoIP call when that cellular call arrived, the VoIP call would be dropped. With iOS 10, the VoIP call behaves like a native call and you will get the same call waiting experience as a cellular call.

“Before iOS 10, if you received an incoming cellular call while the phone was locked, you get a familiar swipe-to-answer screen to answer the call. But, if that incoming call was a VoIP call, you’d get a system notification and you’d need to unlock your phone and launch the VoIP app to answer – often too late. With iOS 10, the incoming VoIP call behaves like a native call and you get the same incoming call experience as a cellular call,” Rosenberg wrote. And finally, prior to iOS 10, if you missed a cellular call, you could visit the recents list and call the person back with a single tap. But, if you missed an incoming VoIP call, you would have to separately find and launch the VoIP app and call them back from there. With iOS 10, the “recents” list includes VoIP calls just like cellular calls, allowing you to call the person back over VoIP just like call backs for cellular calls, Rosenberg wrote.

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