Cisco Webex Calling Review: Say Hello to the Cloud
Cisco’s new cloud-based calling service is packed with useful features and those vital integrations, making it a business must-have
Global communications giant, Cisco Systems, is headquartered in San Jose, California. The company develops several kinds of networking hardware and telecom equipment, along with other high-tech products.
Webex Calling is a cloud-centric telephony system, part of the Cisco Webex collaboration suite. It’s essentially meant for mid-sized to large businesses, offering all the critical business calling capabilities one might need. It reduces the expense and management challenges of having a physical phone system infrastructure on your premises.
Inside Cisco Webex Calling
Let’s delve deeper and look at Cisco Webex Calling’s features.
HD video and audio calls – You can receive and make HD video and audio calls via the Cisco Webex Teams app or through the company’s IP phones which are registered to the Webex Calling service. Cisco Webex Calling supports up to 10 devices for every per user and up to 8 simultaneous calls for each line. You can configure a single phone or extension number for multiple users, as well as prioritise a specific line to be used when you’re off-hook.
Call barging and hunt groups – You can join a call that’s in progress on a shared line ( a feature ideal for assistants and supervisors). And of course, there’s privacy support. You can also configure a set of telephone numbers to ring in a specific order. Further, alternate fall-back destinations are ready in the event of outages.
Voicemail – With voicemail, you can receive call updates on your personal mailbox or even on your email. It’s also device-agnostic, so you can listen and respond accordingly, from any device. You can choose to receive an email with the voicemail’s audio file attached, or check on voicemail notifications on the Webex Teams app.
Webex Control Hub – This is your dashboard for managing all your Webex services. The intuitive menus, synchronisation with company directory, user adding/uploading/modifying, and other such features make orchestrating the calling facility pretty simple. The smart GUI is easy to use, and you can quickly configure your Webex Calling dial plan.
End-user self-care portal: You can –
- Customise phone settings
- Create codes for device activation
- Individualise Do Not Disturb (DND) and Single Number Reach (SNR)
- Initiate call forwarding with zero IT support
Security – This enables encryption for a host of activities including phone registration, activation, call signalling, audio & video streams, and voicemail. All admin tasks and UI workflows are encrypted as well.
Webex Teams and Cisco IP phone integration – Collaboration is far easier with this feature, and you can make and receive calls on your desk phone, audio conference phone, or even with the Webex Teams app. Colleagues already using Teams can be called right from your desk phone, quickly starting a meeting. Contacts and call history can be pulled out on your desk phone too, and it takes just a single click to join a meeting (using Cisco Webex Hybrid Calendar Service).
iOS compatibility – The Webex Calling app works with Apple iOS 10, making usage simpler than ever before, even when you’re on another call.
Why Cisco Webex Calling Makes a Difference
Cisco Webex Calling works across a range of Cisco IP Phone 7800 and 8800 Series devices. This means that the app will be just as effective from the main office to the branch office, and also your home office. There are a plethora of PBX capabilities (virtual receptionist, hunt and pickup groups, shared lines, and personalised voice mailboxes). There’s also a number of highly useful mid-call features which makes calling uncomplicated and hassle-free.
Collaboration is a major focus for Cisco Webex Calling, and you can take/make calls wherever you are using the Webex Teams tool. It also lets you share files, screens, and messages, without having to switch windows.
Probably the best thing about Cisco Webex Calling is the sheer simplicity of its design, and the Webex Control Hub lets you manage things exactly the way you want it. Add to that the self-care portal functionality, meaning users can choose the settings and preferences they need themselves.
What We Think
If you’ve been waiting for a premier brand to come out with a multi-tenant cloud-based calling opting, Cisco Webex Calling is what you’ve been looking for. For a monthly subscription service, you get to use a host of handy features.
We liked its enhanced user experience and the fact that multiple integrations with other Cisco products make a collaboration that much more comfortable. It’s also global, so that delivery is seamless, coming in through various regionally distributed data centres. And, if you’re worried about already having a Cisco UCM license in place on-premises, you can use the Cisco Collaboration Flex plan to protect your current investments.
In other words, this is a pragmatic shift to the cloud without upsetting your natural pace, by intelligently combining cloud, mixed-cloud, and on-premises infrastructures.