Is Cisco Missing An Integration Idea?

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief

Cisco Unified IP Phones

Several years ago when we were working with Cisco on the concepts, design and implementation of their Bank of the Future showcase at Bedfont Lakes, Feltham we had the innovative idea of tying their very successful VoIP telephony system into a digital signage solution.

The idea was simple, use the screens and the XML browser built in to Cisco’s (then new) range of 7970 phones to control the signage in the branch!

We built a relatively simple interface using all the standard Cisco middleware and ended up with a nice design on the phone’s built-in screen that would allow say, a Retail Bank Branch Manager to change the ‘mood’ of the signage in the branch simply by using the phone on his desk!

The Branch Manager could also call up new content, display new videos etc. if he / she wanted to override anything shown on the screens.

At the time, we realised it was just as easy to ‘pump’ data the other way – i.e. the content from the screens, with a little re-formatting could be played back on the 7970’s screen.

If I remember correctly video support on the 7970 wasn’t brilliant (not that many frames per seconds – maybe 12 or 13?) so we ended up with lots of JPG animation BUT in just a few short years the Cisco phones have changed and improved immensely…

The new suite of evolutionary Cisco Unified IP Phones, Cisco Unified IP Phone 7975G, 7965G, 7945G, 7962G, and 7942G models, have Advanced Media endpoints, which create an even better end-user experience.

The Cisco Unified IP Phone portfolio provides:

  • IP phones with color LCD displays, including dynamic soft keys for call features and functions
  • Support for information services, including Extensible Markup Language (XML) capabilities to extend IP phone systems
  • The ability to customize XML-based services to give IP phone users access to a variety of information, such as stock quotes, employee directories, and Web-based content
  • Anyway we saw on Friday, buried deep inside a press release entitled “Geek Terminal Serves Up Business Mobility for Corporate Executives on the Go with Cisco Unified Communications” that, and we quote…

    “The patrons and staff of Geek Terminal can also look forward to added convenience at their fingertips with unique applications developed by NexLabs, made available on the Cisco Unified IP Phones. SMARTEssentials provides users with instant information through news services and information feeds. SMARTDisplay allows for dynamic images to be displayed on the phones, creating unique advertising opportunities for the cafĂ©”

    Perhaps Cisco doesn’t know what it has here BUT Geek Terminal has implemented what we started and given a way for advertisers to hit another screen medium inside a venue.

    Yes, understood that not every one is going to have a screen enabled phone on their desk (yet at least), or in a cafe, whatever, but in corporates they will, in business centres they will and here we see an opportunity to simply take content (including advertising of course) onto another screen medium.

    About Geek Terminal

    Geek Terminal is Singapore’s premier executive lounge and business office for the corporate executive. Geek Terminal links and empowers like-minded professionals to connect to new business services.

    Built specifically for business travellers and mobile business executives looking for a place to meet, Geek Terminal serves great coffee and food and offers full access to state-of-the-art business centre facilities for executives to work and communicate while away from the office.

    Geek Terminal is strategically located in the Business District of Singapore and serves breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner from 7.30 am till 10 pm on weekdays and from 9 am till 6 pm on Saturdays (closed on Sundays and public holidays).

    Cisco Press Release in full

    SMARTDisplay: Dynamic and Revolving Image Push to IP Phones

    • Web UI to manage rotating images/text to be displayed on 7940/60 when phones are not in used
    • Support color images in 7970


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