Cisco extends Jabber unified communications to virtual desktops

Gartner estimates there will be 77 million users on virtual desktops by 2016

Cisco's (Nasdaq: CSCO) Jabber unified communications (UC) product is now available on virtual desktops, the firm announced Thursday.

Through software called the Virtualization Experience Media Engine, Cisco is now able to offer Jabber on Cisco thin clients and eventually will also be able to offer Jabber for virtual desktops on other thin clients as well as Windows PCs and mobile devices.

Jabber offers enterprise customers voice, high-definition video, web conferencing, presence and instant messaging. Cisco said it currently has 1.4 million Jabber seats. Gartner estimates there will be 77 million users on virtual desktops by 2016, according to Cisco.

"With Cisco Jabber now available for virtual environments, we are enabling our customers to deliver a complete 'anywhere' desktop to their employees without sacrificing the exceptional enterprise capabilities they have come to expect," Phil Sherburne, vice president of engineering in Cisco's Enterprise Smart Solutions unit, was quoted as saying by PC Magazine.

The advantages for enterprises to opt for virtual desktops instead of physical desktops include scalability, increased security, simplified deployment and management and lower cost, according to Cisco.

"When you do it right, [desktop virtualization] can lead to lower costs," Grace Kim, marketing manager for collaboration platforms, told FierceEnterpriseCommunications. What enterprises need to do is develop a clear virtualization roadmap, she explained.

Cisco is also integrating Jabra handsets and speakers as well as Logitech's (Nasdaq: LOGI) keyboards, mouse and webcam into the Jabber virtual desktop offering.

Logitech explained that its UC Keyboard K725-C interoperates directly with Cisco Jabber, so it can manage calls for any user who is signed in to the system. This makes the Logitech product well suited for "hot desking" work environments, where users do not have a permanently assigned desk or cubicle.

"With Cisco thin clients as part of an end to end architecture, we are able to give our sales representatives the capability to work remotely and securely from any location. Now, our IT organization is able to equally support Citrix (Nasdaq: CTXS) and VMware (NYSE: VMW) desktops and easily create a sales office and back office with full functionality with only a monitor," commented Hiroki Aramaki, technical specialist for collaboration technology at NetOne Systems.

For more:
- see the Cisco release
- check out PC Magazine's article
- see Logitech's release

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Cisco, Citrix expand desktop virtualization partnership into mobile cloud
Cisco rolls out new UC solution