As you may know, Cisco has introduced many products and technologies in the field of unified communications and collaboration, and has entered the phone headset market with its 500 series headsets last year. This year at Partner Summit Cisco introduced the 700 series, which targets mobile workers segment.
Cisco Headset 730 Specifications
The 700 series is a series of headsets aimed primarily traveling mobile workers and 730 is the first model of the series. Especially in crowded environments, the noise canceling mechanisms ensure clear communication for both the headset and the called party. Below you will find detailed features of the Cisco 730 headsets:
Connectivity via Bluetooth 5.0, USB-A and 3.5mm
Premium Codec Support (SBC, AAC, aptX, aptXHD)
Active Background Noise Cancellation with 4 Microphones
Clear Voice Transmission with 2 Electret Condenser Microphone
Intelligent Sensor Technology (Mute on Earphone)
Voice Activated AI
Cisco Headset App for Customized Experience (App Store & Google Play)
Automatic Firmware Upgrades
Here is a table that compares the Cisco 700 series headphones to the 500 series:
Mobile / Office Workers
Office / Call Center Workers
Primary Connection Type
2 BT + 1 USB
Depends on Base Station
Ear Wearing Style
Monaural & Binaural
Carbon Black & Platinum
Active Noise Cancelling
Noise Reduction Microphone
For more information about Cisco 730 series headsets, please refer to the datasheet page.
The price of the newly introduced Cisco 730 series headset has not been set yet, but considering that the list price of the 560 series wireless headphones is around $600, my guess is that the list price will be in the range of $800 – $900.
With the 730 series headset, Cisco has provided a professional solution for both the consumer market and business purposes. Cisco 730 headset is a very useful product especially for frequent travelers.
Cisco has introduced IP DECT Solutions, which have been developed to meet the need for wireless telephony. Until now Cisco didn’t have a DECT phone solution in its product family and this situation being complemented by Wi-Fi or 3rd party DECT products.
Cisco IP DECT products operate in the USA and Canada in the frequency band range of 1920 – 1930 MHz and 1880 – 1900 MHz frequency band in other countries. The IP DECT series currently consists of 210 series base station and the 6825 series handheld terminal.
Let’s take a closer look at these products:
Cisco 6825 IP DECT Handset
2 Inches 240 × 320 Pixels 65K Color Display
Up to 17 Hours of Talk, 200 Hours of Standby Time
2 Lines Supported
Narrow Band (G.726) and Wide Band (G.722) Codec Support
Bluetooth and 3.5mm Wired Headset Support
Dimensions: 117 mm x 46 mm x 20 mm
Weight: 86 gr.
Cisco 210 IP DECT Base Station
30 Handheld Terminal Registration Per Single Base Station
5 Simultaneous Calls With Broadband Codecs and 10 Simultaneous Calls With Narrowband Codecs in Single Base Station
Scalability Up To 254 Base Stations
Total 1,000 SIP Device Registrations
Total 1,000 Simultaneous Calls with Broadband Codec, 2,000 Simultaneous Calls with Narrow Band Codec
G.711 (A-law & mu-law), G.722.2, G.726, G.729 (a & ab) Codec Support
PoE Class 2
In the Multicell concept, there is no central mechanism to control base stations. When deployed, one base station becomes the master station, and the other stations connect to master with the “Chain ID” defined on the base station and start their data synchronization. Yeah, that’s all.
Since the IP DECT series is a multiplatform product, it supports almost all PBXs using the standard SIP protocol. Here are Cisco’s officially supported platforms:
Cisco BroadSoft BroadWorks
Even looking at this list, you can actually understand Cisco’s strategy in unified communications solutions. 🙂
Although Cisco has always put WiFi phones in the foreground, DECT phones -which have a soft belly in the projects- have started to meet the need. As I wrote in my previous article, we will see if Cisco can surpass its competitors in this field with OpEx oriented solutions such as UCaaS and HaaS.
Cisco announced Webex Desk Pro at its 2019 Partner Summit event on November 6th, 2019.
During the event, they announced the collaboration solutions as a solution that can be installed together under a single infrastructure of systems that can be installed both in the cloud and in the organization. The name of this single infrastructure that includes call, messaging, meetings, devices and call center will be called as Webex.
Webex infrastructure, which has become quite flexible in terms of integration, will also be able to work integrated with the business tools such as Microsoft, Google, Slack and Salesforce.
After the launch of the infrastructure, two products, Webex Desk Pro and Webex Panorama, were launched in the device category. (I want to explore Webex Panorama in more detail, so I am saving it for another post)
Cisco Webex Desk Pro Features
Cisco Webex Desk Pro is a personal collaboration device with a structure similar to current DX80. Of course there are new features that distinguish it from the DX80. Let’s summarize them briefly:
27 ″ 4K Touch Screen
71 Degree View Angle HD Camera
Advanced Artificial Intelligence and Analytics
Microphone Array with Noise Canceling Mechanism
Premium Sound System
Support for Web Applications
Compared to previous models, Webex Desk Pro has new features like face recognition and artificial intelligence. In this way, it knows who is in front of the device and can address the person by it’s name. It can also adjust the camera according to your posture. You can blur the background of the camera image or replace it with another image. I have to add that personal assistant Webex Assistant is also in it.
The Cisco Webex Desk Pro can also be used as a docking station and a touchscreen monitor with a USB-C connection.
Cisco – Microsoft Collaboration
In addition to these innovations and products, Cisco-Microsoft cooperation was also introduced. Microsoft Teams, which initially seemed to be Webex’s competitor, will now be able to work directly with Webex rooms. (hello to those who are trying to integrate Skype for Business with CUCM in the past🙂)
Hardware as a Service (HaaS)
Cisco has also announced the option of Hardware as a Service (HaaS) as a service for IP telephony, desktop and room collaboration devices. In this service, institutions can have the equipments with long turm subscription contracts instead of buying them.
HaaS combined with Flex Plan, turns into a model that can be owned with fully operational costs, with no investment costs for enterprises, which is good news for many businesses from SMEs to large enterprises. Who wouldn’t want to own a Cisco IP phone for $5 or a Webex video conferencing system for $60 a month?
In the HaaS method, if you proceed with a 3-year membership model, at the end of 3 years you can continue the service on an annual basis or if you extend your membership for 3 more years, the devices are replaced with new ones. If the devices have become EoS at the end of 3 years, you can also replace them with new models.
For now, HaaS is only offered in the US, but many countries are considering providing this service in a short time.
Cisco, which has developed many pioneering technologies and concepts in the field of collaboration, has produced an exciting product. Webex Desk Pro, a personal collaboration and productivity product, will be available for purchase on February 2020.
We’ve been hearing the name WebRTC a lot lately. In fact, WebRTC, which has been in use since 2011, is not a new technology but is a technology that provides simultaneous media communication (audio and video). The most important feature of WebRTC, which has many advantages, is that it can work directly on many popular browsers without requiring additional software.
We can define the communication format used in WebRTC as peer-to-peer. This communication is directly between peers, so you don’t need any media servers. WebRTC is free and has a BSD license, so you can develop WebRTC applications for free. (For example, you can experience a video conference virtual room with WebRTC at this link)
WebRTC Supported Browsers
Nowadays, the following browsers support WebRTC:
PC & MAC
Microsoft Edge 12+
Google Chrome 28+
Mozilla Firefox 22+
Google Chrome 28+
Mozilla Firefox 24+
Opera Mobile 12+
MobileSafari / WebKit (iOS 11+)
There are 3 main components in WebRTC:
1. MediaStream API
2. RTCPeerConnection API
The RTCPeerConnection API provides NAT traversal, codec processing, mutual SDP negotiation, media transmission, and secure connection functions between peers.
3. RTCDataChannel API
The RTCDataChannel API provides the functionality of establishing bidirectional data transfer channels between peers.
Establishing Peer-to-Peer Connection
Signaling is a process that forms the connection between peers. It can be achieved by WebSocket, XMPP, SIP or any other mechanism. WebRTC technology utilizes protocols such as RTP, STUN, SIP and ICE.
Session Description Protocol (SDP)
Also known as SDP, it is a protocol used to communicate media capabilities (voice codecs, IP and port information, etc.) between peers before establishing a connection and to meet each peer at a common point.
Interactive Connectivity Establishment (ICE)
ICE is a framework for the NAT traversal mechanism. ICE collects all available candidates (local IP addresses, STUN return IP addresses, and transmitted IP addresses – TURN). All collected addresses are then sent to remote peers via SDP.
The STUN server enables peers to find public IP addresses, the types of NAT they use, and the relationship between the Internet-side port information associated with the local port information specified by NAT.
When STUN usage is not possible, it is used to transmit media streams over a TURN server (you may think of it as a proxy).
WebRTC is not always peer-to-peer (P2P), but in multiple communication situations (eg video conferencing), different solutions are available. Let’s take a look at these.
Multi-Point Communication Types
In the mesh network, all peers send their streams separately to other connected peers directly on the network.
Since this structure is completely distributed, there is no need to have any media servers in the center. The disadvantage of the mesh structure is the use of high bandwidth. In a multi-video call using a mesh structure, if each user generates a 1 Mbps stream, the amount of data sent and received per user will be 4 Mbps in each direction.
SFU stands for Selective Forwarding Unit. An SFU receives incoming media streams from all users and then decides which users to send to.
In this model, each user transmits their own generated media stream to the SFU server. The SFU server can send whoever wants the stream. In this way, bandwidth is used more effectively. Similar with the mesh example above, if each user generates a 1 Mbps stream, the total outgoing data amount per user will be 1 Mbps and the total incoming data amount will be a maximum of 4 Mbps.
MCU stands for Multipoint Conferencing Unit. An MCU receives incoming media streams from all users, decodes them, creates a new layout, and sends it to all users as a single stream.
The difference of this structure from SFU is that a single combined stream will be sent to each user and the total transmission and reception amount per user will be 1 Mbps in each direction. The disadvantage of this structure, as you can imagine, is the high cost of the MCU with a high processing power in the center.
Video conferencing is now a method of communication used in many organizations. Many vendors release many new technology products in their hardware and software portfolio. In this article, you can find a detailed review of Jabra Panacast, a 3-camera video conferencing product.
Panacast adventure begins in 2007 with the idea of “synchronized camera array”. Stanford-based Aurangzeb Khan and his team formed Altia Systems to develop Panacast in 2011. The first prototype of Panacast was released in 2012 and followed by Panacast 2 at the beginning of 2015. Altia Systems made such a great developments in image processing area and their products are used in more than 1600 companies. In February 2019, Altia Systems was acquired by GN Group (Jabra) for 129 million USD and Panacast is added to Jabra product line. Now we are seeing Jabra as a player in the video products also.
Jabra Panacast Specifications
Here are some of the highlights of Jabra Panacast:
The Jabra Panacast is quite small in size despite what it can do. The device measures 10cm x 7cm and weighs 100 grams, smaller and lighter than the average smartphone. The box contents are also quite simple; device, USB cable, booklet and warranty certificate.
Panoramic Image – How?
Panacast uses three 13 MP resolution 4K video cameras to produce 180-degree images.
Camera images are overlapped and combined by using a special image processing algorithm which runs on XILINX Artix-7 FPGA. The final image has a resolution of 3840×1080 pixels which covers a 180 degree vision. Since all this is done in less than 5 milliseconds, the user does not feel any delays during this process.
A similar solution has already been made with Huawei 3-screen Telepresence products. By using 3 downward facing cameras and prisms, the images were superimposed to achieve a continuous image. I have to inform you that the list price of such a system is worth 300K USD. 🙂
The advantage of the 180-degree image is it can fit more people on a single screen. In addition, another advantage is it provides this wide angle in smaller rooms, preventing dead spaces in the meeting room. You can see what I mean better in the image below:
Thanks to Jabra Panacast’s PC software (Panacast Vision), the camera can achieve intelligent zoom (ePTZ). This allows the camera to zoom in (or crop the image) to accommodate the speakers in front of the camera, and transmit the image as much as the people in the meeting room. This process is done dynamically according to the person entering and leaving the room to provide an optimized image.
You can see intelligent zoom feature in more detail in the following video:
Another innovative feature of Panacast is the whiteboard application. After you have marked the corners of your whiteboard in your meeting room with the Panacast Vision software, you can now transmit your content on the board properly. In the following video you can find out how to do this in detail:
Compatibility with Video Conferencing Systems
Since Panacast is a plug and play camera, it is compatible with most video conferencing software. You can use this product which is approved by Microsoft Teams and with many video conferencing software such as Cisco Webex, Zoom, Hangouts, Slack.
Jabra Panacast Price
You can find Jabra Panacast around 900 USD. Although it may seem high for a webcam at first, it can be a wise choice to add video conferencing to your meeting rooms when you consider what it can provide and it’s return on investment.