Cisco CIUS Business and Communications Apps Are Best in Class
When first glancing at the Cisco CIUS, it’s easy to be disappointed. Contrasted with the lightweight Samsung Galaxy Tab, the CIUS is small, chunky, and heavy. But after getting connected to our back end systems and handling it for a week, I am very impressed.
The email, calendar, and contact applications are excellent. I have mine hooked into our Exchange server, and everything works perfectly. Emails are easy to read, and the interface layout is superior. All the meetings on my calendar show up exactly like they do on my Outlook client, with no additional meetings, no erased meetings, and no confusing design.
Contacts are great. There is a fast search feature and all my Google contacts appear next to my Exchange contacts. What is really neat is that the contacts are incorporated into the phone application, which is where the Cisco CIUS really begins to distinguish itself from other Android gadgets.
The Cisco CIUS is a complete Cisco phone. I have mine hooked into a Plantronics bluetooth headset, and have been using it from home. I just authenticated the built-in Cisco AnyConnect client to our VPN service, and it pulled its profile from the Cisco Communications Manager server. The voice quality is also great – Cisco must have programmed some kind of processing priority on the phone application.
It is of course a full 720p HD video conferencing endpoint as well. External callers, EX90 users, and Movi client users can reach me by calling either my internal extension, or my URI, which is just my phone number at my domain. I have also tried video calls over a 4G Verizon mifi connection. When utilizing that, the video codec changes to the lesser bandwidth Standard Definition immediately. Even when the video pixellates vaguely, the voice stream on the video call is smooth with no alteration.
The Jabber and Webex clients come standard on the Cisco CIUS. They logged into my accounts easily. The Jabber client is great for Instant Messaging and Presence now, and because everyone at my workplace uses Webex Connect, it is nice to have this alternate communications path. Both clients are noticeably basic for now, and I am looking forward to the advancements that are coming that will merge voice and video into them.
The VMware View virtual desktop client is surprisingly good. I anticipated that it would be hard to use on a 7″ tablet, but it’s as simple to use as the same client on the Samsung Galaxy Tab. I think the touchscreen is more responsive or accurate on the CIUS, but I was able to easily review a couple different applications for information that I desired.
I have not used any games on this tablet yet, merely because this tablet is relevant to business. The Cisco design team clearly put some time and energy into making the business applications work nicely. I know there is a lot of security stuff and app store control as well, but that has no affect on usability.
The revisions I would like to see involve charging and battery life. The battery life is short, but part of that is because the tablet seems to be running all the time! If I don’t manually push the power button it will happily chug away and drain the battery in a few hours. I would also like to see some little LED illuminate when the tablet is being charged.
The Cisco CIUS tablet is a great device. Even though the specs are simple, those don’t tell the real story about this tablet. What really sets this device head and shoulders above any other tablet on the market is the rock solid implementation of the Cisco phone and the Cisco TelePresence video. All those applications put together have made this my first choice for the device that I reach for in my bag when I want to get things done.