Cisco IP Phone Services Application Development Notes for Release 4.0(1)
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You can use Cisco IP Phones, such as the Cisco IP Phones 7960 and 7940, to deploy customized client services with which users can interact via the keypad and display. Services deploy using the HTTP protocol from standard web servers, such as Microsoft IIS.

Cisco IP Phones have buttons that are labeled services and directories. When a user presses the services button, a menu of services that are configured for the phone displays. The user then chooses a service from the listing, and the phone display updates.

The following list gives typical services that might be supplied to a phone:


Stock information

Contact information

Company news

To-do lists

Daily schedule

Figure 1 shows a sample text menu created during development.

Figure 1 Cisco IP Phone Text Menu Sample

Cisco IP Phones can also display graphic menus, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 Graphic Menu on a Cisco IP Phone Sample

The way that a service is configured determines whether a graphic or text menu displays.

A phone user can navigate a text menu by using the up/down rocker switch followed by the Select softkey, or by using the DTMF keypad to enter a selection directly. Graphic menus currently do not support any type of cursor-based navigation; users simply enter a numeric item selection by using the DTMF keypad.

When a menu selection is made, the Cisco  IP Phone acts on it by using its HTTP client to load a specific URL. The return type from this URL can be plain text or one of the CiscoIPPhone XML objects. The object loads and then interacts with the user in an appropriate manner for the object.

Figure 3 and Figure 4 show typical displays that result from selecting a service. Figure 3 shows a stock quote that was generated by using plain text.

Figure 3 Plan Text Display Example

Figure 4 displays a graphic image.

Figure 4 Graphic Image Display Example

Cisco CallManager limits Cisco IP Phone service activity to a specific Services pane in the Cisco IP Phone display. A service cannot modify the top line of the phone display, which contains the time, date, and primary extension. A service cannot overwrite the bottom line of the display, which contains softkey definitions. The pane that displays the service sits flush with the left side of the display, and enough of the right side of the display remains intact to ensure that users can see the status of phone lines.

Note HTML Disclaimer: Phone service developers must take into consideration that the phone is not a web browser and cannot parse HTML. Although content is delivered to the phone through HTTP messages by using a web server, keep in mind that the content is not HTML. All content comes either as plain text or packaged in proprietary XML wrappers.