Cisco Unified IP Phone Services Application Development Notes Release 9.1(1) and Later
Custom Client Services Overview
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Custom Client Services Overview

Custom Client Services Overview

Services and Directories

You can use Cisco Unified IP Phones to deploy customized client services that users can interact with using the phone keypad and display. Services deploy using HTTP from standard web servers.

Users access client services using the Services and Directories buttons or menu options (availability varies by phone model). When a user presses the Services button (or chooses the Services menu item), a menu of configured services displays. The user then chooses a service from the list, and the phone displays the service.

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

  • Weather
  • Stock information
  • Contact information
  • Company news
  • To-do lists
  • Daily schedule

The following figure shows a sample text menu.

Figure 1. Cisco Unified IP Phone Text Menu Sample

Cisco Unified IP Phones can also display graphic menus, as shown in the following figure.

Figure 2. Graphic Menu on a Cisco Unified IP Phone Sample

Phone users can navigate a text menu using the Navigation button followed by the Select softkey, or by using the numeric keypad to enter a selection directly. Graphic menus currently do not support cursor-based navigation; users simply enter a number using the DTMF keypad.

When a menu selection is made, the Cisco Unified IP Phone acts on it by using the 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 the user interacts with the object.

The following figures show typical displays that result from selecting a service. The first figure shows a stock quote that was generated using plain text, and the second figure displays a graphic image.

Figure 3. Plain Text Display Example

Figure 4. Graphic Image Display Example

Cisco Unified Communications Manager limits Cisco Unified IP Phone service activity to a specific Services pane in the Cisco Unified 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.


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 using a web server, keep in mind that the content is not HTML. All content comes to the phone either as plain text or packaged in proprietary XML wrappers.

Restrictions and Limitations

Custom Application Delays

When users interact with custom phone applications, they may experience unusually long phone response delays under the following conditions:

  • Heavy data usage when there are concurrent phone calls or other HTTP services (for example, Extension Mobility or Extension Mobility Cross Cluster).
  • Repeated pushing of large files to the phones (for example, pushing large image files every second).


The response time also varies between different phone models due to internal processing limitations.

Administrators should configure the external services for the best application performance. For more information, see IP Phone Service Administration and Subscription.