Business today revolves around an increasingly mobile workforce. In order to deliver strategic value, mobile workers must effectively manage communications and maintain a high level of productivity-especially when they're on the road.
Cisco Personal Assistant helps busy professionals stay connected with dedicated administrative assistance that's easy to use, customize, and-together with Cisco Unity-delivers feature-rich Unified Communications to the enterprise. Cisco Unity provides powerful unified messaging (e-mail, voice, and fax messages sent to one inbox) and intelligent voice messaging (full-featured voice mail with advanced functionality).
Cisco Personal Assistant is a new-world telephony application that streamlines communications by helping users manage how and where they can be reached. Cisco Personal Assistant is easy to use and customize without special training or system administrator assistance.
Cisco Personal Assistant offers personal call rules, speech recognition, enhanced text-to-speech (TTS) functionality, and productivity services for Cisco IP phones. Enabled by Cisco AVVID (Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data), Cisco Personal Assistant interoperates with Cisco CallManager and scales to meet the present and future needs of your enterprise. Cisco Personal Assistant enhances productivity, both in the office and on the road, while improving customer access to all employees.
Cisco Personal Assistant also saves time by giving you speech-enabled access to your Cisco Unity voice messages, the corporate directory, and personal contact lists from any phone. The Web-based and phone user administration interfaces help prevent missed calls or untimely interruptions by giving you the ability to forward or screen calls in advance or in real time. IP phone productivity services give you the option to check your calendar and messages using the large, pixel-based LCD and interactive soft keys on the Cisco 7940 or 7960 model IP phones.
Automatic Speech Recognition
Cisco Personal Assistant features an automatic speech recognition (ASR) interface that provides users with simple voice commands to perform tasks. You can verbally dial entries from your personal address book or the corporate enterprise Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) directory for automated call connection services. Not only does this offer a hands-free interface for mobile executives, it also minimizes call volume loads for receptionists and administrative assistants. In addition, you can synchronize your Microsoft Exchange contact lists with personal address books for quick name-dialing and ad-hoc group conferencing via intuitive voice commands.
Cisco Personal Assistant provides speech-enabled access to your Cisco Unity voice messages. Speech recognition gives you the option to voice-navigate mailbox access and such standard voice mail functions as reply to, record, and delete.
Access to sensitive information such as voice mail is controlled by user authentication. Users not at their desk phones are prompted for a personal identification number (PIN) before being granted the privileges of name-dialing, personal address books, and call-routing rules.
Cisco Personal Assistant speech recognition is now available in two dialects of English-North American and U.K.-as well as European French, Canadian French, and German.
Text to Speech
Cisco Personal Assistant offers an optional enhanced TTS interface that provides users with the ability to read call-routing rule names, personal address book names, and corporate directory names when there are no recorded names available.
Cisco Personal Assistant enhanced TTS is now available in two dialects of English-North American and U.K.-as well as European French, Canadian French and German.
Manage Inbound and Outbound Calls (Rule-Based Routing)
Cisco Personal Assistant allows individual users to consolidate how and where they want to receive calls. Using a Web interface to create rules, users forward and screen calls based on caller identification, time of day, and meeting schedules (Figure 1). Users can also instruct Cisco Personal Assistant to forward selected calls to a series of phone numbers. Cisco Personal Assistant processes the user-configured rules and dispatches calls accordingly.
For example, a user can configure a rule to forward an important sales call that is expected between 10 and 11 a.m. to go directly to their mobile phone, while simultaneously sending calls from colleagues to voice mail and a pager. Simply establishing rule parameters helps users improve productivity and concentrate on tasks that require immediate attention.
With "Follow Me," a special rule set that uses speech recognition, users can forward all calls to a phone number immediately. In addition, users can also activate sets of pre-created rules from any phone.
The Cisco Personal Assistant graphical user interface (GUI) is now available in English, French, and German.
Figure 1. Cisco Personal Assistant User Administration
Information Portal into Microsoft Exchange
Cisco Personal Assistant enhances the capabilities of Cisco's industry-leading 7940 and 7960 graphic display IP phones with simple scrolling keys for checking e-mail, voice mail, personal contact, and calendar information from the corporate Microsoft Exchange server. With a secured login, any employee can walk up to one of these phones to change call-routing rules and check messages and critical events for the day.
These IP Phone Productivity Services are available in English.
Cisco Personal Assistant gives users the ability to keep track of appointments right on the IP phone (Figure 2). Because CalendarView directly uses the Microsoft Exchange server, no synchronization is necessary. Users can see an entire day or week's worth of appointments on one screen. In addition, they can choose to be notified of upcoming events or appointments on the IP phone display or by pager. If a phone number is included in the appointment, users can dial the number with the touch of a button.
Figure 2. CalendarView
Cisco Personal Assistant gives users access to e-mail and Cisco Unity voice messages in their inboxes on the corporate messaging server (Figure 3). Users can scroll through messages and read e-mail on the screen display of their IP phones. They can also listen to and delete voice mail by using the IP phone softkeys. Any operation performed on the messages by using MailView is automatically reflected in Microsoft Exchange and Cisco Unity because the two applications use the same message store. Cisco Personal Assistant interfaces with Microsoft Exchange and IMAP 4 message stores for MailView features.
Figure 3. MailView
Cisco Personal Assistant provides two options for users to synchronize personal address books with their Microsoft Exchange contact lists. Users can access the Web interface or use the IP phone service. These contacts will then become available for voice access through the speech recognition name-dialer and dialing on the IP Phone using the Cisco CallManager Personal Directory feature.
Cisco Personal Assistant allows users to activate or deactivate call-routing rule sets from their IP Phone, or by using the Web or speech recognition interfaces. Users can also view which rule set is currently active.
Cisco Personal Assistant with speech recognition and IP Phone Productivity Services integrate with Cisco CallManager, Cisco Unity, and Microsoft Exchange within Cisco IP telephony networks to deliver ubiquitous access, allowing important calls and information to reach users anytime, anywhere.
• Cisco Personal Assistant Speech Recognition Server
• Cisco Personal Assistant Enhanced Text-to-Speech Server
• Cisco Personal Assistant Web Administration
Cisco IP Phone Productivity Services Platform
• Basic Web server requirement: IIS 4.0 or higher
• Separate server from Cisco Personal Assistant Server and Speech Recognition Server
• Cisco CallManager 3.3+, 4.0+ (for Cisco Personal Assistant 1.4(3) or higher), and 4.1+ (for Cisco Personal Assistant 1.4(5) only)
• Cisco Unity 3.1+, and 4.0+ (Exchange Only) for voice mail features
• Microsoft Exchange 5.5, Exchange 2000, and Exchange 2003 (for Cisco Personal Assistant 1.4(3) or higher) for calendar, e-mail, and contact synchronization features
Speech recognition is available from any phone via handset or headset. Speech recognition through speakerphones is not supported at this time.
The Cisco Personal Assistant server software package includes 10 user licenses and two speech recognition sessions. Customers can add more users by purchasing additional user licenses, increase ASR capabilities by purchasing speech recognition expansion sessions, and add optional enhanced TTS sessions as desired. Most customers will require one speech recognition session for approximately 50 users; however, Cisco recommends a lower user-to-session ratio for enterprise customers with high speech recognition usage. For current supported servers and capacity, reference: Current Supported Platforms for Cisco Personal Assistant 1.4(5).
IP Phone Productivity Services should be deployed on a corporate Web server or a separate server from the Cisco Personal Assistant server and speech recognition servers.
For large enterprise customers, the servers can be scaled in N+1 configurations for redundancy and can also be deployed in distributed environments. Customers can configure multiple Cisco Personal Assistant servers into a single environment, tied to a single Cisco CallManager cluster or multiple clusters.
Like all products associated with Cisco CallManager, the Cisco Personal Assistant system administrator must understand the impact of configuration decisions on the Cisco CallManager environment.
The speech recognition server can support a maximum of 45,000 entries for accurate recognition in the standard configuration with the English.America.3 acoustic model. System administrators can configure Cisco Personal Assistant to allow users to clarify duplicate names they wish to reach by department or location.
Automatic Speech Recognition
• Updated Nuance ASR release v8.5*
• Follow Me (forwards all calls to specified phone immediately)
• Name dial using Cisco Personal Assistant address book or corporate directory
• Synchronize personal address book with Exchange Contacts
• Clarify duplicate names by department or location
• Retrieve, reply to, forward, record, send, or delete voice messages stored in Cisco Unity
• Perform call-back to voice messages stored in Cisco Unity
• Record and send voice messages in Cisco Unity to caller group
• Perform simple ad-hoc conferencing by listing individual names
• Perform simple ad-hoc conferencing by group name
• Authenticate users
• Activate call-routing rules over any phone
• Speech recognition engines available for North American English, U.K. English, European French, Canadian French, and German
Text to Speech
• Read names in corporate directory when there is no recorded name
• Read names from personal address book
• Read call-routing rule names for activation or deactivation
• Optional enhanced TTS engines available for North American English, U.K. English, European French, Canadian French, and German
Managing Inbound and Outbound Calls (Rule-Based Routing)
• Route calls by user-designed rules
– Time of day
– Meeting schedule
– Caller identification
• Forward calls to user-defined phone numbers and e-mail-based paging addresses
– Single number
– Series of numbers (i.e. ring office phone; if no answer, ring mobile phone)
– Follow Me (forwards all calls to specified phone immediately)
• Screen calls
– Select which calls to accept in real time
• Create caller groups or buddy lists to which specific rules are applied
• Allow callers to choose to follow call routing-rules or leave a voice message
• Web GUI available in English, French, and German
* Indicates new feature for Cisco Personal Assistant 1.4(5)
** Indicates new feature for Cisco Personal Assistant 1.4(5)
User Web Administration
• Share user password/PIN with Cisco CallManager and other Cisco voice over IP (VoIP) applications
• Create and modify destinations (phone numbers and e-mail-based paging addresses where a user wants to be reached)
• Create and modify destination groups for multiple number reach
• Create call pickup timeouts for each destination within a destination group
• Create and modify callers in Cisco Personal Assistant address book
• Create and modify groups of callers
• Create and modify rules and rule sets
• Activate rule sets
• Create, modify, and reorder dial rules
• Test call-forwarding rules
• Test dial rules
• Turn on/off call-forwarding and screening capabilities
• Turn on/off authentication when calling from a personal destination
• Set voice mailbox number
• Create nicknames to simplify name-dialing
• Select time zone
• Set dial by name preference for speech recognition
• Set dial by name preference for automatic additions to personal address book
• Recorded spoken name
• Select call-pickup timeout
• View name of user currently logged on
• Provide proxy access for managing other users call-routing rules
• Select language/locale for GUI and speech recognition engine (North American English, U.K. English, European French, Canadian French, or German)
• Users can synchronize their locale preference with the locale preference set in Cisco Unity or Cisco CallManager when using Cisco Personal Assistant for the first time
IP Phone Productivity Services
– View calendar by day or week
– Respond to meeting requests (accept, tentatively accept, or decline)
– Change responses to meeting requests
– Receive meeting reminders on phone display or pager even when on a call
– Receive meeting reminders based on appointment priority
– Read, forward, or delete e-mail messages
– See indication of the number of enclosures in message
– See message state (read or unread)
– Listen to voice messages without placing a call to the voice mail server
– Reply to, forward, or delete voice messages
• Contacts Synchronization
– Synchronize personal address book with Exchange contacts
• Rule-Set Activation
– Activate or deactivate call-routing rule-set
– View currently active rule-set
• Set central Cisco Personal Assistant system call-in number
• Load balance calls
• Configure Cisco Personal Assistant redundant servers
• Configure Cisco Personal Assistant to access LDAP directory via a direct read or by using a Lightweight Directory Interchange Format (LDIF) file that can be local or on a shared resource.
• Configure Cisco Personal Assistant to access Microsoft Exchange 5.5, Exchange 2000 and Exchange 2003 (for Cisco Personal Assistant 1.4(3) or higher)
• Configure one or more languages/locales
• Provide information, warning, and error messages
• Provide system and error reporting
• Manage Cisco Personal Assistant system control center
• Preserve security with notification messages for PIN changes and authentication log files
• Specify authentication using Cisco Unity subscriber phone password or Cisco CallManager PIN
• Ability to create systemwide rules
• Install Configuration Wizard (Available for download on the Cisco.com software download site)*
* Indicates new feature for Cisco Personal Assistant 1.4(5)
Cisco Personal Assistant can be purchased with a Cisco MCS-7825H-3000, MCS-7835-H1, MCS-7825I-3000 or MCS-7835-I1 media convergence server. Software-only versions of Cisco CallManager and other IP telephony applications are available for customers providing their own Cisco approved server configuration of the Hewlett Packard DL320G2, Hewlett Packard DL380G3, IBM x306 or IBM x345 server. Any deviation from the approved configuration will result in an incomplete installation and a non-supported system.
Table 1. Ordering Information
Cisco Personal Assistant Bundle
Cisco Personal Assistant 1.4 Server Software with Speech Recognition, Single language
Cisco Personal Assistant 1.4 Server Software with Speech Recognition, Multiple language
Cisco Personal Assistant User License
Cisco Personal Assistant 10 User License
Cisco Personal Assistant 1.4, Expansion Speech Recognition Sessions, Single language1
Cisco Personal Assistant 1.4, Expansion Speech Recognition Sessions, Multiple language1
Cisco Personal Assistant 1.4 enhanced TTS sessions, all languages inclusive1
* Various session combinations available
Service and Support Solutions
Cisco AVVID (Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data) support solutions are delivered by a team of design and technical experts trained and certified in this highly specialized field. Cisco and its Specialized Channel Partners offer implementation services based on tested and verified designs and best practices. Delivered through Cisco and its partners, end-to-end services enable businesses to configure and optimize each converged solution. Cisco service and support solutions enhance the value of your investments in network infrastructure, resulting in an overall reduction in the cost of doing business.
• Advanced Services enable you to plan, design, build, implement, and optimize your solution for rapid deployment and increased stability and availability.
• Technical Support Services provide the maintenance and troubleshooting you need to keep your solution operational. Whether delivered directly by Cisco or through an ecosystem of best-of-breed service partners, Cisco provides strategic and consultative support that maps to each stage of the solution lifecycle: planning, design, implementation, operation, and optimization (PDIOO).