So you have deployed a Cisco PBX successfully throughout your hospital and are now beginning to reap some real benefits of the Cisco Unified Communications Manager. Now your clinical staff wants to deploy smartphones – both BYOD and shared devices supplied by the hospital.
How are you going to ensure that phone calling is of the highest quality? These devices are “smart phones” and a clinician has to be able to make a reliable phone call, even while moving throughout the hospital. Using the cellular network for calls may not work everywhere in your facility so VoIP (Voice over IP) is a must have.
In an earlier post, we touched on the smartphone hardware requirements to ensure a quality VoIP connection (namely support for 802.11k and 802.11r protocols) and in this post we will focus on the smartphone software and how it interacts with your Cisco Unified Communication Manager (CUCM).
Many hospitals have deployed CUCM as their state-of-the-art PBX. Not only does CUCM provide a hospital with outstanding telephony, it also includes future-proof technology to support all different types of messaging – including photos and videos.
On the software side, here are two methods of connecting your smartphones to your CUCM: direct connection or indirect via a voice gateway. Initial software products for clinical communications required the use of a voice gateway. Although effective, this method required additional servers and software in order to implement. Many hospital IT departments balked at the additional administration and overhead required to use this gateway approach. The latest advances in smartphone application software, however, allow the phones to connect directly and seamlessly to the CUCM. This method enables your IT staff to manage all of the phone lines, including the smartphones, via the CUCM. The call quality, ease-of deployment and consistent administration have been big wins for hospitals that use this direct connection approach.
Our advice: in your Cisco environment, make sure that you can truly deploy “smart phones” by investigating both your hardware and clinical communications software before you buy. Your end-user clinicians are expecting success.