Sometimes it feels like VQ is bit like a Swan swimming through water; above the water, a somebody looking on sees a serene bird effortlessly gliding across the water. Under the surface, the Swan’s legs are going gang-busters.
Yep, 2021 was a bit like that in the legs department. We managed to release 3.7 and 3.8 and get all the preparation work done for 3.9 (released Jan 2022). Behind the scenes, some really interesting and long running activities have been drawing towards conclusion.
Device Management and Automation (“DMA”) is the name we’re giving to the functionality we’re adding that will enable customers to migrate from Cisco’s TMS onto VQ. We already have scheduling, an API and first generation OBTP. Next step is to add TMS style hierarchical Directory Services and Address Books (TMS Phone Books) which should release sometime in the April time-frame. With that done, we move onto device configuration which will enable administrators to configure and manage their Cisco endpoint fleet. The “Automation” in DMA covers tasks that are currently done manually and consume way too much time of expensive experts.
APL – For about the last 15 months we’ve been working to get VQCM certified for use by the US Department of Defense and on what’s called the “Approved Product List” or APL. Getting onto APL makes it much easier for DOD and Government agencies to buy and deploy products. As you can probably imagine, this is not a simple or straightforward task; speaking personally, I’ve been amazed at the number of people involved and also really impressed at how the process works; the incredible help we’ve had from the testing teams and the compliance team at Cisco. The result of all of this work is VQCM 4.0; VQCM 4.0 is based on Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux 8.5 and is JITC compliant. VQCM 4.0 should go into the testing labs on or around March 25 and the result of that should, a little later, be APL status. In terms of functionality, 4.0 is VQCM 3.9.1 on the new RHEL stack. It also features a new CM-Admin and is High Availability capable (we’ll focus on APL and single node initially). Watch out for more information.
Scaling might sound like an odd one to get excited about but, trust me, it is. Currently, we have a limit of about 750 users concurrently logged into the UI at any point in time. Over the next couple of releases, changes going into 3.10 get built upon on that will enable us to support thousands of logged in users. The big enabler being the changes going into 3.10.
Outlook Plug-in – The Outlook Plug-in is receiving some serious love supported by changes in 3.8 and 3.9. We’re in late-stage acceptance testing by the launch user of the updated plug-in. Once they sign it off, we’ll make it generally available. To see it in action, have a look at this video.
Broadway – Broadway is the internal name for our next generation interface for end-users. Cross-platform, language enabled and accessibility “out of the box”, the intention behind Broadway is that it gives us a single UI framework that can be used multiple times. So, for example, it might replace the Outlook Add-in or be used as a Web UI or packaged to be a native Windows, Mac, iOS or Android application.
I’ve presented quite a list of what’s going on at VQ Towers.
If you put all the details to one side, the take-away is that VQCM is becoming an amazing platform for creating and delivering video (or UC) services. We’re painting a picture of where we’re going; we’d really love to bring you along on the ride.
VQCM Training – Before concluding, I’d also like to give you a heads-up on some exciting work that’s currently underway in the world of VQCM training. Our training courses hosted by our training partner, Scott Waschler (TEKnowLogical Solutions) get rave reviews; our Data Scientist lead, Ethan, is working with Scott to put together a Kibana Analytics training course based on the new dashboards introduced at 3.9. The objective being to get a really good, high quality course that gets the contents of Ethan’s head into the broader VQ community.
Cisco Live Las Vegas – Finally, we’re lined up for Cisco Live in Las Vegas for the week June 10-16. We’re on the Cisco Collaboration stand so will be in the thick of things. We also have an off-stand private suite for meetings and NDA presentations. The attending team will include sales, engineering and product management (DMA, Broadway and overall). Expect to see some new faces. We’ll be showing what you can buy now, our roadmap and ideas and be there to talk about what you need going forwards. Hotel and flights booked – Vegas here we come, and we’d love to catch-up face to face. It’s been two years and we’ve really missed it.