Siemens ICN Integrates Enterprise, Carrier IP Telephony Technology

The move is part of a broader strategy called LifeWorks, in which Siemens ICN plans to offer enterprise and carrier systems based on a single platform that can provide common applications, dialing plans and feature sets to mobile end users--regardless of whether their company's communications services are hosted internally or externally.

As more workforces become mobile and the lines between work life and personal life blur, the LifeWorks strategy can help customers stay in touch and remain productive, even when they're out of the office, said Tim Stone, product management director at Norstan Communications, a Minneapolis-based solution provider.

"The mobility piece is going to be a huge marketplace," Stone said.

As part of that strategy, Siemens ICN's new enterprise IP telephony softswitch, temporarily dubbed Hosted HiPath, will provide carrier-class reliability and scalability for up to 100,000 users in large enterprise, government and university sites, said Mark Straton, senior vice president of global marketing at Siemens Enterprise Networks, a Reston, Va.-based division of Siemens ICN.

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Hosted HiPath will be based on Siemens' Surpass hiQ 8000 softswitch--a product currently offered by Siemens ICN's Carrier Networks division--and will include the vendor's ComScendo call-handling application suite, Straton said.

To optimize the hiQ 8000 for enterprise use, Siemens ICN is stripping out carrier-specific features such as advanced survivability and billing, a move that enables the softswitch to run on standard IBM Linux servers and Sun Solaris servers, Straton said. Hosted HiPath eventually will support other platforms as well, he said.

The Hosted HiPath product line will be rechristened later this fall at its formal launch and is scheduled for general availability in the first half of 2004. Pricing has not yet been set.

The LifeWorks strategy also will include Surpass Business Connection, a new solution that enables carriers to add IP Centrex features to the hiQ 8000.

Other vendors, such as 3Com and Lucent Technologies, are also converting carrier-class IP telephony product lines to target the enterprise market.