Cisco, IBM Launch VoIP Initiative

The companies have agreed to jointly develop products and plan to increase the integration of Cisco's IP communications products with IBM's hardware as well as its messaging, database and systems management software.

In addition, Cisco plans to tap IBM Global Services to deliver systems integration and other services around the networking vendor's VoIP portfolio, said Rick Moran, vice president of products and technology marketing at Cisco, San Jose, Calif.

One focus of the new initiative will be to integrate presence capabilities between Cisco's CallManager call processing software and IBM's Lotus messaging software suite, Moran said.

Other goals include the integration of Cisco's Unity messaging software with Lotus Domino, the integration of IBM's Information Management database software with CallManager, and support for CallManager on IBM's xSeries x345, x306 and x345 dual CPU servers.

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IBM's Global Services offerings will not be resold through Cisco channel partners and could be competitive to similar services from Cisco's other solution provider partners, Moran said. Moran expects IBM to focus primarily on large enterprise accounts.

Any jointly developed products will be available through both Cisco and IBM channel partners, with new offerings expected to hit the market by the end of the summer, he said.

Through IBM Global Services, Cisco hopes to help customers transition from traditional telephony systems to VoIP by providing the necessary integration with legacy applications, such as CRM, Moran said.

In addition, IBM is continuing its internal rollout of Cisco's VoIP products, which to date includes the implementation of 20,000 Cisco IP phones.

The new initiative represents the expansion of a long-standing alliance between the two companies. Last month, Cisco and IBM, Armonk, NY, said they will collaborate to build data center solutions.