Cisco To Integrate Cell Phones With VoIP Platform

Orative, a 4-year-old San Jose, Calif.-based startup, makes software that will enable customers to tie their cellular phones into their Cisco VoIP and unified communications deployments, said Alex Hadden-Boyd, director of mobile unified communications at Cisco, San Jose. Orative, which has 33 employees, is already a member of Cisco's Technology Developer Partner program.

Cisco customers will be able to use their cell phones to integrate with business communications applications, providing improved productivity, Hadden-Boyd said. For example, a caller could access presence information for employees in the corporate directory, enabling them to see at a glance whether users are available to take calls or messages. They will also be able to see and access messages from Cisco's Unity voicemail and unified messaging platform and interact with Cisco's Unified MeetingPlace voice and Web conferencing line.

In addition, businesses that deploy the Orative technology will now have a way to track and control cell phone usage, she said.

"Our unified communications channel partners will be able to add this to their portfolios. It will allow them to forge new partnerships with mobile operators and handset vendors," Hadden-Boyd said. Orative already has a few channel partners and had already begun recruiting Cisco solution providers, she said. The deal is expected to close in January, and products should be in channel partners' hands by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2007, she said.

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Orative's product line includes the Orative Enterprise Server, which will sit inside the customer's firewall connected to Cisco's Unified CallManager IP-PBX, and Orative Client Software, which gets installed on users' cell phones over the air. The software runs on several mobile operating systems, including Blackbery, BREW, Java 2 Platform Micro Edition (J2ME) and Symbian OS. Orative is working to develop a version for devices based on Microsoft Windows, Hadden-Boyd said.

Carriers including Verizon Wireless and Cingular have already certified the technology for use on their networks, she said.