HP, Mitel Partner for VoIP

The two companies are working to bring together their channel, service and support, and research and development efforts as part of an overall initiative to deliver Mitel VoIP solutions built on HP infrastructure, said Matt Zanner, global mobility solutions manager for ProCurve Networking by HP, Palo Alto, Calif.

"We've been expending a lot of effort to understand customer needs from a solution standpoint rather than a point product standpoint," Zanner said.

While Mitel is HP's preferred VoIP partner, the relationship is not exclusive, Zanner said.

"Clearly it's in our best interests to interoperate with a variety of vendors," he said, noting however that the company currently has no plans to enter into a similar partnership with any other VoIP vendor.

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Several of HP's networking competitors offer their own portfolios of VoIP solutions, including Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks. Another networking rival, Extreme Networks, forged a partnership with IP communications vendor Avaya last year.

Under the new agreement, HP and Mitel are cross-training support and engineering staff on each other's product lines, including personnel that work with channel partners in the field, Zanner said.

Zanner said the companies are jointly recruiting channel partners with expertise in both VoIP and networking and are also creating design and implementation guides to illustrate for partners how their technologies can be deployed together.

In addition, by cross-training service and support personnel, "customers will get treated, whether the call is routed to HP or Mitel first, in a unified manner," Zanner said.

In June, HP launched the ProCurve IP Telephony Solution, which includes ProCurve infrastructure optimized for use with Mitel's VoIP products.