Cisco, Sun in Unified Communications pact

Cisco Systems and Sun Microsystems last week announced an agreement to jointly develop and market IP-based unified communications solutions enabling service providers to offer bundled voice, fax, and e-mail messaging services for phones, PCs, or handheld devices. The agreement may give service providers confidence in the promise of unified messaging, one analyst said.

`[This announcement] is a first-step capability to enable the kinds of services we keep hearing about,' said Sam Alunni, president of Sterling Research, in Massachusetts. `It will provide confidence to service providers to offer services on top of this foundation.'

Components of the companies' joint Unified Communications solutions will include:

Cisco Universal Access Server Products, including the Cisco AS5x00 Family, which features Cisco remote access servers and voice gateways, Cisco feature cards, and voice-enabled Cisco IOS softwareCisco Unified Communications Software, an IP standards-based application platform that enables the unification of voice and Internet applicationsSun's Netra Carrier-Grade Servers, featuring Netra t 1120 and Netra t1 carrier-grade servers designed for deployment in network environments that require continuous application availabilitySun-Netscape Alliance Universal Messaging and Directory Solution, which includes the integration of iPlanet Messaging and iPlanet Directory Server products.

The companies also announced that Cap Gemini will be the first systems integrator to provide system integration, implementation and support services for the unified communications solution.

Cisco, Sun, and the Sun-Netscape Alliance are planning to market and deliver the solution through each company's direct sales channels, third-party resellers, and systems integrators.

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