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Japan Cisco Signs IP Network Partnerships

Cognizant of the growing market potential in Japan for cost-effective Internet protocol (IP) networking solutions, especially among telecommunications firms and midsize corporate users, Japan Cisco Systems this month entered into two strategic partnerships.

On May 17, Cisco Japan and NTT group company NTT-ME (Multimedia Engineering) Corp. announced a deal with US-based Cisco Systems Inc., will jointly develop next-generation IP technologies for the integrated transmission of audio, video, and data over fiber-optic networks.

The aim is to configure high-quality, reliable integrated network systems that can cut corporate communications costs.

The collaboration will build upon an NTT-ME multimedia network service due to be launched this summer.

The partnership's IP System Package networks will combine NTT-ME's high-speed XePhion broadband IP extranet service technologies with Cisco Voice-over-IP and IP/TV video transmission equipment.

NTT-ME, already the world's biggest user of Cisco's IP Phone, will adopt Cisco's IP/TV video devices for its internal systems.

The agreement also calls for Cisco Japan and NTT-ME to cooperate in the technical training market.

They will develop educational products that combine Cisco's Networking Academy training curriculum with the CALAT (Computer-Aided Learning and Authoring environment for Tele-education) educational system of NTT-ME subsidiary NTT-ME Information Xing.

NTT-ME intends to offer its customers a total solution package, with services ranging from education and consultation to maintenance and operation management.

Later in the same week, on May 19, Cisco Japan announced that it will also cooperate with Oki Electric Industry to develop scaleable IP network services targeted at Japanese domestic telecommunication carriers and Internet services providers.

The partners will jointly sell Cisco's large-capacity routers while working together to create an end-to-end IP-based backbone network.

According to Oki, the agreement enables the two partners to "cooperatively create next-generation IP systems for carriers and develop appropriate business solutions by concentrating on our individual strengths."

The companies will work together to market products and know-how and to develop customize, maintain, and manage IP-based systems for their clients.

The venture is an outgrowth of an existing business tie-up under which Oki has been selling Cisco ATM (asynchronous transfer mode) exchanges to Japanese telecommunications companies in addition to its own proprietary networking and transmission equipment.

Oki hopes that, by offering more Cisco technologies, it can gain an edge over its competitors.

Cisco Japan, meanwhile, expects the tie-up to increase its market share in the newly competitive domestic telecom industry.

Oki will help Cisco to accomplish this by altering the interface design of Cisco's router to conform with the specifications of the domestic telecom market.

Oki has said it will also provide support for IP-VPNs (virtual private networks) that employ MPLS (multi-protocol level switching) -- a protocol used in Cisco routers and exchanges that realizes ATM network-like capabilities in the lower layer of the IP network.

It will offer telecommunications firms a simple "network service migration package" for moving from their existing BPX systems to MPLS.

To help support its new corporate sales effort, Cisco Japan this month opened a 100-million yen (US$820,000) Customer Center at its Tokyo headquarters. This center, like similar facilities set up by parent Cisco Systems Inc. in the US and China, utilizes image-processing computers to quickly provide blueprints of a client's existing or proposed in-house networks for use during business discussions.



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