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Cisco, NEC Talk the (IP Based) Talk

Cisco Systems, Inc. and NEC Corp. Wednesday united to propel the use of Internet-based voice technologies within business organizations.

As part of the alliance, Cisco, a leader in Internet networking, and NEC, a developer of communication products, will work to achieve a smooth integration of NEC communications products including private branch exchanges (PBXs), applications and devices with products based on Cisco technology.

Users of a PBX share a certain number of outside lines for making telephone calls external to the PBX.

"We are working together to build applications that interoperate within each other's architecture," noted a Cisco spokesperson. "In essence, we are creating a path to help people easily migrate from PBX to all-IP."

The partnership is noteworthy, stated Kazunori Kiuchi, associate senior vice president and executive general manager of NEC Networks. "The alliance between two global leaders in data and telecommunications in the enterprise area network provides customers with true, converged multiservice networks," he said.

"NEC's prominent global position in the telecom industry, combined with Cisco's IP leadership for voice and data services, delivers an entirely new level of investment protection to our customers, providing an assured migration path to IP telephony and interoperability with Cisco's IP architecture."

Key to the partnership is Cisco's AVVID (which standards for Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data.) This architecture encompasses converged client devices, infrastructure hardware/software, directory services, call processing, telephony/data applications, management, service and support.

AVVID is designed to provide customers with the tools required to evolve their disparate data, voice, and video networks into a single converged infrastructure. It is the backbone of the Cisco CallManager, which is the software-based call-processing component of the Cisco IP telephony solution.

The software extends enterprise telephony features and functions to packet telephony network devices such as IP phones, media processing devices, voice-over-IP (VoIP) gateways, and multimedia applications.

The collaboration includes global sales and marketing programs, interoperability verification between products from both companies, and the creation of applications in the areas of call control, media integration, IP phones and computer telephony.

NEC's worldwide channel and systems integration resources will be used for installation and ongoing support of the solutions.

The companies are additionally sharing development information. "We are bringing together the strengths of two companies and are working together to create applications, such as call-forwarding features," the Cisco spokesperson said.