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Cisco Unveils XML Community Site

Working on the assumption that customers are sold on applications and not technology -- and that customers know their needs best -- networking giant Cisco Systems Inc. Monday launched a community Web site that aims to connect its IP telephony services customers with independent XML developers that can create a wide array of productivity-enhancing business applications.

"It's the applications, not the technology, that will drive the wide spread adoption of IP telephony," said Brian Strachman, senior analyst, voice and data communications, Cahners In-Stat Group. "I believe this is the time for new, compelling telephony applications to emerge and the IP telephony market to really take off as a result. What Cisco is doing to generate market momentum with its XML community development program is a very positive step that will help generate growth for the industry."

The Web site -- operated by Hot Dispatch -- is an online community that encourages end-users to work directly with application developers to create custom or packaged solutions for Cisco's IP telephony solutions.

An example is an application that runs on a Cisco IP phone at a nurse's station in a hospital. When an opening occurs on the schedule due to a last-minute cancellation, the application could announce the opening at the nurse's station, keeping medical equipment in use and better serving patient needs. XML applications can be built for doctor and patient schedules, patient check in and check out times, room ready messages and requests for wheel chair transportation.

For a law office, a developer could build an XML application that provides comprehensive, searchable client and account code lists that can be accessed on IP phones when workers make outgoing calls. Teachers could use applications that allow them to take attendance on IP phones and then search on a particular student's attendance in other classes. Other applications for teachers could include the ability to schedule meetings with other teachers and book meeting rooms without having to leave the classroom to find other teachers or available meeting rooms. Airline flyer lounges equipped with Cisco IP phones could give travelers access to flight information, reservations and weather forecasts, or allow them to purchase items from the airport flower or gift shops, locate nearby hotels and arrange for transportation if a flight is delayed or cancelled. Hotels can use the technology to give guests access to convention schedules, or room and concierge services.

"We recognize that the next customized applications for converged networks will be created by our customers," said David Tucker, director of marketing for Cisco's Enterprise Voice, Video Business Unit. "We are able to better facilitate this process by linking our customers directly with developers who can bring their business application ideas to life. The Hot Dispatch Web site will serve as the intersection where our IP telephony customers and independent XML developers transact business and create a wide variety of innovative telephony applications that will pay significant dividends for our customers."