today moved to improve its Unified
Communications system by buying software maker Orative Corp. for $31 million
Orative, of San Jose, Calif., makes Enterprise Software, an application that
will allow Cisco to leverage its communications and IT suite via smartphones
and cell phones.
Representing a new trend in blending communications products with IT gear,
the Unified Communications system is a suite of voice, video and IP
communications products that tap into all services in a network “from
anywhere, with any device, at anytime.”
Cisco will mix Orative’s Enterprise Software with its Cisco Unified
CallManager for call control, Cisco MeetingPlace for collaboration and Cisco
Unity as the voicemail platform.
The combination will let mobile phone users coordinate conversations,
collaborate with colleagues, view information on voicemail messages, screen
unwanted telephone calls and access personal and corporate phonebooks.
The Orative acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of
Cisco’s fiscal year 2007. Should the deal close, Orative’s 33 employees and
product portfolio will be integrated into Cisco’s Voice Technology Group
under Senior Vice President Donald Proctor.
The buy points to recent company pronouncements to be more active in
collaborative communications, or allowing multiple employees to communicate
via voice, video, data and mobile applications, said Cisco CEO John
During recent keynote sessions at Gartner’s Symposium ITxpo and Oracle’s OpenWorld
customer show, Chambers said the networking giant’s plan is to make more
products that bring more data to more businesses at a faster clip.
“Collaboration, unified communications, tele-presence, virtual meetings –
the ability to meet each others [from across long distances] in the same
room,” Chambers said at OracleWorld Tuesday. These have huge implications,
and not just for travel,” he said.
“Collaboration will be the next frontier. It will be the power of the human
network in ways that we’re just beginning to understand. There are huge
implications for revenue streams.”
Cisco’s Unified Communications plan aims to realize Cisco’s quadruple play
dream in revenue streams.
Hence the recent investments: Before the Orative bid, Cisco spent
$47.8 million in cash on IP communications software maker Metreos Corp. and
VoiceXML software maker Audium Corp.
Cisco traditionally competes with Nortel
in the market for networking hardware and related
software, but its increased interest and acquisition of certain middleware
components places it into direct competition with IBM
and BEA Systems