New Cisco cert targets rich media

Rich media is a growing market, and the folks at Cisco Systems, Inc. have developed a new specialist certification to help hone rich media expertise.

Research estimates the market for on-demand rich media will reach nearly $1 billion by next year, so it's only fitting that networking colossus, Cisco, recently added a Rich Media Communications Specialist Certification to its Career Certifications program.

The certification in rich media, according to Cisco, "validates the skills and knowledge required to successfully plan, install and manage rich media communications in an IP network."

Rich media essentially defines any advanced, interactive technology that merges voice, video and data. Companies across the globe are increasingly deploying rich media communications, including voice and video conferencing, streaming video and other digital interactive media. And according to Don Field, Cisco's director of certifications, the IT pros responsible for adding these applications to the IP network face a new set of challenges as their companies move forward with planning and implementation.

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Earning a Rich Media Communications Specialist Certification -- one of 30 specialist certifications Cisco offers -- requires holding an active Cisco Certified Network Associate certification and passing two additional exams -- the Implementing Cisco IP Video Conference Rich Media Communications (ICRMC) test and the Cisco Voice Over IP (CVOICE) test.

"These exams combined will allow an employee to manage a converged data, voice and video network," said Ray Garra, senior manager of learning and development at Cisco.

Rich Media Communications Specialists, Field said, will have the training to develop the expertise required to design, install and manage rich media applications to address new market demands. That includes integrating voice conferencing applications into a voice and data network while delivering the same quality, switching, speed and clarity that is expected in a traditional telephone network. The Rich Media Communications Specialist certification prepares professionals to integrate video conferencing independently or with other voice deployments like Cisco Call Manager for IP telephony, Cisco Unity voice messaging or Cisco IP Contact Centers.

"This is an area that's a growing market," Field said, citing a recent study by Wainhouse Research that suggests the total market for On Demand Rich Media will reach almost $1 billion by 2007. "It's an area of relatively new interest."

Field added that a rich media certification will augment voice skills while helping pros specialize in current and future rich media applications.

For candidates who want a little pre-exam preparation, the ICRMC course will be available as a self-paced e-learning instruction. Most students can complete the ICRMC class in about eight hours. Recommended CVOICE training is offered both as a five-day instructor-led class and in various e-learning options.

Specialist certifications fall in line with Cisco's other certification programs, which include associate, professional and expert certifications and are achieved through similar channels -- an intense exam where the test-taker is allowed no notes or books. The exam is a series of computer-based written questions that must be taken in one of many official Cisco testing centers.

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