Cisco, IBM announce new unified communications platform

Cisco and IBM today announced a new unified communications platform that will allow users to access collaboration applications and tie together the capabilities of both companies' solutions.

ORLANDO -- Cisco and IBM this morning announced a new platform for unified communications and collaboration client development.

According to the two companies, which announced the partnership at VoiceCon Spring 2007, the platform is based on open technologies such as Eclipse and OSGi. The platform is designed to accelerate application development by letting developers include communications and collaboration capabilities in their solutions.

Along with their announcement of the platform, Cisco and IBM announced offerings that include a joint solution based on the new client platform and a set of plug-ins that integrate the capabilities of both companies.

The Client Platform is built on an open set of APIs offered by IBM as a subset of Lotus Sametime and communication APIs from Cisco to access communications tools such as voice and video. Customers can also build new classes of applications and services using Lotus Expeditor. Lotus Sametime 7.5 is based on the platform, Cisco said, adding that it also plans to develop future versions of the Cisco Unified Personal Communicator client based on the new platform.

The Cisco and IBM alliance is expected to include joint offerings based on the Client Platform, communication and collaboration products from both companies, and expanded go-to-market activities, including Cisco's selling Lotus Sametime and IBM's selling Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unity and Cisco Unified MeetingPlace.

The pairing will create features and services that will be available later this year, such as:

  • Click-to-call and voicemail integration through which Lotus Sametime users will be able to send instant messages to and from Cisco Unified IP Phones, view and play Cisco Unity voice messages, and click-to-call another user directly from the Lotus Sametime 7.5.1 client.
  • New joint client offerings, such as federated presence information, a soft phone, hard phone control, call history, conferencing and video telephone.
  • Cisco Unified MeetingPlace and Lotus Sametime and Notes integration. Lotus Sametime Web conference integration with and control of Cisco Unified MeetingPlace audio and videoconferences, and click-to-call conference capabilities from Lotus Sametime and Lotus Notes.

In a statement, Coca Cola Enterprises' chief technology architect, Ray Repic, praised the pairing and said it will better enable the company to use technology to boost productivity.

"The ability to provide our users with a single focal point for the full suite of applications they use every day, including such things as Cisco CallManager and Unity, Lotus Sametime and Notes, as well as SAP and other applications, is very strategic for us," he said. "The announced platform by Cisco and IBM will allow us to more fully integrate core applications, as well as build additional applications to work with them via open APIs."

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