Cisco Deals for Improved Voice Wares

Cisco Deals for Improved Voice Wares

Another voice-related acquisition and an alliance with Bellcore should give Cisco Systems Inc. more cachet with carriers and enterprises searching for voice/data convergence solutions, according to one industry observer.

Cisco's recently announced intention to acquire Selsius Systems Inc will ultimately allow Cisco to offer its clients virtual call centers and unified messaging, according to the company. Selsius supplies IP PBXs that enable data networks to carry voice.

Kevin Volpe, an analyst with Gartner Group Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut, said Selsius's technology has a lot of promise, but probably isn't suitable for mission-critical voice applications.

"They're moving in the right direction," he said. "But there's still a long way to go before it's a proven technology and people tend to rely on the support structure of the product and that's not there yet."

Meanwhile, Cisco's alliance with Bellcore, the former research arm of the Baby Bell phone companies in the United States, will see the two firms work to develop a standards-based telephone software system that ties Cisco's networking hardware to Bellcore's Operations Support Systems.

The companies will also work together on consulting, training and engineering, and systems integration services.

What the Bellcore alliance gives Cisco that its acquisitions don't, said Volpe, is a knowledge base of carrier infrastructures.

"Bellcore has understanding of the internal workings of the (telco) central office ... and it gives them a decent chance of coming together with a good solution to compete with other players in the market," he said.

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