January 26, 2001, 12:38 PM — AIMING TO REDUCE the complexity and hassle of deploying unified communications services, Cisco Systems and Internet messaging provider Mirapoint announced a partnership Monday and a joint unified communications product for service providers.
Unified communications takes the concept of unified messaging one step further by providing users with IP-based, real-time call and notification services combined with voicemail, e-mail, and fax in a single message repository, according to officials at Cisco and Mirapoint.
"Unified communications gives the end-user the productivity benefits of having all your messages in one place, accessible by any device. We believe, even more importantly, the differentiator for unified communications is greater accessibility and responsiveness for the [user]," said Dick Hyatt, director of marketing at San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco.
The new offering combines Cisco's uOne unified communications software platform with Mirapoint's Internet messaging server appliances. Cisco's uOne platform provides unified voice, e-mail, and fax messaging and communications across multiple types of networks and devices. Mirapoint's messaging appliances offer standards-based message delivery, storage, and access functions as well as a Web-based e-mail client and a WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) phone interface. Combining the two technologies through standards-based IP messaging protocols eliminates the need for specialized protocols, which reduces time and expense of integration, according to Cisco and Mirapoint officials.
The joint offering is designed to speed the deployment and lower the cost of unified communications services with a "pay as you grow" feature, which allows service providers to make incremental investments in hardware and software as their businesses expand, officials said.
The Cisco-Mirapoint product gives enterprise end-users a single, centrally managed repository for all the jumbled threads of communications, including mobile and office voice messages; faxes sent to the home, office, and hotel; and e-mail sent to multiple accounts, said Todd Whitaker, vice president of product marketing at Mirapoint, in Sunnyvale, Calif.
The companies also announced two customers for the unified communications offering. Canadian service provider Cescom has successfully deployed the solution, and Nhancement Technologies is working to deploy the system by end of the first quarter.
Future technology developments will include extending the offering for content delivery and transaction services, according to Cisco and Mirapoint officials.