Cisco and Microsoft Collaborate to Enhance Real-Time Business Communications
March 06, 2006
Open standards, SIP-based enterprise solutions enable effective communications.

ORLANDO, Fla. — March 6, 2006 — Today, at the VoiceCon 2006 conference, Cisco Systems and Microsoft Corp. announced they are working together to provide collaborative real-time capabilities for businesses through the integration of Microsoft® Office Communicator 2005 and the open Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based Microsoft Office Live Communications Server 2005 with the new SIP-based Cisco Unified Communications system.

Cisco and Microsoft have agreed to work together to create a converged solution that will provide desktop Internet Protocol (IP) telephony call control. Cisco’s SIP interface allows customers to build solution sets to meet their business needs with flexibility and simplicity. To enable this solution, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server and Microsoft Office Communicator will interoperate with the new Cisco Unified CallManager.

“Our joint customers who want to improve the productivity of their knowledge workers have identified the interoperability of solutions from both our companies as the key to achieving that improvement,” said Barry O’Sullivan, vice president and general manager of the IP Communications Business Unit at Cisco. “Our commitment to providing ubiquitous, seamless, standard protocol interoperability in our communications solutions helps customers experience greater value in their real-time collaboration investments.”

“At Microsoft, we’re delivering a unified communications experience for customers — one that breaks down the silos of communications that exist today and instead provides rich, software-based communication capabilities that allow people, teams and organizations to communicate simply and effectively while integrating seamlessly across networks, applications and devices,” said Zig Serafin, general manager for the Unified Communications Group at Microsoft. “The interoperability of Live Communications Server and Office Communicator with Cisco’s communication offerings will lead to more effective real-time collaboration capabilities for our mutual customers.”

The new communications solution from Cisco and Microsoft will allow customers to do the following:

  • Click to call as well as transfer phone calls from Office Communicator, eliminating the need for users to act as human middleware

  • Launch or answer a phone call from within Office Communicator, and choose to conduct the call from a computer or a desk phone

  • View Cisco Unified IP Phone presence status from within Office Communicator, providing users with an expanded view of presence information

  • Transparently escalate between Office Communicator instant messaging and voice sessions, enabling users to communicate more effectively

“Integrating phone capabilities into the rich productivity environment on the desktop PC can dramatically improve collaboration and productivity,” said Ettienne Reinecke, group chief technology officer of Dimension Data. Dimension Data is a $2.7 billion (U.S.) global IT solutions and services provider and a Cisco channel partner. “This solution will make it possible for employees to collaborate instantly in real time by choosing the most efficient mode of communication, whether that’s an instant message, a phone call or a data-collaboration session.”

Interoperability Built Using Standard Protocols

The solution is based on the industry-standard protocol stack of SIP as well as SIP for Instant Messaging and Presence Leveraging Extensions (SIMPLE). Cisco and Microsoft will continue to work together to deliver standards-based interoperability. The Cisco and Microsoft interoperability solution demonstrates both companies’ commitment to providing the best collaboration solutions without compromise.

Availability

This phase of the Cisco and Microsoft interoperability solution is expected to be generally available in August 2006 for new installations and upgrades to existing customers.

About Cisco

Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, go to http://newsroom.cisco.com.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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