SOURCE: Cisco

Cisco

March 22, 2010 08:00 ET

Cisco Expands Intercompany Collaboration Beyond Firewall

Cisco Intercompany Media Engine Brings Secure High Quality Video and Voice Calls Beyond Enterprise Boundaries to Existing Phone Numbers

ORLANDO, FL and SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - March 22, 2010) -  At the VoiceCon conference in Orlando today, Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) announced that it has conducted the first intercompany unified communications calls over the Internet using the Cisco® Intercompany Media Engine (IME), an integral part of Cisco's collaboration portfolio of products and services. The business-to-business discussions included calls between Cisco and Australian-based Queensland Rail, and between Cisco and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Through Cisco IME, all participants were able to spontaneously, simultaneously and with high security enjoy enterprise video and high-fidelity wideband audio from their video-enabled devices by simply dialing standard phone numbers. 

Built on proposed standards that Cisco has submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force, Cisco IME enables companies for the first time to conduct highly secure, high-quality, voice and video telephone calls between companies across the Internet using their existing telephone numbers without the need to re-provision or replace currently deployed infrastructure.

Cisco IME is designed to increase collaboration throughout value chains. As businesses increasingly engage with a variety of external communities and rely upon their trusted partners to deliver results, the need to better collaborate across corporate network boundaries is paramount. The goal of Cisco IME is to allow organizations already realizing the benefits of video telephony and other advanced unified communications features internally to now extend those capabilities externally to similarly equipped customers, suppliers and strategic partners.

Cisco IME is based on a "self-learning" technology, one that learns new routes based on calling patterns and automatically recognizes when users are operating in an IME-equipped network. It discovers and manages all aspects of facilitating highly secure, high-quality, low-cost call routing via IP networks including the Internet making the experience easy to use for both users and administrators alike.

The technology allows end users to more effectively communicate using body language through video, as well as optimized voice technology, while at the same time helping to reduce costs. Additionally, services from Cisco and its partners can help ensure customers derive the greatest possible return from the technology and experience better collaboration across network boundaries. Cisco IME builds on the company's history of providing solutions across its collaboration portfolio that foster business-to-business collaboration, including offerings from Cisco TelePresence and Cisco WebEx.

Facts / Highlights:

  • Cisco launched the Intercompany Media Engine to help transform fragmented business value chains into a global, highly secure, real-time collaboration community via IP networks including the Internet and personal phone numbers.
  • Cisco is actively working with the Internet Engineering Task Force to standardize core elements of its Cisco IME technology, built on emerging industry standards, in order to ensure industry interoperability.
  • Cisco IME represents the first time that members of an extended value chain can automatically initiate secure voice and video telephony connections without having to standardize on the same technology base or change their phone numbers.
  • Customers can benefit from a variety of potential cost savings including, for example, the reduction of private branch exchange (PBX) systems integration requirements and the need for dedicated PSTN lines.
  • Cisco IME calls will be connected between parties via a worldwide secure peer-to-peer network using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking. Video calls between organizations are automatically enabled, without cumbersome set-up. 
  • Cisco IME provides customers with multiple levels of security. All IME traffic is encrypted for both media and signaling and firewall protection is provided. Administrators also are provided granular policy-based controls that allow them to determine which numbers are published externally and which IME-enhanced features are available to individual users within their organizations.
  • Intercompany collaboration can speed time to market, bolster employee productivity and increase effectiveness of interactions between organizations.
  • The combined strengths of Cisco and its partners help successfully deploy, operate and optimize intercompany collaboration.

Supporting Quotes:

Barry O'Sullivan, senior vice president, Cisco Voice Technology Group: "At Cisco we have a long history in enabling borderless collaboration for our customers and for our own enterprise. We believe that IME is the most disruptive communications technology developed in more than a decade. This historic milestone is going to accelerate the ability to better collaborate and realize economies of scale. As the market continues to innovate and business applications evolve, we want to provide our customers and partners with a cost-effective way to connect that is as simple and effective as placing a phone call."

Richard Telfer, chancellor, University of Wisconsin - Whitewater: "As we continue to invest in IP technology, the Cisco Intercompany Media Engine provides the university with a way to communicate with our constituencies in a simple, secure and confidential manner. Using this innovative technology from Cisco, we'll be able to increase collaboration with other higher education institutions as well as with our business partners both in the United States and around the world." 

Steve Nola, Dimension Data Australian CEO: "We see a tremendous value for our clients because the technology will enable them to take voice and video collaboration to the next level while leveraging their current unified communications investments. We're excited to join Cisco in extending the benefits of collaboration with Cisco Intercompany Media Engine across the entire value-chain."

James Sankar, director of applications and services, AARNet: "Our primary motivation for trialing Cisco Intercompany Media Engine was to enable and assess the performance, quality and usability of rich video and collaboration internally and among our university partners, which initially includes shareholder CSIRO among others."

Paul Hanagan, head of pre-sales, BT iNet said: "Cisco Intercompany Media Engine is a product that embraces the importance of business-to-business communication. Allowing companies to participate in rich media communications via the Internet by creating dynamic SIP trunks between enterprises, IME must certainly be a key initiative for any organisation that has an existing Cisco Unified Communications Manager cluster or UC environment as it will provide collaborative communication between all participating parties without any intricate or peer specific configuration. It is an innovative product that will most certainly grow and develop into the foundation of intercompany communication." 

About Cisco Collaboration
From award-winning IP communications to mobility, customer care, Web conferencing, messaging, enterprise social software, and interoperable telepresence experiences, Cisco brings together network-based, integrated collaboration solutions based on open standards. These solutions, as well as services from Cisco and our partners, help promote business growth, innovation and productivity. They also help accelerate team performance, protect investments, and simplify the process of finding the right people and information.

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