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Cisco is to add unified messaging and speech recognition technology to its voice over IP (VoIP) products, in a bid to tempt more firms to ditch their old phone systems.

The new software products, most of which will be available this quarter, include Cisco Personal Assistant, Cisco Unity 2.46 unified messaging, Cisco IP Integrated Contact Distribution (IP-ICD), the Cisco IP Phone Productivity Services (PPS) applications suite and the Cisco CallManager 3.1 call processing system.

On the hardware side, Cisco will, later this year introduce the Catalyst 4224 Voice Gateway Switch platform; which is designed to firms to deploy data, voice, and video over the same pipe to branch offices.

This kit supports improvements to Cisco's Internet Operating System software, Survivable Remote Site Telephony, which supplies some protection against a WAN connection failure.

Networking firms have been talking up the market for Internet-based phones and related equipment for years.
Only now are there signs that the technology is beginning to achieve acceptance.

Analyst firm Synergy Research predicts the market for VoIP products will more than double this year to reach $548 million up from revenues of $192.8 million last year.

Cisco is focusing on the VoIP market for growth at a time when sales of networking kit are flat in other areas, and it reckons it will steal a march on its rivals with the new products. ®

External links:
Innovative Cisco IP Telephony Solutions Increase Enterprise Productivity

Related stories:
Cisco boss slashes salary to $1
Cisco calls halt on Borg-like acquisition spree
Cisco boss apologises for slashing jobs
Where have all the Cisco customers gone?

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