Cisco Picks Up Two VOIP App Dev Suppliers

By Paula Musich  |  Posted 2006-06-09

Cisco Systems on June 9 will put more meat behind its unified communications strategy when it announces the acquisition of two privately held companies.

In two separate deals, Cisco agreed to acquire Metreos of Austin, Texas, for $19.8 million and Audium of New York for $28 million. Both are cash deals.

Metreos brings to table a network-based application development environment and run-time platform for IP telephony, while Audium adds similar technology for IP Contact Centers.

The technologies will be integrated with Ciscos Unified Communications system, which provides enterprise customers with single, company-wide platform for voice, data and video traffic integrated with their IT infrastructure. Cisco launched the system early in spring 2006.

Cisco, which has had an 18-month OEM relationship with Audium, chose to acquire the company for its talent, according to Laurent Philolenko, vice president and general manager of Ciscos Contact Center business unit in San Jose, Calif.

"Audium has very valuable skills and knowledge in this space that will be increasingly important for us," he said.

Ciscos plan, once the acquisitions close, is to integrate the product portfolios of both companies into a single common application development interface for all Cisco Unified Communications offerings.

The aim of such a platform is to allow Cisco customers and partners to create customized communications applications integrated across the enterprise IT infrastructure, applications and contact centers.

For Ciscos unified communications system, the acquisitions will allow the company to link unified communications to enterprise applications, enterprise workflows and to business processes "so it becomes very easy to implement new ways of working and more business agility very quickly," said Laurent.

"Those platforms in their respective domains allow you to do things in a matter of weeks or months. Its really about how you extract more productivity from your organization using new unified communication tools," he added.

To read more about unified communications, click here.

Audium specifically markets an application development environment based on VoiceXML for speech self-service applications.

The two companies, once the acquisition is closed, will become a part of Ciscos Voice Technology Group, headed by Senior Vice President Don Proctor. The deals are expected to close by August.

In a statement, Proctor said, "Ciscos Unified Communications is our commitment to helping enterprises streamline their voice, video, data and mobility communications by providing them with an open and extensible platform upon which to develop further applications and streamline business processes.

"With these acquisitions, we are making good on that commitment and will continue to help our enterprise customers draw on third-party developers to integrate new applications into the IP network platform."

Editors Note: This story was updated to include comments from Cisco executives.

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