Big Hats In The Internet Telephony Ring
The past year has seen datacom and telecom heavyweights like Lucent, Cisco, and Nortel all vying for leadership in the new world of converged voice and data communications networks. Indeed, the above companies have made major announcements and marketing pushes about the future of their converged voice and data network strategies. A casual observer may not realize the sheer volume of companies that have thrown their hat into the Internet telephony ring -- as product suppliers, network service providers, resellers, developers, and consultants.
Siemens And 3Com Alliance
The goal of the Siemens/3Com announcement is twofold: lowering overall corporate telecommunications costs while paving the way for new converged multimedia business applications. I would expect unified messaging, video conferencing, collaborative computing, and enhanced call control applications to be on the not-too-distant horizon. The newly released products will be part of the Siemens HiNet product line as well as the3Com SuperStack II and CoreBuilder product lines. Undoubtedly, we will soon see a voice/data switch among the offerings of this joint venture.
Related Mergers And Acquisitions
Since the above list constitutes a who's who of datacom and telecom players (competitors of 3Com and Siemens), you can expect Siemens and 3Com to be in the process of discussing a merger or acquisition. As the major networking players are all slowly being absorbed, a closer relationship between 3Com and Siemens seems like a defensive necessity rather than a merger of convenience.
Regardless of whether an acquisition takes place or not between Siemens and 3Com, Lucent is rumored to be looking for acquisitions in the data networking space. I wouldn't be surprised to see Lucent acquire Ascend, Cabletron, and/or Fore Systems in the near future.
The number of Internet telephony and convergence-related announcements is mind-boggling. As time progresses, so do the options available to take advantage of this exciting new technology that saves money and increases productivity through new and enhanced services. To keep up with the morass of opportunities, look to TMC's free newsletters covering both Internet Telephony and CTI to keep you posted on all the major announcements happening in the industry.
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