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Cisco, Nokia Team on FMC

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
4/27/2006

Despite recent setbacks, Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) isn't giving up on enterprise fixed/mobile convergence just yet, and is working with Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) on a dual-mode project for the office, Unstrung has learned.

Sources say that the pair are working on an FMC project that is much more focused on corporate users than its ill-fated venture with Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) (See Cisco/Moto Deal Dies.). "They're approaching it much more from an enterprise direction," notes an industry source.

The project would enable calls to be routed to Nokia 6000 series phones -- via the office PBX -- over a WiFi connection if a user is in range or a GSM cellular connection if not. "They're using a SIP client on the phone," says the source, as the handoff mechanism between the two different networks.

Ben Gibson, director of wireless and mobility marketing at Cisco, confirms that Cisco has a partnership with Nokia but wouldn't comment further. Nokia hasn't yet returned calls about the project.

Another source familiar with the Cisco side of the house suggests that the Nokia partnership is but one of these kind of projects that the network giant has underway.

"That's just one of the number of initiatives," says the source.

He adds, however, that Cisco has three units working on such projects -- the wireless business unit, the carrier services unit, and the division that deals with Core Manager and VOIP. He also wonders if in this case too many cooks spoil the broth

"Are they all on the same page?" he questions.

Certainly some users are looking forward to and wondering where these FMC capabilities are. Gary Goerke, information systems manager at Farmington Hills, Mich., real estate firm Ramco-Gershenson Properties Trust, says he heard some details about the Nokia project from Cisco some time ago and has been trying to "dig a little deeper on the timeframe" for the actual launch.

Georke had thought the VOIP CCX announcement from Cisco and Nokia this week might involve the convergence piece. This was not the case. (See Cisco Speaks Enterprise.) — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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