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Cisco & DoCoMo Do Convergence

Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) has entered the enterprise cellular-to-WiFi convergence market in Japan with a dualmode system put together in cooperation with mobile giant NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM).

The offering combines DoCoMo's N902iL FOMA phone with Cisco's Unified CallManager and corporate WiFi networking gear. The networking bulwark says this enables it to extend the features of CallManager -- such as single-number access and a common voicemail box -- across a corporate wireless LAN and onto DoCoMo's 3G network using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) software.

This is the second major partnership that Cisco has hooked up around cellular-to-WiFi roaming. Recently, Cisco and Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) unveiled Nokia E61i and E65 smartphones that can operate as a mobile extension off the CallManager PBX. (See Cisco, Nokia Team on FMC.)

The deal targets a market that is arguably one of the leading fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) markets in terms of user acceptance. "If you look at the Japanese market, they're very aggressive," says Alan Cohen, Cisco's VP of mobility solutions. "NTT DoCoMo has seen this as a path to the business market."

The move makes sense for Cisco. Along with Avaya Inc. it's driving the enterprise VOIP market, so it's logical to see the IP giant move into the mobility sector.

But it's not alone, as other major players are targeting enterprise FMC. Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) this week unveiled a system for corporate users looking to unlock cellular-to-WiFi convergence. (See Product Roundup: WiFi Strikes Back.)

In addition, Cisco's involvement could help develop the enterprise FMC market and make things more interesting for startups such as Agito Networks Inc. and DiVitas Networks Inc. .

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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