The acquisitions will signal further growth for the Cisco communications system and shore up product integration for its customers.
Posted Jun 9, 2006
Cisco Systems has entered into separate agreements to acquire two privately held companies to beef up its unified communications system, known as Service Oriented Network Architecture, or SONA. The network provider is purchasing Metreos, which provides IP communications and management services, for approximately $28 million, and VoiceXML provider Audium for about $19.8 million. Both transactions are expected to close in Cisco's fiscal Q4, which ends on July 29.
Both companies' products will be integrated into Cisco's Voice Technology Group as both provide network-based application development environments and run-time platforms. In time, Metreos and Audium's products will be integrated with each other to provide a single application interface, enabling customers and partners to build customized applications that are fully integrated, according to Cisco.
"I don't think these products are going to be brought in and buried," says Bern Elliot, research vice president at Gartner. "They're strong enough products that are going to fill a genuine requirement in Cisco's portfolio."
With Metreos, Cisco acquires a long-standing partner of its IP communications division. Their technology will help Cisco's customers to bring together all of the applications found on Cisco's SONA, letting customers integrate Cisco's communications system with "other enterprise business applications," says Steve McElderry, director of product marketing in Cisco's Customer Contact Business Unit.
Audium, a partner whose technology has been used in Cisco's customer voice portal for years, provides a platform to let companies merge their touchtone and speech self-service applications. The technology will build upon SONA and will provide Cisco's customers a platform to integrate their business process workflows with their self-service applications, according to McElderry.
Elliot says the acquisition of two partners makes the integration of Metreos and Audium products that much easier for Cisco. "These were two companies that had gotten into strong partnerships with Cisco clients and were helping to fill in Cisco's portfolio," he says. "This makes it safer for Cisco customers because now they are able to have this need filled not by a small partner that could go away, but by a product that is an integrated part of the Cisco product line."
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