Cisco plans to recruit Japanese giant NEC to help persuade businesses to switch from old telecom equipment to VoIP.
It could be a challenge though. Even though the new Net-based technology is less expensive, it has not met with broad acceptance in the business community. But Cisco is banking on the market exploding, and will use the NEC partnership to move the two companies voice equipment into the mainstream.
NEC's products will work with Cisco's Internet-based voice technologies for businesses, called Avvid.
NEC and Cisco also plan to develop more products under the agreement. NEC will provide customer service for the venture's voice systems, according to sources.
Cisco already has a reseller agreement with NEC in Japan and a joint marketing agreement in Australia. NEC is also a Cisco integrator in the United States.