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February 11, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

Lucent Technologies Inc and Sun Microsystems Inc got together this week to announce a jointly-developed unified messaging application, called the AnyPath Messaging Platform, that enables users to access their voicemails, emails and faxes from any network-attached device, in any location. The software, unveiled at this week’s telephony trade show in New Orleans, combines Lucent’s Octel Communications Inc unit’s unified messaging software and Bell Labs’ text-to-speech software with Sun’s Internet Mail Server, which runs on Sun’s Solaris Unix. It is aimed at carriers and internet service providers and because AnyPath is built on an open, modular architecture, the companies say that it can be distributed throughout the network, enabling subscribers to access and manage messages and information from anywhere, to anyone, at any time with any device on any network. This week’s announcement is the culmination of six months development and integration work between Sun and Lucent. The two companies first announced their intention to work together back in August 1998 (CI No 3,476). With product development now all but over, the companies will jointly market and sell the software, which is due to be launched some time in the third quarter this year. Although a primitive form of voice recognition software was planned for the release, a spokesperson for Lucent said the technology, derived from the various projects at Bell labs, won’t be included until later versions of the software. This is will enable desktops and other devices to display voicemail messages in text form. She added that LDAP directory services and media conversion technologies included in AnyPath ensure that users don’t have to remember many different addresses, phone, fax and other numbers or convert files and messages from one format to another. Additionally Lucent also announced application development software, called Toolbox, to enable carriers and ISPs to write other applications on top of the set of functions offered in the AnyPath product. The solution will give Sun new opportunities to sell its servers to ISPs – where its systems already predominate – and the lucrative telco markets (both wireless and copper shops) where it has just begun to make an impression. Lucent and Sun already offer a hardware/software package aimed at ISPs and have collaborated extensively on Java. The application will be included as one of Lucent’s AnyMedia solutions. Exact details of how scalable the product will be and how it will be priced will be announced at its launch.

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