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Siemens AG and 3Com Corp joined up in a strategic alliance to create new products for the growing integrated voice and data networks market on Wednesday (CI No 3,200), with the aim of generating around $500m of business from the collaboration over the next five years. The immediate aim is to provide interoperability between Siemens’ Hicom ISDN telecommunications systems and 3Com’s data networking products, pushing the Hicom products towards network-independent multimedia applications. Beyond that the two will work on next generation networks, where features such as Quality of Service and real-time traffic are among the requirements. Siemens’ Private Communications Systems Group will market the full line of 3Com’s local and wide-area networking products such as the OfficeConnect, SuperStack and CoreBuilder switch families, as well as its EtherLink network interface cards and TranscendWare network control software. In turn, 3Com will integrate Hicom systems with its OfficeConnect and SuperStack systems to create highly integrated local area networking and telephony systems. The alliance is a combination of a worldwide sales and support program, collaborative technology developments, and technology licensing agreements. 3Com’s head of IT telephony, Chris Lamb, said that most voice and data integration products currently on the market were from start-ups, and tended to be point solutions. This deal has the potential to alter the landscape, he claimed. Both 3Com and Siemens have development centers in Santa Clara, California, and Israel. 3Com says it has 1,500 engineers working on next generation networking technologies, while Siemens has a team of around 400. The deal is non-exclusive, as Siemens, in its role as systems integrator, carries a number of products from 3Com competitors.

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