Siemens, 3Com to team up on LAN telephony

Siemens and 3Com were expected to announce yesterday that they've invested $US100 million in a joint venture to develop LAN (local area network) telephony products.

The products will combine 3Com's SuperStack II and CoreBuilder LAN switches with Siemens' Hicom and HiNet PBX and call processing technology to enable users to run voice, video and data calls over their LANs. The joint venture is an evolution of the joint product development alliance Siemens and 3Com have had for the past 18 months.

The companies plan to deliver jointly developed LAN telephony and multimedia products throughout 1999 and into 2000.

Siemens and 3Com will co-own the joint venture, which will have headquarters in the US, its own staff and management, and developers in California, Massachusetts, Germany, Israel and Britain. The initial staff will include more than 200 engineers from the parent companies.

Products developed by the joint venture will be branded as the Siemens HiNet product line and the 3Com SuperStack II and CoreBuilder product lines. The products will be sold by Siemens, 3Com and their respective distributors.

The products will include communications servers and digital phones, LAN telephony gateways and call processing software for small, medium and large enterprises. LAN telephony gateways allow users to make voice calls from LAN-connected PCs and telephones across public switched telephone networks.

3Com plans to deliver the SuperStack II PBX 1000 and 3Com digital phones and adapters in the first quarter of 1999. This PBX is based on Siemens' Hicom 150E technology and allows users to integrate LAN and PBX functionality in a stackable LAN switch.

3Com will also roll out the SuperStack II LAN Telephony Gateway in the first quarter of 1999. This is a private-labelled version of Siemen's HiNet LAN Telephony Gateway and is a result of the companies' existing joint development alliance.

3Com will also resell Siemens' Windows NT-based HiNet RC3000 call processing software at that time.

In the second half of 1999, the joint venture will ship stackable multimedia exchanges -- Ethernet LAN switches with integrated call processing for real-time voice/video communications -- and Ethernet phones for sites with up to 500 users. These exchanges will support multimedia PC applications and the Ethernet phones.

The joint venture will also develop multimedia exchanges for large sites based on 3Com's CoreBuilder 9000 switch. Siemens will market these products, expected in 2000, under the HiNet brand.

The companies also plan to roll out a range of modular, chassis-based gateways under the CoreBuilder and HiNet brands in 2000.

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