Cisco buys VOIP management firm's technology

Cisco this week followed up its mega-acquisition of cable box maker Scientific-Atlanta with a much quieter acquisition, buying software for managing IP PBX deployments from Digital Fairway, a maker of carrier and enterprise voice/video management software.

While nowhere near last week's US$6.9 billion buyout , the acquisition of Digital Fairway technology gives Cisco software that could help make VoIP rollouts simpler for businesses.

IP phone and telco circuit management is a top concern for large firms rolling out VoIP .

Digital Fairway, based in Toronto, makes software that allows carriers to manage, bill for and provision VoIP and video services for business and residential customers. The company also makes software for enterprises to manage telecom circuits and VoIP services from carriers. Products include management software for automating the setup of IP phones and converged applications for end users in a business.

Cisco is paying US$15.25 million in cash for the intellectual property and software assets from Digital Fairway. Some of the company's software development staff will join Cisco's Network Management Technology Group, led by Vice President Clive Foreman.

Cisco plans to release an enterprise VoIP management platform based on Digital Fairway technology next year. Cisco's upcoming IP Communications Provisioning Manager software will be part of a larger IP communications management software suite, according to a statement from Cisco.

The software "will enable rapid enterprise-wide IP telephony deployment by simplifying and automating operations through workflow-based unified provisioning," Cisco says. "In addition to user and dial plan provisioning, it will also support change management using a database of record."

Prior to the buyout, Digital Fairway's enterprise products were specifically focused on supporting Cisco IP PBX gear.

Cisco CallManager IP PBXs and Digital Fairway's IPT Provisioner are deployed at Algonquin College, which uses the software to automate adds, moves and changes on the IP telephony system for college faculty and staff.

"[Managing] day-to-day subscriber changes for IP telephony results in time and cost savings, as well as error reduction" in configuring and deploying IP phones and service to end users, says Rod Martin, manager of networking infrastructure at the college.

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