IBM and Cisco will work together to deliver a new platform for unified communications and collaboration client development. They will also promote development using open technologies.
The new platform will be based on open technologies such as Eclipse and OSGi, and will accelerate application development by enabling developers to include a rich set of communications and collaboration capabilities in their solutions.
Additionally, IBM and Cisco plan to deliver specific customer offerings including a joint solution based on the new client platform and a set of "plugins" that bring together the communications and collaboration capabilities of both companies.
At the core of the unified communications and collaboration (UC2) Client Platform will be an open set of application programming interfaces (APIs) offered by IBM as a subset of Lotus Sametime collaboration capabilities along with communication APIs provided by Cisco to access communications functionality such as voice and video services.
The Lotus Sametime collaboration capabilities are built on IBM's Lotus Expeditor, which contains open technologies from OSGi and Eclipse. This allows customers and partners to build new classes of applications and services that are easily managed and run across desktops, laptops, web browsers, and mobile devices.
Cisco and IBM will adopt the UC2 Client Platform to develop their own unified communications and collaboration clients. Lotus Sametime 7.5 is based on this platform and IBM plans that future releases will continue to take advantage of the platform. Cisco also intends to develop future versions of its Cisco Unified Personal Communicator client based on this client platform.
In addition, the two companies intend to work together to promote the benefits of open technologies for development and will drive market adoption of the UC2 Client Platform among customers and partners. These activities are expected to include training, enablement and certification programs for developers, ISVs and unified communication providers.
A significant number of customers, developers, distributors and communications providers have already expressed their support for the UC2 Client Platform, including Berbee, Citrix Systems, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Nokia, Optimus, Presidio Networked Solutions, PSC Group, Radvision and Research in Motion.
An open approach to development represents a significant opportunity for developers, ISVs and unified communications providers. Developers and ISVs have access to the more than 2,3-million existing members of the Eclipse and OSGi development communities to take advantage of this platform. Open APIs mean developers can create solutions with confidence, knowing that the APIs will not change at the whim of a vendor.
Additionally, the need for unified communications providers and ISVs to recreate base UC2 capabilities is significantly reduced, saving time and development costs.
To help ensure the UC2 Client Platform is accessible and rapidly adopted in the industry, IBM plans to offer the platform to developers at no charge with minimal costs for support and redistribution. A certification program is also planned for organisations that license the UC2 Client Platform, helping to ensure consistency between product deployments and allowing them to claim compatibility with the platform.
The UC2 Client Platform is expected to be available second half of 2007 and an early software release is planned for developers and partners in the second quarter of this year.