Sun, Lucent to deliver unified messaging platform

Solaris, Sun Internet Mail Server will be integrated with Octel messaging system

August  1998
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San Francisco (August 17, 1998) -- Sun Microsystems and Lucent Technologies today announced they are pooling resources to offer a unified messaging system that will allow service providers to offer integrated voice, e-mail, and fax messaging services.

The announcement builds on a global alliance announced in June under which the two companies promised to provide pre-packaged networking products and services targeted at Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecommunications companies. The services promised in June will enable ISPs to offer applications and services including Internet telephony, Internet access, messaging, and application-hosting.

Under the plan announced today, Sun and Lucent in the first quarter of 1999 will start to join sales and marketing campaigns for a messaging system which integrates Sun's Solaris Unix operating system and Internet Mail Server with Lucent's Octel messaging system and text-to-speech conversion technology developed by Bell Labs.

The new messaging system will come with tools allowing ISP and other services providers to develop customized messaging applications that provide users with one message inbox, combining fax, voice, and e-mail messages that can be accessed using a variety of devices and access methods including telephones, PCs, or information devices, company officials said.

Financial details of the agreements were not disclosed.

Sun and Lucent will focus on offering an integrated messaging platform and infrastructure to ISPs, but will not offer applications.

"Our service provider customers do not want us to create the end-user applications, but they need a framework they can use to customize the applications and offer them under their own branding," Marty Parker, vice president of strategy and business development at Lucent's Octel Messaging Division, said in a teleconference this morning.

The messaging platform will incorporate Lucent's text-to-speech and speech-to-text conversion technology for transcribing, for example, e-mail messages into voice messages. The system will also offer capabilities such as "word spotting" for routing and sorting of faxes and text messages, Parker said.

Targeting virtually any pager, cell phone, or e-mail user, the companies believe they are tapping a market that offers "huge opportunities" for ISPs -- and in turn Sun and Lucent -- to generate new revenue streams, said Stuart Wells, senior director of Sun's Network Software Group.

Although mainly targeted at consumers and individuals, the messaging infrastructure will enable service providers to offer messaging hosting or outsourcing services to corporations, Wells said.

--Torsten Busse, IDG News Service


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