IBM, NTT to sell unified messaging gear

Big Blue is teaming with NTT Communications in Japan to develop business products that let people check their e-mail, voice mail and faxes from a PC, phone or other devices.

CNET News staff
IBM and NTT Communications on Friday announced they will jointly develop and market so-called unified messaging products for companies in Japan.

The alliance will link NTT's Phone IP Centrex with IBM's Lotus Notes, allowing customers to combine voice and data capabilities. The messaging products will lower costs by centralizing the management of telephone and e-mail messaging, IBM said in a statement. Unified messaging lets people check their e-mail, voice mail and faxes from a PC, phone or other device.

The two companies also will integrate their voice and e-mail technologies over Lotus Notes groupware so that businesses can introduce unified messaging over IP (Internet Protocol) telephony. People could place calls or have e-mail read to them over the phone using the Internet rather than using privately owned telephone networks, for example.

Companies also will be able to change their business processes by incorporating voice messaging--instant messaging over cell phones--into their work flow, IBM said.

The unified messaging services will be introduced by the two companies in Japan in October, Big Blue said.

Technology companies are launching products that help employees work via the Web using all sorts of communication--from e-mail to file sharing. Last week, Oracle announced a new version of its collaboration software for businesses.