Several major Internet telephony equipment vendors this week agreed to make their products interoperate in a bid to boost IP telephony usage in 1999.
The move follows a similar agreement between network operators earlier this week and compliments the work being done by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on creating global standards for IP telephony.
Cisco, Ascend, Siemens, Clarent and Natural Microsystems have joined Interoperability Now! (iNow!) a consortium founded by ITXC, Lucent Technologies and Vocaltec Communications.
The new members will support the iNow! Interoperability Profile, a document being published by the group in January that will detail how to achieve interoperability between different vendors' IP telephony products.
US carrier Bell Atlantic said it welcomed the move by the equipment makers. "In order to see significant growth of IP telephony in 1999, the industry must commit to certification and demonstration of interoperability early in the year," said Bell Atlantic spokesman Tom Caldwell, in a statement.
On Tuesday, carriers including Level 3, GTE and Sprint, formed the Packet Multimedia Carrier Coalition, to create new standards for integrating traditional telephony networks with IP based telephone networks. (see Newswire 15 December)
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