Cisco is working with Danish firm Belle Systems on an integrated IP telephony and billing system that will enable users to make Internet phone calls and be billed directly afterwards.
The networking giant demonstrated the offering at its annual Networkers symposium in Cannes, France, this week. It is based on Belle Systems? billing application for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and works against basic dial up, leased and digital subscriber lines, virtual private networks and cable. Cisco is adding IP telephony support to the package.
Peter Rouski, Cisco's market development consultant, said that billing for large scale IP, telephony usage was a "great challenge" because "It?s easy to capture accounting records for five or six users, but if there are half a million users the system has to process constantly."
The problem area is the Internet management system, he explained, which authenticates callers' requests.
: But he claimed: "A lot of people have demonstrated voice over IP and billing separately. We are demonstrating the ability to make calls, see how much it costs, and see how many calls there are left in real time."
He added that the two companies were in discussions with six ISPs about the Internet telephony aspect of the integrated system.
At the show, callers' requests were authenticated by the Internet management system. When the call was completed, billing information, showing the call's duration, destination and cost, was accessed via a standard browser.
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