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Johanne Torres[September 28, 2004]

Bank of America Taps Cisco for IP Phones

BY JOHANNE TORRES


Cisco Systems has been pretty busy these days with a tremendous expansion of its services and products for IP-based communications. The company recently inked a deal with Bank of America—which in itself is also expanding its properties when it merged with FleetBoston Financial Corporation. Under the agreement with Cisco, the bank will now be deploying 180,000 Cisco IP phones throughout its 5,800 banking centers and enterprise locations in 29 different states and the District of Columbia.



The new project is expected to be complete over the course of three years. Cisco sees this deal as one of the largest deployments of its IP Phone 7900 Series handsets and the Cisco Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data since the company launched it five years ago. Cisco’s systems integrator EDS will help the bank transition to its new voice and data network infrastructure.

"The Cisco IP Communications system allows us to eliminate hundreds of private branch exchanges (PBXs) in favor of a single, centralized, IP-based call control system," said Steve Venezia, managing director of the network computing group and network services for Bank of America. "This will help us realize operational and telecom cost savings as well as improved system management and employee productivity."

With Cisco’s aid, Bank of America plans to integrate its group of disparate 362 PBXs into a single IP network. As a result, with Cisco IP communications system in place, the bank will be able to unify more than 100,000 employee voice-mail boxes installed on a variety of voice messaging platforms with a single Cisco Unity voice messaging system. Bank of America will also have integrated access to data from XML-based enterprise business applications customized for specific bank departments and lines of business, and the ability to deploy and extend contact center resources to multiple locations.

This announcement follows Cisco’s recent extension of its Catalyst switching portfolio when it released a suite of added switching products and services specifically designed and priced for small and medium-sized businesses. Cisco’s offering will now include entry-level extensions to the Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series of modular switches, including the new Supervisor II-Plus-TS which allows for integrated connectivity to servers, wireless access points, IP phones, printers or users; the Cisco Network Assistant which offers centralized management of Cisco SMB-Class networks to help simplify deployment and ongoing maintenance; and the new Catalyst 4948 fixed switches optimized for server aggregation.

Johanne Torres is the contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was the assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at jtorres@tmcnet.com.

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