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Cisco and IPcelerate are teaming up to offer their respective VOIP for small business and IP telephony application products to channel partners through D&H Distributing, a company that specifically caters to the small business side of the SMB space.

The deal marks an intensified effort by the two vendors to penetrate the fast-growing SMB market with VOIP solutions. At the same time it represents the first solution D&H has offered to VARs in the VOIP space that has been specifically designed for small business.

“We have other solutions but with those we have had to take the customer to a scale that was not normal for them,” said Tina Fisher, director of purchasing at D&H.

“D&H gives Cisco access to this unique space in the market place,” said Richard McLeod, director of Unified Communications Solutions for Worldwide Channels at Cisco. “This is one of the reasons Cisco brought D&H into its distribution family a year ago.”

In addition, the two vendors announced that their small business products, first announced at the Cisco Partner Summit in Las Vegas in April, are now shipping.

Cisco is offering its Smart Business Communications System (SBCS), a scaled down VOIP system that offers the promise of unified communications to businesses that have as few as 16 users. The platform includes unified communications, security, switching, wireless and system management tools, according to Cisco.

IPcelerate is offering its IPsmartSuite, a set of small business applications for the vertical industries of healthcare, legal, retail and general office. IPcelerate has integrated the IPsmartSuite with Cisco’s SBCS. The two are delivered together as a solution and VAR partners customize the solution for the customer by loading one of the four verticals. The vertical applications include time and labor functions, call recording for transcription or liability reduction, automated patient or client notification, call out and sign-in and panic buttons and 911 notification for emergency reaction and response.

IPcelerate and Cisco specifically chose D&H for its penetration in the small busness market.

“We were looking for a certain type of partner that would be able to sell technology and have a different kind of conversation with their customers that will foster a faster adoption of this solution with customers,” said Kevin Brown, CEO of Dallas-based IPcelerate.

D&H will offer training to VARs for the Cisco SBCS, the Cisco SMB Specialization and the Cisco Select Certification, a program announced at the April partner summit specifically for smaller VARs targeting smaller businesses. The training includes both webinars and workshops, Fisher said.