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Cisco Systems Inc. is stepping up efforts to target vertical industries with a tailored set of networking suites that feature a range of partners providing value-added applications and services.

The San Jose, Calif., company last week launched its first formal networking solutions targeted at the transportation industry, but it also has its sights set on other verticals such as manufacturing, retail, finance, health care and government.

“In each industry, the business objectives are different, but the commonality is building a strong backbone with [integrated] wireless technology and security and using the network as a common foundation,” said Pierre-Paul Allard, vice president of Cisco’s Enterprise Solutions.

The goal, Allard said, is to become more focused on the “business elements” instead of technology elements and integrate networking technology at the solutions level.

The move makes sense, analysts say. A recent survey found that revenues in the U.S. router market this year will shrink by as much as 6 percent.

“People recognize the network is just plumbing and it’s applications that solve problems [according to] senior management,” said Tom Nolle, president of Cimi Corp., a Voorhees, N.J., consultancy. “By linking applications to the network, they are creating a package that can be sold to senior management instead of at the technical level.”

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