Cisco-Sprint Partnership Targets Auto Dealers - InformationWeek

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Cisco-Sprint Partnership Targets Auto Dealers

The companies will sell the infrastructure for business communications between the dealers and carmakers.

Sprint and Cisco Systems next week plan to announce a partnership in which the companies will sell the infrastructure for business communications between auto dealers and carmakers.

Sprint Dealer Solutions includes the hardware and services necessary to build an IP-based virtual private network between automakers and dealerships. The network will be aimed at businesses interested in sharing electronic documents, such as credit applications, parts, and vehicle orders.

The companies also are marketing the IP VPN as a tool for Web-based communications with customers and for online training of sales staff, mechanics and other dealership employees. An IP VPN would work with a dealer's current access method for the Internet--including cable modem, dial-up, and DSL.

The announcement stems from an ongoing strategic alliance between Sprint and Cisco. The partnership focuses on selling IP equipment and services and joint development of products and sales and marketing.

Sprint Dealer Solutions, scheduled to be launched Monday, supports the latest standards for communications between dealers and automakers, the companies said. Those standards are developed by the Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail association.

Earlier this week, Sprint said it has launched an initiative focusing on selling telecommunications products and services to the manufacturing industry. The company said it was working with industry associations and forming strategic partnerships with technology companies to bring products to market as soon as possible.

Among the areas targeted by Sprint are Web-based communications between customers and manufacturers, distributors, and dealers. The telecom company also is exploring shop floor wireless and wire-line technologies; audioconferencing for product development and design; and data, voice, and collaborative services for manufacturers' supply chains.

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