IBM and Cisco Systems Inc. said they will launch joint services and offer products aimed at corporations who buy telephone services over the Internet.
IBM said it would jointly market its consulting services with Cisco's voice, video and conference solutions because it wants to help develop the nascent market.
Calls made using voice over Internet protocol, or VOIP, are converted to data and carried over data networks, making them less expensive than traditional phone services, which use a single dedicated line for each call.
While VOIP has been around for years, recent advancements in network technology have made it an attractive alternative to regular phone services for a growing number of customers.
IBM said that both companies will make significant investments in the area, which is seeing increasing demand from medium and large-sized corporations, according to IBM's Don Fitzpatrick, vice president of Cisco strategic alliances.
"We think we have hit that inflection point. We think it's taking off," Fitzpatrick said. "We think it's a significant opportunity."
The companies also will also work on making their future products and technologies in this area work better together. Cisco, based in San Jose, California, is the world's largest maker of equipment to direct Internet traffic, while IBM, based in Armonk, New York, is the world's largest computer company.
IBM and Cisco have announced several alliances during the last year that are designed to make their products work more closely together.