Citrix Systems has teamed up with Cisco Systems to let users easily call phone numbers that appear in any application they\u2019re working on.With Citrix Presentation Server, enterprises can run applications centrally and have employees simply work with an image of the application on each client device. Through integration with Cisco\u2019s CallManager voice-over-IP (VoIP) system, the companies have been offering a click-to-call feature for a limited number of applications. After rolling a mouse over any phone number that appears in an application, users see a pop-up menu and can click on the option "Call" to dial the number on a Cisco phone.Starting in mid-January, the companies will make that feature work any application deployed via Presentation Server. Along with expanding the capability, they also plan to add other communication functions, including e-mail, instant messaging and Web conferencing, to the drop-down list, said Barry Phillips, senior director of product marketing at Citrix. VoIP turns phone calls into one more application running over the same network that carries data, so integrating voice and other communications into applications is a major thrust in the use of the technology. The convergence of voice and data originally was promoted as a way to save money and simplify administration. Now Cisco and Citrix, along with other vendors, are downplaying the economic argument in favor of new ease-of-use features for end users.Presentation Server is designed to slash client systems management and give IT managers more control over enterprise applications. It runs the applications on a central server that registers keystrokes and mouse clicks from client devices and sends an image of the running application to the user\u2019s screen. The City of Winter Park, Florida, doesn\u2019t run any applications on Presentation Server but uses other Citrix software to link its Cisco VoIP phone system with Active Directory and enable additional features. The combination has worked well, delivering capabilities including a one-click dialing feature that works in Microsoft\u2019s Internet Explorer, said Parsram Rajaram, a senior systems analyst for the city. Cisco and other vendors are also working on putting voice-calling functions in standard applications that reside on clients. "Over time, we\u2019re going to expect this as a core functionality of our applications," said Elizabeth Herrell, an analyst at Forrester Research. It\u2019s part of the move toward unified communications, which will bring together different forms of communication along with presence technology that detects how a person should be reached at a given time, she said. The click-to-call feature will be part of the Application Gateway and Citrix Voice Application Suite. Priced at US$50 per user for a perpetual license, the suite also includes other features such as tools for handling voice mail through the phone\u2019s display and paging employees and groups through phone speakers. It runs on Cisco\u2019s Application Gateway, which costs $5,115. The offering is part of Cisco\u2019s standard catalog and any Cisco reseller can offer it, the companies said.-Stephen Lawson, IDG News Service (San Francisco Bureau)Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.