Cisco has announced cut-down and less expensive versions of its VoIP software for businesses with less than 100 employees.

CallManager Express and Unity Express are aimed those companies that cannot afford the initial infrastructure costs but stand to benefit from far cheaper telephone calls routed over the Internet.

CallManager Express has had the large networking capability of CallManager removed but will be more than adequate for small companies and will cost between $750 and $2,800. Unity Express adds voicemail and automation to the system and costs from $2,995.

Both are integrated into Cisco routers and, the company claims, will be easy to deploy, will reduce phone costs, improve productivity and make the sun shine every day. The company has also produced 10 “blueprints” that tell companies how to introduce security into the system, create LANs and WANs and tie-in assorted other XML-based applications. The software is scalable so companies can upgrade to larger phone systems as and when they need them. Cisco would also like it if you bought their IP phones as well.

A press release regarding the announcement featured quotes from an autonomous small business, although the early market for the products is expected to be regional branches of larger companies that have already installed and like VoIP technology.

The service is included in many of Cisco existing routers, including the 1751, 1760, 2600XM, 3600 Series, and 3700 Series routers.

Information and prices: Cisco press release: