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Les Williamson, Cisco vice president for Australia and New Zealand, referred to the "fantastic immersive experience" of room-based teleconferencing, and suggested that technology could help differentiate Australia's bid and "let the world view our uniqueness."

He said the relationship with FFA extends to subject matter expertise, explaining that Cisco regards sports and entertainment as an important market.

Williamson declined to reveal the value of the arrangement at this stage, but said Cisco was not involved in any other World Cup bids.

Communications is clearly an important area for FFA. A 2005 case study published by Avaya concerning the converged networks it installed for FFA referred to "Avaya and FFA's strategic partnership" and quoted then FFA head of sponsorship and licensing Michael Thomson as saying "In the future we would love to host some FIFA events, and we can see that the Avaya systems would be of great assistance."

But it seems that relationship is in the past, because when iTWire asked Buckley about the implications of the Cisco deal for the relationship between FFA and Avaya, he said there wasn't one.

And in 2008, Optus announced a three year, multi-million dollar sponsorship of Football Federation Australia (FFA) and the Socceroos. Optus is the official communications partner of the FFA, the Socceroos, the Matildas, and the A-League.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences, a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies, and is a senior member of the Australian Computer Society.

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