Nortel, Microsoft ship unified communications products

Nortel IP PBX, Microsoft Office Communications Server integrated

As expected, Microsoft and Nortel this week announced availability of four unified communications products developed under their Innovative Communications Alliance.

The joint products include the Converged Office unified communications suite, Multimedia Conferencing, and solutions for branch offices and hosted service providers. Customer adoption continues to accelerate, the companies say, with more than 600 wins for the companies' unified communications products since the formation of the alliance just less than two years ago.

That's 100 more wins than the companies had last month. Meanwhile, Nortel and Microsoft say they have now delivered 10 ICA products to market.

The newest include:

• Nortel Converged Office, which integrates the voice functionality of Nortel's Communication Server 1000 IP-PBX or CS 2100 IP-PBX with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007. (Compare IP PBX products.)VoIP, click-to-call, video conferencing and other multimedia services through Microsoft Office Communicator 2007.

• UC Integrated Branch, which extends unified communications to branch offices and remote sites. It combines Office Communications Server 2007 mediation server capabilities with the Nortel Secure Router 4134.

• Carrier Hosted Unified Communications Solution, in which service providers can offer hosted unified communications services to enterprises and small/midsize businesses using Nortel's Communication Server 2000 softswitch with Microsoft's Office Communications Server 2007 and Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging. The system allows providers to offer instant messaging,

• Nortel Multimedia Conferencing 5.0 for Office Communications Server 2007, which provides a reservationless audio conferencing system that enhances Office Communications Server 2007 conferencing with dial-in audio bridge capabilities. This enables external non-Communications Server 2007 users to dial into a conference.

Future deliverables include fully hosted unified communications, which provides the same user experience as the on-premise Converged Office system – such as voice, presence/IM, conferencing and unified messaging -- in a hosted environment. Another is Contact Center integration, which will link Nortel's Contact Center application with Office Communications Server to deliver real time presence and collaboration capabilities to improve first call resolution and efficiency of communications between agents, supervisors and subject matter experts.

Converged office costs $65 to $90 per user. Integrated Branch starts at $20,000.

Multimedia conferencing starts at $45 per user. The companies are also offering CS 1000 interoperability with Microsoft Exchange at $15 to $20 per user.

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