Nortel and IBM have unveiled plans to deliver a simple and cost-effective solution for businesses that makes the move to IP telephony and unified communications as easy as a software upgrade. As part of IBM’s unified communications and collaboration (UC2) strategy, this new solution will combine software and hardware from IBM with IP telephony and multimedia capabilities from Nortel.
The Nortel-IBM System i Unified Communications solution, targeting SMBs and branch offices, will integrate IBM’s System i business computing platform and the IBM Lotus Sametime unified communications and collaboration platform with Nortel’s suite of VoIP and multimedia technologies into a complete Unified Communications solution that runs on a single system.
Nortel and Microsoft also have a joint development program under the Innovative Communications Alliance banner.
The Nortel-IBM solution will allow for the consolidation of VoIP, multimedia collaboration and other core business applications onto a single, robust and highly-scalable System i platform that will be complemented by a portfolio of SIP clients and allow for connectivity to Nortel’s purpose-built data portfolio for SMBs.
The integration with Lotus Sametime will deliver advanced telephony plug-ins to Lotus Sametime’s existing unified communication and collaboration tools, which include capabilities such as instant messaging (IM), Web conferencing, mobile device support and voice and video chat. The Nortel-IBM System i Unified Communications solution will provide users the flexibility to select the method of collaboration best suited for the task at hand along with the integration and reliability of the System i platform. For example, Lotus Sametime users will be able to review their contact list to determine who is on their Nortel phone, and also click-to-call or click-to-conference, to immediately connect with contacts via their Nortel telephony system on System i.
“Combined with Nortel’s unified communications technology, the simplicity of System i allows small and medium-sized clients to take advantage of IP Telephony in an accessible form that also delivers rich functionality,” said Mark Shearer, general manager, IBM System i. “The Nortel-IBM System i Unified Communications solution will be designed to run the business processing and real-time collaboration needs of a small or medium-sized business simultaneously with IP telephony on a single system, so IT employees can focus on the business, not managing technology.”
The Nortel-IBM System i Unified Communications solution will be sold through approved Nortel resellers and IBM solution providers who will be provided with training and tools for selling and supporting the product. The solution complements Nortel’s existing SMB portfolio of voice and data offerings such as the Business Communications Manager (BCM), Business Ethernet Switch (BES) Business Secure Router (BSR) and Business Access Point (BAP).
“This offering provides Nortel channel partners with a remarkable opportunity to grow with a unified communications solution from two worldwide leaders, and represents our commitment to open platforms and applications with industry-leading partners,” said Lori McLean, Nortel general manager, Nortel-IBM Alliance. “This integrated solution makes the move to IP telephony along with unified communications as easy as a software upgrade on IBM System i.”
According to InfoTech’s 2007 InfoTrack for SMB IP Telephony Market Analysis and Forecast, the combined revenue for SMB converged applications is expected to grow from $526M in 2006 to $1.83B in 2011. The report also confirms that SMBs strongly believe that Unified Communications applications represent the greatest potential business value and the highest IT spending among the various categories of SMB converged applications. Nortel and IBM understand this trend. Their collaboration on the easy-to-manage, easy-to-secure and highly reliable System i platform will enable SMB customers to realise the benefits of unified communication.
In addition to IP-PBX call features such as call routing, voice mail and unified messaging, the solution is expected to integrate with selected e-mail clients. The Nortel-IBM System i Unified Communications solution is expected to be initially available in the fourth quarter of 2007.