Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nortel CEO and President Mike Zafirovski have announced a joint road map to deliver their shared vision for unified communications. The road map is the result of an alliance between Microsoft and Nortel announced in July 2006, and includes three new joint solutions to dramatically improve business communications by breaking down the barriers between voice, e-mail, instant messaging, multimedia conferencing and other forms of communication.
Ballmer and Zafirovski outlined how companies can improve employee productivity and effectiveness and reduce the costs and complexity of communications. They also announced 11 new implementation services from Nortel and the opening of more than 20 joint demonstration centers where customers can experience the technology firsthand.
In just six months since the alliance was formed, the two companies have signed agreements with dozens of customers, and have developed a pipeline of hundreds of prospects who want to realise the benefits of unified communications.
“We are executing forcefully on the vision of this alliance and have made tremendous progress,” Zafirovski said. “We completed the planning stages and are now delivering unified communications solutions to businesses around the world. Our goal is to close the gap between the devices we use to communicate and the business applications we use to run our businesses, giving employees the power to use information more quickly and effectively.”
“The average employee gets more than 50 messages every day(1) on up to seven different devices or applications,” Ballmer added. “Software can and will help address the ongoing challenge of managing communications and this challenge is the driving idea behind our alliance with Nortel. Together, we will evolve VoIP and unified communications to integrate all the ways we contact each other in a simple environment, using a single identity across phones, PCs and other devices.”
New Solutions to Improve Communications and Collaboration
Microsoft and Nortel formed the Innovative Communications Alliance to help companies transform business communications by speeding up the transition to voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) and unified communications. Delivering on the vision they outlined in July, Microsoft and Nortel today introduced three new solutions:
UC Integrated Branch. This new product from the alliance will incorporate Nortel and Microsoft technology on a single piece of hardware that delivers cost-effective, high-quality and easy-to-deploy VoIP and unified communications in remote offices. The UC Integrated Branch is planned to be available in the fourth quarter of 2007.
Unified Messaging. To simplify customer deployments, native session initiation protocol (SIP) interoperability between the Nortel Communication Server 1000 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging is planned to be available in the second quarter of 2007. The solution includes Nortel professional services for design, deployment and support.
Conferencing. This new solution will extend the rich feature set of Nortel Multimedia Conferencing to Microsoft Office Communicator 2007, delivering a single, familiar client experience consistent across applications such as voice, instant messaging, presence, and audio- and videoconferencing. The on-premise solution is planned to be available in the fourth quarter of 2007.