Following the launch of Microsoft’s OCS 2007 this week we can expect a rush of announcements from third party vendors eager to announce their close integration with the product. Nortel, as you would expect given their alliance with Microsoft, starts the ball rolling.
Nortel has unveiled plans to be first-to-market with the industry’s broadest portfolio of unified communications (UC) solutions and applications built around Microsoft’s new Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007. The company says these new solutions enable people to connect, communicate and collaborate seamlessly to improve business performance.
Nortel further state that as the only IP-PBX manufacturer currently testing with Microsoft’s development team, they and Microsoft are already successfully trialing these unified communications solutions with customers around the world.
“Nortel and Microsoft share a common vision that business communications are evolving to software, enabling enterprises to more simply and effectively integrate communications with business processes,” said Joel Hackney, president, Enterprise Solutions, Nortel. “With solutions that span VoIP, branch office, conferencing, IP phones, data networking and integration services, Nortel is providing enterprises with the industry’s most complete portfolio of unified communications solutions to enhance their Microsoft OCS experience. Through our Innovative Communications Alliance with Microsoft, we are leading the integration with Microsoft’s new unified communications platform.”
In just over a year since the alliance was formed, Nortel and Microsoft have collected more than 300 joint wins representing over 900,000 licenses.
“I’m excited about the tremendous momentum behind the Microsoft and Nortel relationship as well as Nortel’s innovation in solutions for Office Communications Server,” said Jeff Raikes, President of the Microsoft Business Division. “With the deep engagement we have together, we will further accelerate customer adoption of unified communications solutions that deliver the fastest time to business value.”
As part of a joint road map affirmed by Nortel CEO Mike Zafirovski and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in January 2007, Nortel expects to be first in the industry to offer customers software-based “native” interoperability between its IP-PBX portfolio and Office Communications Server 2007, ultimately delivering richer functionality with less complexity and operations costs. Planned for availability in first quarter 2008, Nortel will offer the following Microsoft interoperable solutions:
Nortel Converged Office integrates the comprehensive telephony feature set of Nortel’s IP-PBX, with Office Communications Server 2007. The solution scales to tens of thousands of users, supports business’s existing internal dial plans, and provides capabilities that aren’t available with less functional gateway solutions. Converged Office uniquely enables Office Communicator as the single end-user interface to perform all UC functions such as VoIP soft client, instant messaging, presence, conferencing and performing remote call control of any desk phone connected to a Nortel IP-PBX.
Nortel Multimedia Conferencing 5.0 is a reservationless, customer premise audio/video solution that provides subscribers with ubiquitous access to an “always on” conferencing resource. Nortel offers users the ability to dial-in to a conference from anywhere, and from any device. The integration of Nortel’s Multimedia Conferencing with Office Communication Server 2007 can support a mix of attendee types including on premise users with desktop clients, analog phones, digital or IP phones as well as partners, customers and remote callers. The joint conferencing solution enables an audio conference to seamlessly convert into a desktop video conference.
The Nortel UC Integrated Branch combines Microsoft Mediation functionality into the Nortel Secure Router 4134. The platform simplifies branch office networking by integrating WAN routing, Ethernet switching, security and toll quality VoIP into a single modular, cost effective platform that delivers up to two to seven times the performance of competing solutions. The integration of Microsoft Mediation, the first of its kind on an integrated branch platform, will help enable enterprises deploying Office Communications Server 2007 to seamlessly extend UC functionality into the branch office with better manageability and quality of experience than competing solutions.
In a separate release, Nortel and Dell unveiled an agreement to provide Dell’s North American customers with complete unified communications solutions leveraging Nortel’s entire Enterprise Solutions portfolio including solutions from the Nortel and Microsoft’s Innovative Communications Alliance, as well as a suite of related services. Additionally, Dell and Nortel have established joint product-development initiatives.