Microsoft and Nortel Networks introduced several new products for the enterprise communications market and laid out a roadmap for continuing collaboration. Underscoring the importance both companies place on their joint efforts, announced last July, the announcement was made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nortel CEO Mike Zafirovski.
UC Integrated Branch is an integrated VoIP and communications exchange for branch offices, scheduled to be introduced in the fourth quarter. Unified Messaging assures SIP interoperability between the Nortel Communication Server 1000 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007; it is scheduled for release in the second quarter. The third product, Conferencing, adds features from Nortel Multimedia Conferencing to Microsoft Office Communicator 2007; it is also scheduled to be available in the fourth quarter.
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.
“Our goal,” Zafirovski said, “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.”
Later this year, the companies plan to extend their current unified communications solution – which consists of a unified desktop and soft phone for VoIP, e-mail, instant messaging and presence – to the Nortel Communication Server 2100.
Their shared roadmap for 2008 outlines several key applications and technology developments including a unified communications contact center, Nortel feature server, expanded hosted UC solutions, mobility and client solutions, and application-aware networking enhancements.