Nortel is collaborating with key industry players, focused on developing collaborative technology and driving “applications-aware” networks.
This includes relationships with Hewlett-Packard, SAP and Accenture, as well as joint ventures such as the LG-Nortel venture. Two initiatives that have received significant attention of late are Nortel's strategic alliances with Microsoft and IBM.
Combined, Microsoft and IBM systems are deployed on 90% of desktops worldwide, and both alliances represent opportunities and value for users and businesses alike.
The alliances are focused on the creation of technology innovations that will enhance workforce productivity and position Nortel at the center of unified communications.
In July 2006, Nortel and Microsoft announced the formation of an industry-unique comprehensive Innovative Communications Alliance (ICA) to help companies transform business communications by speeding up the transition to VoIP and unified communications.
Together, the two companies are developing innovative unified communications solutions, working to embed telecom enablers (voice, video, multimedia, unified communications, collaboration and call center services) into desktop applications.
Most recently, the two companies announced a joint roadmap to deliver their shared vision for unified communications and announced three new solutions to improve business communications by breaking down the barriers between voice, email, instant messaging, multimedia conferencing and other forms of communication. The solutions include:
* UC Integrated Branch, a new technology that incorporates Nortel and Microsoft technology on a single hardware platform that delivers cost-effective, high-quality and easy-to-deploy VolP and unified communications in remote offices.
* Unified Messaging, which brings native Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) interoperability between the Nortel Communication Server 1000 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unified Messaging, simplifying customer deployments.
* Conferencing, which extends the feature-set of Nortel Multimedia Conferencing to Microsoft Office Communication 2007, delivering a single, unified client experience consistent across such applications as voice, instant messaging, presence, audio conferencing and video conferencing.
The companies also announced that they will have equipped more than 100 joint demonstration centres around the world by the end the year.
The two companies are also establishing a worldwide network of Innovative Communications Alliance Collaboration Centers, which offer hands-on design and proof-of-concept workshops to help customers evaluate the technology and understand how it can meet business needs.
IBM and Nortel have jointly worked together for more than a decade. In May 2005, the two companies extended their relationship into a strategic Nortel-IBM Alliance, with the goal of collaborating on the design and development of next-generation unified communications applications and services.
Since then, this alliance has established a roadmap for development and launched several products that leverage both Nortel's networking and communications knowledge and IBM's applications and platforms (hardware and software) expertise to deliver unified communications.
Recently, Nortel and IBM announced that they have embedded Nortel's Multimedia Communications solution into IBM's Lotus Notes, opening a new array of communications capabilities. For example, with the Nortel lBM Lotus Notes plug-in, calls can be made from within Lotus Notes emails, either from a call-Iog directory or from the existing Lotus Address Book without looking up the numbers.
The Nortel Multimedia Client also provides meeting reminders with click-to-call access to conferences from directly within Lotus Notes. This makes setting up and attending conference calls more efficient because users no longer have to go to one application for their meeting details and then to another to make a call.
In addition, and as presented at the recent Lotusphere 2007 Conference, the two companies have an integrated Call Pilot Unified Messaging solution for Lotus Notes and are exploring additional integrations for Nortel's Communication Server 1000 with the Lotus Sametime real-time collaboration environment. Some of the opportunities include integrated SIP soft phone, multimedia conferencing and telephony presence integration.
IBM and Nortel continue to work on joint solutions for both enterprises and carriers that will take unified communications to the next level. The two companies are collaborating with service providers to develop a wide and varied range of Web Services, based on IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), from multiplayer gaming and converged mobility for enterprises, to applications that bring together web-based booking services with network-based presence and location capabilities.
The two companies have also established three solutions labs – called Joint IMS Development Labs – around the world. These labs enable any of IBM's extensive system of applications partners to develop, test and trial new service concepts and bring them to market quickly.