Microsoft and Nortel have unveiled a roadmap for enterprises adopting unified communications platforms.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nortel CEO Mike Zafirovski outlined the plans at a New York event yesterday.
The roadmap is the result of an alliance between Microsoft and Nortel announced in July 2006. It offers three new joint solutions to improve business communications, by breaking down the barriers between voice, e-mail, instant messaging, multimedia conferencing and other forms of communication.
Zafirovski said, “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.”
Ballmer added, “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.”
The three solutions from the pair include UC Integrated Branch, a combination of Microsoft and Nortel software run on a single piece of hardware to deliver “cost-effective, high-quality and easy-to-deploy VoIP and unified communications in remote offices”.
Microsoft and Nortel plan to make UC Integrated Branch available in the fourth quarter of this year.
In addition, the pair's Unified Messaging solution sees close integration between the Nortel Communication Server 1000 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 unified messaging platforms.
Unified Messaging will be available in the second quarter, and will include Nortel professional services for design, deployment and support.
The final piece in the jigsaw is the Conferencing solution, which will extend the feature set of Nortel Multimedia Conferencing to the Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 platform. This will deliver a single, familiar client experience across applications such as voice, instant messaging, presence, and videoconferencing.
Conferencing is planned to be available in the fourth quarter of 2007.
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