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June 17, 2008

Microsoft, Nortel Unveil UC Solution for SMBs at NXTcomm

By Raju Shanbhag, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Seeking to deliver first integration with Microsoft’s carrier-hosted HMC 4.5 unified communications solution, the software giant and Nortel (News - Alert) today announced a fully hosted carrier solution that delivers a unified communications experience to small and medium-sized businesses.

With this, benefits that were previously available to large enterprises are now available also to SMBs, according to the companies.
Microsoft (News - Alert) officials say their company is seeing strong interest in the hosted unified communications solution market among service provider customers. The solutions help service providers deliver a so-called “connected work style” to SMBs and provide opportunities for increased revenue, according to the company.
The Microsoft “Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration Version 4.5” and the Nortel “Communications Server 2000” is an Internet Protocol multimedia softswitch, the companies say.
Microsoft and Nortel officials say service providers can now provide SMBs new, powerful unified communications that integrate real-time communications, such as voice, with Microsoft’s collaboration services, such as click-to-call, click-to-conference, missed call e-mail messages, mobility and telephony presence.
To help the end user, these features all work seamlessly with the Microsoft Office portfolio and the Microsoft Office Communicator client, company officials say. As SMBs do not need to purchase, install, manage and maintain additional network infrastructure and complex in-house systems, this new solution allows them to benefit from unified communications, according to the company. They can also get other benefits such as saving on operational costs and increasing productivity, officials say.
Nortel and Microsoft will demonstrate the hosted unified communications solution and demonstrate its value in enhancing business agility at NXTcomm08. Attendees can obtain additional information by visiting the Microsoft booths SL5916 and SL5923 and the Nortel booth SL3516, the companies say.
“Unified communications is a strategic purchase that, up until today, has been leveraged primarily by the large enterprise,” said Ruchi Prasad, vice president and general manager of the innovative communications alliance at Nortel. “This enhanced joint Microsoft and Nortel solution makes unified communications accessible to businesses of all sizes. For service providers, this solution offers new revenue opportunities and the ability to expand their addressable market and deliver higher-value application and service bundles to their customers.”
Raju Shanbhag is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Raju’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Fixed Service Strategies for Mobile Network Operators, brought to you by Comverse (News - Alert).

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