Nortel Networks and Microsoft will further extend their Innovative Communications Alliance partnership into the carrier world on March 28 when the two introduce an integration of Nortels carrier voice over IP softswitch with Microsofts hosted applications platform.
The two vendors combined Nortels Communication Server 2000, or CS 2000, softswitch with the hosted versions of Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Office Live Communications Server and Windows SharePoint Services.
The combination will allow carriers to offer subscription services that bring together IP telephony, e-mail, collaboration, presence, instant messaging and desktop services.
At the same time, Nortel will provide integration and deployment services for carrier customers looking to implement a unified communications services offering based on the combined products.
Such hosted services are aimed primarily at SMBs (small and midsize businesses), a market which carriers have been looking to address, according to Sita Lowman, IMS market development leader at Nortel, in Richardson, Texas.
"Nortel is the prime systems integrator for carriers for this. We will provide full integration for them," she said.
For SMBs, the combined Nortel CS 2000 with Microsofts Solution for Hosted Messaging and Collaboration bundle will deliver such IP telephony functions as click- to-call, traditional voice communications, and inbound and outbound dialing from the Microsoft Office Communicator desktop client. Users will also be able to place and receive calls, and access their calendars and contacts from their PC or desktop telephone from their office, home or hotel room.
Nortel, which launched the combined offering at the Inform 2007 Nortel carrier conference, will begin field trials of the combined offerings in the second half of this year and make the offering fully available by years end.
Nortel will offer its integration services around the globe.