Nortel Networks' VOIP business, which is in the process of being bought by Genband, will be showcasing its hosted communications offering at the VoiceCon show in Orlando, Fla., March 22-25.
Nortel CVAS (Carrier VOIP and Applications Solutions) group's Hosted IP Communications solution will make it easier for enterprises to put IP-based voice, UC (unified communications) and collaboration services into a private cloud environment, and begin their migration off legacy Centrex and TDM technologies.
The hosted IP solution, which is powered by Nortel's Communications Server 2000 softswitch, can also integrate with existing legacy networks, enabling enterprises to migrate off those networks at their own pace, Mitch Simcoe, product marketing director for Nortel's carrier VOIP (voice over IP) and application solutions business, said in an interview.
Businesses are beginning to show greater interest in hosted communications environments, Simcoe said. Currently, about 15 percent of all enterprises' communications are hosted, but that number is beginning to move upward, driven in large part by the global recession that put greater demand on IT departments to reduce capital expenses and the growth of IP communications technologies, he said.
The growth of cloud computing also has played a significant role.
"Enterprises are certainly showing rich interest in hosted solutions," Simcoe said.
Nortel traditionally has sold its VOIP products to service providers. Now the company is aggressively pursuing enterprises, he said.
"We're trying to be a little more assertive in pursuing enterprises," Simcoe said.
At VoiceCon, Nortel CVAS will demonstrate several technologies, including its UC offerings that bring together voice, e-mail, conferencing, presence and mobility applications into a single, converged network. Included is the ability for enterprises to monitor and manage their hosted UC solutions from their PC through Nortel's Personal Communicator PC client.
Nortel officials also will show off advanced audio, video and Web conferencing capabilities, and Web 2.0 customer service applications that integrate such telecom functions as click-to-call, instant messaging and video into the enterprise's Website to improve customer service.
Nortel's Mobile Extension application will enable any mobile phone to become a hosted IP office extension. Users will be able to get the same access to the corporate network call features from their mobile phones as they do from their desk phones.
"This is a key differentiator for us because we really understand networks," Simcoe said.
Nortel's Hosted IP Communications solution also includes a Web portal that makes it possible for enterprises to make changes to their communications services without having to make a request of their service provider.
Nortel's CVAS unit was the latest to be sold off over the past year, since the company first filed for bankruptcy in January 2009.
Nortel officials decided that selling off the business piecemeal, rather than trying to restructure, was the best way to preserve their technologies and gave employees the best chance to keep their jobs.
Nortel announced in late February that it was selling the CVAS unit to Genband, a small Texas company, for $182 million. Courts in the United States and Canada have since approved the deal.
Simcoe said the last year hasn't been easy, and different parts of Nortel have been sold off, but added that the company's VOIP business has held up well. The company has "had some really good successes," he said, adding that service providers have stood by the company. Now the push is on to start growing the enterprise customer base.