Nortel Moves Into Personalization

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-02-12

Nortel Networks Corp. last week made a push into the online content and personalization business, targeting service providers with five products based on technology stemming from its acquisitions of Alteon WebSystems Inc. and Shasta Networks Inc.

The products are the first from the Brampton, Ontario, companys Personal Internet campaign, also announced last week. By adding end-user location and profile data to Internet queries sent to service providers, content can be customized and delivered faster, Nortel officials said.

The software products include Shasta Personal Content Portal, a software engine that will help Internet service providers learn about their users and better target content, and the Alteon Personal Content Cache, a system for caching data and streaming media that uses technology from Novell Inc.

On the hardware side, new products include the Alteon Personal Content Director, an edge router designed to act on both content requests and packet traffic data; the Alteon Content Distribution Manager, an appliance for intelligent distribution of content to host sites; and the Alteon 780 WebSwitch, a carrier-class switch equipped to handle up to 336 Ethernet ports, or 60G-bps ports, with Layers 2 through 7 switching.

"Its about matching unique subscriber profiles and privileges to the content," said Dominic Orr, who heads the Personal Internet group. Orr was formerly president and CEO of Alteon.

For service providers, Orr said, "It will allow them to create a new network of services that they can charge for, instead of just connectivity and charging $19.95 a month. The frustration of many service providers is that they invest in new routers and equipment, but people arent willing to pay more."

Michael Bacelor, a network engineer at long-time Nortel customer Ticketmaster Corp., said hed welcome such offerings from a service provider.

"We provide content feeds to a number of third parties," said Bacelor, in Los Angeles. "As far as a platform for distributing content feeds, we think its got a lot of potential. It would give us more distribution opportunities."

The portal and director products, available now, are priced at $5,000 and $22,500, respectively. The 780 WebSwitch is due in limited quantities on Feb. 15, with general availability slated for next month. Pricing starts at $25,000. Pricing has not yet been announced for the caching system, due in April, and the distribution system, due this summer.

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