Genband Integrates Nortel VOIP Products into Road Map

Less than a month after closing its $182 million deal to acquire Nortel's CVAS unit, Genband is unrolling a road map that incorporates Nortel's products and its own.

Genband is moving ahead aggressively with its plans now that it has Nortel Network's voice-over-IP business in the fold.

Genband closed its $182 million deal for Nortel's CVAS (Carrier VOIP and Application Solutions) unit May 28, and since that time, officials have met with more than 100 customers and all employees to get them comfortable with the new company and give them an understanding of the direction it's now heading, Mehmet Balos, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Genband, said in an interview.

Genband officials also began revealing their product road map for the integrated company, saying the goal is to offer a complete solution set for service providers.

Balos said with the Nortel VOIP business in hand, Genband now has about 600 service provider customers of all sizes throughout the world, including two-thirds of the top 100.

The foundation of Genband's plans is the all-IP Genius platform that will include the company's application, call control, session border and security products. The open, common platform, which will include middleware brought over from Nortel, is designed to be a standards-based framework that will make it easier for carriers to build and manage their networks.

Underlying the middleware in Genius is a common ATCA hardware platform.

"We now are really supplying a full [package] for these service providers," Balos said. "We now offer a common platform. ... We're providing uniform middleware and that reduces the time to market for service providers significantly."

Genband officials said they expect to quickly add products to the platform.

The company also is incorporating some key Nortel products into the mix and renaming them. For example, Nortel's A2E (Adaptive Application Engine) will now be called the A2, and its wireless call continuity application, the WMG 6000, will be the A6. Both will be placed on the Genius platform at a later date.

Nortel's CS 2000 softswitch-which will now be called the C20-and Genband's S9 security gateway will be among the first products put onto the platform.

Another Nortel softswitch platform, the CS 1500, is now called the C15. The CS 1600 softswitch will now be the C16.

The strategy of innovation and simplification will be important as carriers move to IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) networks. Balos said Genband is eyeing parts of the larger IMS space where its products can make headway.

The company is not going to be shy about building on what it has, he said. Genband now has a $135 million R&D budget, and Balos said innovation will be important for the company as it moves forward.

The acquisition of Nortel CVAS nearly quadrupled the size of Genband, but also gave it a larger staff of engineers and sales professionals. The company will need that staff, as it competes more directly with the likes of Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent, as well as smaller rivals such as Sonus Networks and Metaswitch, Balos said.

What also has been key has been the support and approval of the industry, customers and employees of Genband's decision to buy Nortel's CVAS business, he said.

It's been particularly good for the former Nortel employees, who had watched their former company be sold off piecemeal after Nortel in January 2009 filed for bankruptcy.

"Everybody feels they are at home now, after being in bankruptcy for about a year and a half," Balos said.