Nortel Networks has changed its IP telephony strategy to address an increasingly blurred line between carrier and enterprise level services. Its Internet Communications Architecture (ICA) has been renamed the Succession Internet telephony portfolio as a result.
Paul Templeton, European marketing director at Nortel, said with the growth of outsourcing and managed services, the distinction between carrier and enterprise products has blurred and the product sets have been consolidated.
As part of its new strategy, Nortel has unveiled Communications Server for the Enterprise (CSE), replacing the Inca M1, M10, M100 and M7500 systems that the firm planned to release last year.
Templeton said research and development investment has been focused on the all-purpose communications server, and denied this means Nortel has reduced its emphasis on the enterprise market.
CSE is a Windows NT-based IP telephony server which will run Nortel's Call Pilot unified messaging software and shortly its Symposium call centre suite. Templeton said Nortel's entire set of applications should eventually run across the Succession range.
Meanwhile, Nortel's distribution policy for Enterprise Edge, which Templeton described as a packaged version of CSE for smaller firms on an all-in-one platform, is yet to be finalised.
Rumours have been circulating that BT would be given exclusive access to Enterprise Edge, but its first UK installation has been carried out by Unisys. Templeton said Nortel will work with larger partners to introduce CSE to the UK.
Neil Tilley, Nortel pre-sales manager at EAE Infosystems, said Nortel has told resellers that only those companies with proven voice expertise will be allowed access to telephony products in the Succession range to ensure that the products are correctly sold, installed and supported.
Templeton said most analysts estimate soft private bench exchanges (PBXs), such as the CSE, will account for only 0.5 per cent of the PBX market this year, rising to about 30 per cent by 2004. Templeton said CSE will eventually scale to up to 100,000 extensions, but initial installations are running in networks with hundreds of users. The servers can be clustered to improve performance and provide fail-over.
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