Nortel aims unified communications package at SMBs

Nortel's Business Communications Manager 450 is designed for businesses with up to 300 employees.

Nortel this week unveiled a unified communications platform for small-to-midsized businesses that the company says allows them to save up to 70% of their investment in legacy Nortel phone systems.

Nortel's Business Communications Manager (BCM) 450 is designed to help businesses with up to 300 employees transition from the company's Norstar digital phone system by reusing much of that equipment. The system is a hybrid IP telephony platform that provides unified messaging; teleconferencing for up to 120 participants; computer telephony integration such as click-to-call or pop-up customer information screens; and contact center routing.

The BCM450 is also Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-compliant, meaning third-party applications can help customize or extend the platform's functionality, Nortel says. It already comes pre-installed with "hundreds" of telephony features and integrated applications, the company says.

According to Nortel, the worldwide SMB communications market is valued at US$11 billion and growing at a rate of 9.3% annually.

The BCM450 is available Oct. 14 from Nortel, or through its partners, including AT&T.

Nortel also announced to two SIP gateway products for SMBs that integrate routing, switching, firewall, VPN and intrusion detection, and analog telephony adapter capabilities in a single platform. The Business Services Gateway (BSG) 8 and 12 products can save 45% of the expense of purchasing all of these capabilities as separate products, Nortel says.

The BSG systems also provide application-aware QoS, Nortel says. They allow SMBs to simultaneously prioritize voice, video and data, granting higher priority to the most critical or delay sensitive traffic and helping to improve bandwidth optimization and performance, the company says.

The BSG platforms are designed to provide the unified communications infrastructure for the new BCM450. They can also serve as a client-side data infrastructure platform for carriers who deliver hosted VoIP services to SMBs.

The BSG 8 and 12 are available now.

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Jim Duffy

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