Nortel Embraces Virtual Enterprise

BILLERICA, Mass. — Nortel has announced a slew of product
upgrades under its new “virtual enterprise” strategy.

Since workers connect to networks from a variety of places (headquarters,
satellite offices, the road) through a range of devices (desktops, laptops,
PDAs), they need flexible, easy-to-use systems to be as productive as possible.

Nortel’s software upgrades are designed to make it easier for large
corporations and government agencies to deliver voice, call management,
desktop video calling, collaboration tools and personalization services.

“This is about communicating and collaborating, underpinned by reliability
and security,” Clent Richardson, Nortel’s vice president of enterprise
marketing, said at a recent briefing at Nortel’s Massachusetts R&D center.

In all, there are seven product enhancements being announced today and will be
available in the third and fourth quarters.

They include: Communications Server 1000, Release 4.0; Communications Server
5100, Release 3.0; Communications Server 2100; Symposium Call Center
Server, Release 5.0; Alteon Operating System 22.0; BayStack 5520 Ethernet
Switches; and IP Telephones models 2006 and 2007.

The offerings are based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), a signaling
standard for Internet conferencing, telephony, presence, events notification
and instant messaging.

The protocol initiates call setup, routing, authentication and other feature
messages to endpoints within an IP domain.
Nortel’s use of it should make its software more compatible with network
components from other vendors.

“We’re an old iron company that’s transforming to a software company,”
Richardson said.

Besides trying to enact that change, Nortel is still grappling with the
fallout of an accounting scandal that forced out its former CEO and several
top managers.

Earlier this month, the firm said it would delay
the release of revised financial figures.

But Richardson, echoing the sentiments of new CEO Bill Owens, believes the
moves the company is making now will leave it in a strong position “once the
cloud passes.”

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