Unified Communications

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February 24, 2009

Nortel Enhances Unified Communications Functionality for BCM450

By Sandra M. Gustavsen, Analyst, T3i Group LLC


Nortel continues to develop and enhance its Business Communications Manager (BCM) portfolio of IP telephony systems, recently announcing a new Unified Communications (News - Alert) (UC) option that improves productivity and customer service.

 
In October 2008, Nortel (News - Alert) launched BCM450 to extend the capacity of the BCM portfolio to 300 users with a scalable version that targets the larger segment of the small and medium business (SMB) market. The BCM portfolio now handles from three to 300 users with BCM50 (3-30 users) and BCM450 (30-300 users). BCM50 and BCM450 also provide a migration for legacy Norstar customers, as well as a growth option for earlier BCM200 and BCM400 platforms.
 
Due to feature parity with the BCM50 Release 3.0 (via the new Base Function Tray or BFT), BCM450 has some functionality beyond that of the earlier BCM200 and BCM400 platforms, including Meet Me Conferencing (up to 60 participants per call; up to 120 participants total) and support for the Nortel IP Phone 1200 Series. With this announcement, Nortel focuses on employee productivity and customer service with a value-added feature called Message Forwarding that is now included with the BCM Unified Messaging (UM) capability. Message Forwarding sends an e-mail notification of a voice or fax message to the user’s device of choice (PDA or PC e-mail client), including to a RIM Blackberry or Apple iPhone (News - Alert) (pictured), Microsoft Outlook Web Access, Mac OS Mail or other e-mail client. Optionally, a compressed .WAV file can be attached and forwarded, so the user can play the voice message or display the fax message on the destination device. 
For new BCM customers, Message Forwarding is easily ordered by purchasing UM software keycodes according to the number of users, while existing BCM customers simply apply the latest BCM software update via Business Element Manager or Network Configuration Manager and then enable the Message Forwarding feature within the CallPilot Manager (Administrator) or Mailbox Manager (User) console.  Users can configure their own settings, including the device destination (mobile device or e-mail address). Message Forwarding is the latest in a series of new UC capabilities being offered on the BCM.
 
BCM is an all-in-one appliance for SMBs since all features and applications are integrated on the box. For example, Voice Messaging, Unified Messaging (now with the new Message Forwarding feature), Fax Messaging, Intelligent Contact Center and Meet Me Conferencing are loaded on the system and enabled via software keycodes. No additional servers, hardware or software are needed. BCM50 and BCM450 are available globally in over 80 countries from 500+ accredited Nortel channel partners. 
 
TelecomTactics Takeaway: Despite its recent financial difficulties, Nortel reports good news. The company announces that its BCM450 IP telephony system for SMBs is the fastest-selling IP telephony solution the company has ever launched, with 1,000 units shipped since its introduction last October. BCM450 targets the larger segment of the small and medium business (SMB) market with support for up to 300 users. This new version also defines a migration strategy for legacy Norstar customers, as well as current BCM customers who have reached maximum capacity (the earlier BCM400 targets sites with up to 100 users). And, in addition, BCM450 addresses greenfield opportunities with an SMB portfolio that scales from three to 300 users (BCM50 supports 3-30 users; BCM450 supports 30-300 users). While BCM50 and BCM450 are the platforms of choice going forward, Nortel notes that, per the company’s Evergreen approach, BCM200 and BCM400 will continue to be sold and supported with a smooth, cost effective evolution path to BCM50 and BCM450 which offer some new functionality such as the Message Forwarding feature and other UC features on the roadmap for BCM.

Sandra M. Gustavsen, senior analyst for T3i Group, contributes her TelecomTactics column to TMCnet. To read more of Sandra’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart

 
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