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Nortel stresses investment protection with new product release

Networking vendor releases new set of solutions designed to meet SMB needs

With the release of a host of new SMB-focused networking products, Nortel Networks hopes to help users graduate to the latest generation of IP technology at their own pace while opening-up a wider market opportunity for its channel partners.

The new line of fully converged SMB solutions include an update to Nortel’s Business Communication Manager 50 (BCM50), new SMB-centric IP phones, a paging and text-messaging application suite and a fully featured cordless digital phone.

“This launch demonstrates Nortel’s commitment to its VAR community and the SMB market, providing them with converged solutions including IP telephony, data and applications at a price point they can afford and the investment protection they deserve,” said Chris Nantes, marketing manager for Nortel’s global SMB portfolio.

The BCM platform is Nortel’s flagship product for the SMB space, and Release 3.0 includes SIP trunking enhancements to help facilitate inter-working with service providers, new conferencing and reporting features on various telephony metrics, improved applications, better platform integration and operational improvements to improve integration and ease VAR support.

“This makes things a lot simpler for our resellers and our VARs in terms of simplified configuration, instillation, maintenance and system optimization,” said Nantes.

Also new is the IP Phone 1200 Series, which has been optimized for the SMB space and comes pre-programmed with some of the 400 BCM features most commonly used by SMBs, which Nantes says will simplify partner instillation. Advanced features include an integrated Ethernet switch, integrated headset port and integrated speaker phone, as well as enhanced audio quality.

“This is a cost effective, feature rich portfolio of IP telephones that are really going to become the defacto telephone for SMBs,” said Nantes.

In the handset department Nortel has also launched the T7406E cordless digital phone, compatible with BCM50/200/400 and Norstar, with range of up to 1000 feet.

“I call it a cordless digital phone on steroids, because it has extensive reach,” said Nantes.

Another new offering is the Advanced Paging Productivity Pack, a suite of software apps for BCM that give SMBs overhead paging and text-messaging capabilities. While initially developed for the retail vertical, Nantes says the paging functionality is finding applications in other areas as well.

Nortel’s Converged SMB solution is aimed at SMBs with less than 50 users, while Nantes says the BCM50 in particular will also be targeted at existing BCM50 and Norstar customers. Nortel has signed some 75,000 BCM50 customers since it was first launched in May 2005, while there are over 400,000 Norstar customers installed.

“This is a pretty compelling release for that install base,” he says.

Nantes adds the new SMB-focused releases from Nortel allow partners to go to a larger addressable market with a richer and deeper value set. A key selling point, he says, is that the SMB platform has been designed to allow former Norstar customers to move to IP telephony at their own pace, allowing them to extend up to 70 per cent of their prior product investment by reusing existing equipment.