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Nortel Unified Communications (UC) Review and Analysis

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June 01, 2009

Nortel Unified Communications (UC) Review and Analysis

By Ed LaBanca

The review was conducted as part of CollabGen independent research. Resulting reports are divided into two parts: Part 1 on Unified Communication components; and Part 2 covers Contact Center systems and applications. The following are some highlights:

Nortel’s (News - Alert) UC Product Integration
Nortel’s Agile Communication Environment is a communications-integration software platform which abstracts and exposes communication (IM, voice, video, data) and network services (location, presence, policy, context), as Web Service interfaces, for integration into any application environment. The current version is 1.2 and version 2.0, which adds an adapter for Avaya Communications Manager, is scheduled for release in July. Using the Agile (News - Alert) Communication Environment, communications functionality can be integrated into business applications and processes. This allows businesses to integrate these services into IT applications to build new, enhanced, value-added applications. 
Agile Communication Environment adapts to multi-vendor telecom environments as well as multi-vendor UC desktop environments. This technology is offered as an end-to-end, turnkey solution that can be customized as needed with Nortel’s professional services, but is also available as a developer-friendly toolkit, for enterprises and system integrators to communications-enable business processes on their own.
Nortel Agile Communication Environment sits on top of an organization’s network infrastructure (both enterprise and carrier), and interfaces, via adapters, with multiple vendors’ PBX (News - Alert) call servers and applications servers. It extracts and exposes communications capabilities into a Web Services environment, which can then be integrated into other applications to create communications-enabled business processes (CEBP). Nortel offers communications integration with applications such as Microsoft (News - Alert) Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 and IBM’s Lotus Sametime client — providing a single, simple, communications-rich user interface. Nortel Agile Communication Environment can also be integrated with other leading vendors’ Service-oriented Application (SOA) frameworks or into a company’s core business applications.
This offering manages the complexities of the communications world to facilitate richer, event-driven communications which can be triggered by business process workflows. Nortel also provides the ability to track assets (human or physical), determine availability and preferred communication methods, and facilitate the transfer of data through any channel (IM, voice, conference, and video).
UC in the Contact Center
Building on the Nortel Expert Anywhere solution, Nortel and Microsoft have further extended UC within the contact center by providing Nortel Contact Center and Microsoft OCS integration. This unique integration provides a single unified agent desktop interface for inbound / outbound voice, e-mail, and instant messaging (IM), making it easier for customers to interact with businesses. 
By integrating UC within the contact center, new modes of communication with customers can be routed and handled more efficiently. Federated IM provides the ability for customers to connect with a business using their preferred IM client and have their IM routed to a knowledgeable agent. The integration also provides presence status directly within the agent desktop interface, allowing agents to view the availability of experts who can help resolve customer interactions faster. Because Contact Center 7.0 is based on Session Initiation Protocol (News - Alert) (SIP), geographies are transparent creating a truly virtual contact center and community of subject matter experts around the globe. 
Full reports are available via from CollabGen.
For more information on Nortel or other vendor products contact: Your comments, questions and ideas are welcome.
Ed LaBanca is President & Principal Analyst for CollabGen Inc. He works with CXO's, executives and department managers on migration strategies and improving communications and customer service in contact centers and across the enterprise. Consulting services include technology and applications audit, systems and process analysis, design, request for proposals, evaluations and project management. His reports can also be accessed via NuViews is a registered service mark and a proprietary methodology which includes visual representations and criteria for analyzing and comparing information in common formats by various top-tier vendor platforms and functions.

Ed LaBanca, a veteran of the telecommunications industry with more than 30 years of experience in product design and management, writes the Enterprise & Contact Center Communications column for TMCnet. To read more of Ed’s articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek

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