Nimans Brief Channel on 21CN

Resellers were given a valuable glimpse into the future when they converged at the headquarters of distributor Nimans to learn more about the impact of BT’s 21CN next generation network. Over 100 delegates attended the day-long initiative spearheaded by BT’s Head of Future Technologies, Tim Hubbard, who said a communications revolution was gathering pace.

The audience heard from a leading SIP specialist and was also told how Nimans’ diverse product portfolio continues to evolve in line with the latest advances in technology.

Nimans’ Head of System Sales, Ian Brindle opened the event and told resellers: “If there’s one thing you take away from today is that you must embrace this kind of technology to move forward. Changing market demands mean our portfolio is constantly under review. Panasonic’s new TDE system, Ericsson’s EMS, a major new product from Siemens and offerings from Avaya and NEC are all SIP enabled. We want you to better understand what this technology can do for your business and the benefits it will bring to your customers.”

Tim Hubbard said the whole 21CN project was completely unique and involved not just a network transformation but a business overhaul within BT which was due to be completed by 2012. Over 30 million customers are planned to migrate over the next five years involving up to 200,000 per week. Tim said it was a transformation to meet a “fundamental shift” in customers’ requirements and expectations.

“The world is changing in terms of multi media communications. People are changing the way they interact. It’s much more than just telephony and 21CN is allowing it to happen,” said Tim who pointed out that even his son in the local cubs was now being offered the chance to learn how to build web pages for businesses, such was the dramatic IT progression from his Scouting days of bandages and cooking.

He described 21CN as a platform that will enable software-based services to be added. “Although the focus appears to be here in the UK, where the bulk of our infrastructure is, this is a global revolution,” he remarked. “We are actually replacing the existing network infrastructure with a brand new platform that will scale and be flexible enough to support not just the existing services that will migrate across, but any new services from BT or other communication providers.”

He added: “It will simplify the delivery of communication services, nationally and globally. It will increase the flexibility of the communication services being offered, enabling an easy transition from voice to multi media whether that be video, instant messaging, SMS and presence etc. There will be a simplified transition in adding new services rather than just redesigning and rebuilding the network. 21CN will also provide significantly greater flexibility of how and when people will communicate so they can actually use the terminal of their choice depending on what they are doing and where they are and who they are communicating with. Increased flexibility and mobility will be some of the many benefits generated for UK companies.”

Resellers were told that customers in South Wales were the first to migrate to 21CN where 90% of the infrastructure is complete, compared to 30% nationally. The West Midlands will be the first to receive up to 24mb broadband as a result of the new infrastructure. Tim concluded: “21CN is about laying down the infrastructure to create future opportunities and potential. You have to build the foundations before you build the house.”