Nortel Cuts the Cost of Conferencing

Businesses tired of grappling sky-high outsourced conferencing bills can now rein in those expenses – and watch employee productivity soar – through an in-house Nortel audio-and-video solution which the company says makes anytime, anywhere collaboration simple.

By giving every employee access to their own always-open desktop conference room, workers can quickly connect with anyone, anywhere in the world without the hassle of making a reservation. Multimedia Conferencing 5.0, the newest product in Nortel’s Unified Communications portfolio, cuts costs dramatically by eliminating third-party conference operator fees, which can range from 3 cents to 20 cents per minute. With Nortel’s latest solution, companies can expect full payback in as few as six to 24 months.

“Customers have told us that pressures to improve business performance and reduce travel costs are forcing more and more employees to meet virtually – the challenge is to do it without breaking the bank,” said Dave Murashige, general manager, Multimedia Applications, Nortel. “With Multimedia Conferencing 5.0, businesses get a low-cost software-based solution that stems the pain of pay-as-you-go collaboration.”

According to Wainhouse Research, significant benefits – including, cost reductions, simplified integration and enhanced security – have fuelled a strong movement among organizations to bring collaboration tools in house. It also notes that presence-based systems that support audio and video communications allow workers to resolve problems faster and to process 25-35 percent more transactions per hour, leading to direct bottom-line improvements.

United Kingdom-based consulting firm Unified Group, which has recently been engaged in trials with Multimedia Conferencing 5.0, says it is “absolutely thrilled” with the product: “Multimedia Conferencing combined with Microsoft LCS is giving our employees the ability to work more effectively through a single desktop interface for audio and video conferences, desktop calling, presence and instant messaging,” said George Vlismas, manager of Unified Technical Projects, Unified Group.

Multimedia Conferencing 5.0 is highly scalable and fully integrated with Nortel’s flagship Communication Server 1000 as well as Microsoft’s Live Communications Server 2005 and Office Communicator 2005. The Nortel and Microsoft integration provides a single desktop environment for instant messaging, presence, audio/video conferencing and desktop communication. Integration with Microsoft’s Office Communications Server 2007 is expected in the first quarter of 2008.

The integration of Multimedia Conferencing 5.0 is the latest component of the Nortel and Microsoft Innovative Communications Alliance. In October, Nortel unveiled plans to be first-to-market with the industry’s broadest portfolio of Unified Communications solutions and applications built around Microsoft’s new Office Communications Server 2007 and Office Communicator 2007.