New Nortel conferencing software saves money for UK firm

It will work with Office Communications Server from Microsoft

Nortel Networks has announced the general availability of multimedia conferencing software that is integrated with Microsoft communications technology through an alliance between the two companies.

The new Multimedia Conferencing 5.0 (MC 5.0) software helps customers cut out third-party conference operator fees, a feature that was attractive to one early adopter, Unified Group, a technology consultancy in Reading, England. "We looked into hosted conferencing and found it would be horrendously expensive," George Vlismas, manager of unified technical projects at Unified Group, said in a telephone interview.

Because MC 5.0 is integrated with Microsoft Live Communications Server 2005 (LCS), users get an Exchange e-mail when they miss a phone call -- and it can help mobile users more easily connect with each other. About 45 employees are regular users.

There have been a "few niggles" in the integration of LCS with the Nortel software, and videoconferencing is not truly supported so far, he noted. "But it's nothing major."

Unified Group is looking forward to using MC 5.0 with the upcoming Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 in the first quarter of 2008 to enhance videoconferencing capabilities, Vlismas said.

The MC 5.0 software starts at US$35,000 to provide conferencing for 300 users per audio call, said Dave Murashige, general manager of multimedia applications at Nortel. In addition, customers must provide an IBM X3550 blade server to run MC 5.0.

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