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Nortel releases Multimedia Communication Server

Nortel releases Multimedia Communication Server

If Nortel gets its way, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) will become the enterprises protocol of choice for interactive user sessions, particularly now its Multimedia Communications Server (MCS) 5100 has hit the market.

Nortel network architect for enterprise solutions A/NZ, Robert Dolphin, said just as HTML had seen the Web take off, SIP would be the next step to move communications forward.

MCS, a network-based, application delivery solution which integrated voice, data and video services, would be Nortel’s vehicle to do it.

Though heavily-influenced by instant messaging, Nortel claimed the MCS was an improvement on the tech­nology. Current messaging systems were disparate in the sense that Yahoo instant messaging could not communicate with ICQ, Dolphin said. By contrast, SIP would be the protocol to unify all real-time applications, he said.

MCS will incorporate tools for scenarios such as point-to-point video conferencing, audio in the form of IP telephony, secure instant messaging, file transfer, Web co-browsing, in which one user can push a browser page through to another user, and clip transfer.

Multi-point conferencing would be available in the beta three version, due by the end of 2004.

Nortel was hoping to sell the MCS and the MCS 5500, the carrier grade version, as productivity enablers for high value employees in the law, finance and consulting verticals, Dolphin said.

“Like instant messaging, users will be able to see who is online and available,” he said.

“Users will gain time in not having to call a raft of people trying to find an answer, leave voice mails or email and wait for a response.”

With a minimum set up cost of about $100,000, around 100 systems needed to have the technology before cost savings started to kick in, Dolphin said.

Nortel didn’t plan to make an automatic record and playback option for video or voice conferencing available, he said.

The onus would be on end-users to independently record as needed until a third party developed a solution.

It would also rely heavily on partners to develop applications features for the MCS by publishing an API through the client.

So far, Microsoft had made a strong commitment to SIP and pointed toward a possible future collaboration with Nortel, Dolphin said.

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