Nortel Networks Corp has built tight integration with Microsoft’s Live Communication Server (LCS) into its IP PBX, enabling it to treat laptops and cellphones running the Office Communicator client as extensions.
LCS is Microsoft’s real-time collaboration platform, offering both synchronous and asynchronous communications between Office applications and Office Communicator is its multimedia SIP client. All telecoms equipment vendors need to interoperate with LCS, but Toronto-based Nortel claims to have gone a step further, integrating SIP computer-telephone integration (CTI) technology into the latest release (v4.5) of its IP PBX, the CS1000.
Other vendors need CTI middleware on a separate box to integrate with LCS, said Paul Rowe, the Canadian vendor’s senior marketing manager for mobility solutions for EMEA. Ours is a cleaner, easier integration.
Nortel calls its offering Converged Office, and the advantages of integrating an IP PBX with LCS are manifold. In isolation, LCS and Office Communicator are a closed unit, said Rowe, meaning that the system would only allow VoIP calling and other all other forms of collaboration (IM, SMS, email, whiteboarding and so on) among devices loaded with the clients.
By integrating with an IP PBX, on the other hand, the system can extend both to other IP phones and traditional circuit-switched ones, making them also reachable from within applications like Outlook, PowerPoint and Word via click-to-call functionality. Furthermore, laptops and smart phones loaded with Office Communicator can now benefit from all the features of business-grade telephony, such as short-number dialing from within the company and least-cost routing between offices, Rowe said.
While offering this out-of-the-box integration with LCS and Office Communicator, Nortel also develops and markets its own SIP client technology for a range of devices, interacting with the company’s own collaboration platform, the Multi-media Communication Server (MCS), Rowe said. We currently offer them on BlackBerries and we’re trialing a version for dual-mode mobile/wireless devices running Windows Mobile 5.0, he added.
While we offer MCS with our clients, we also recognize that companies want to integrate our IP PBXes with LCS, as well as [IBM’s] Sametime and Lotus Notes, Rowe explained.