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Nortel Promotes 'Hyperconnectivity' To Interop Crowd

The voice/data strategy includes converging the core, extending the enterprise, mobilizing employees, accelerating applications, and managing the infrastructure.

Nortel is increasing its Research and Development spending on businesses to 33% and has a new strategy to become a valued player in the space, said Mike Zafirovski, Nortel's president and CEO, during a morning keynote speech at Interop Las Vegas.

The strategy, which Nortel is calling Business Optimized Networking, focuses on five building blocks: converging the core, extending the enterprise, mobilizing employees, accelerating applications, and securing and managing the infrastructure. "We have a huge commitment to innovation and customers, and commitment to business made simple," said Zafirovski.

Zafirovski said "hyperconnectivity" is the new era of communications, where people, mobile devices, and applications are all connected to wireless networks. With hyperconnectivity, there's a greater requirement for true mobile broadband and redefining how applications are delivered over corporate networks, he said, referring to two large trends that Nortel is responding to.

About 70% of voice communications end up in a message box, while 56% of employees have trouble connecting with colleagues on a first try. Businesses are looking for ways to improve their communications and Zafirovski said Nortel has the tools to help them. Nortel's new strategy includes taking businesses through a transformation by rolling out technologies for WiMax, fixed-mobile convergence, and the Internet Protocol.

Nortel plans to showcase what it calls "end-to-end WiMax solutions for the hyperconnected world" at the WiMax World Europe conference taking place in Vienna, Austria May 29 to 31. The "solution" includes base stations, core network elements, network management, mobile devices, the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), and video-enabled multimedia applications. Nortel's goal is to enable next-generation mobile broadband services, the company said.

Nortel didn't have much to announce at Interop beyond its Secure Router 4134, which will be available in the third quarter of this year, and its Application Accelerator for improving performance of web-based apps. But Nortel isn't on the leading edge of those markets, since larger established vendors already service businesses there.

Zafirovski, however, noted recent product launches and enhancements to existing products. The company added functionality to its Ethernet Routing Switch portfolio to help enterprise LANs prioritize voice, video, and multimedia services. It also made enhancements to its WLAN 2300 portfolio by adding a new WLAN switch, access point, and software release to improve performance and scalability of enterprise WLANs.

Nortel hopes its newly-created partnerships with Microsoft and IBM will speed up delivery of unified communications to business customers.

Zafirovski admitted Nortel is "not a profitable company yet but we're looking for improvement." The company has had a slew of financial troubles in the recent years where it had to recalculate its financial statements and didn't have much visibility into its performance in the market. "Customers don't know what their portfolio will look like two years from now," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at Yankee Group. "Nortel needs to lay out a very clear roadmap for where they plan to focus on the enterprise and stick to key dates."

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