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Nortel and IBM Use SOA to Streamline Communications Among Customers, Employees, and Partners


Nortel(1) (TSX:NT)(NYSE:NT) and IBM (NYSE:IBM) today announced plans to offer a software-based foundation that easily brings together business applications and processes with the latest unified communications and collaboration tools such as click-to-connect, presence, location and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This new foundation is built on the principles of service oriented architecture (SOA) so that businesses can communicate with colleagues, partners, and customers in new ways without compromising service, security or existing technology investments.

Under the terms of the new agreement, the standards-based IBM WebSphere Application Server will be integrated into Nortel’s new software-based solution foundation environment. Nortel is abstracting communication components from the underlying existing telecom infrastructure and making them available within this new web services-based environment. This will allow companies to easily create SOA-based communications-enabled applications and business processes by linking together business systems and applications with communication systems and networks.

IBM and Nortel will market communications-enabled solutions comprised of services, the Nortel software based foundation environment, IBM software and services and multiple hardware platforms including IBM BladeCenter and System x servers. Together, Nortel and IBM are initially targeting companies in the healthcare and retail markets.

As part of this announcement, the Nortel software based foundation environment will be integrated with IBM’s unified communications and collaboration platform, Lotus Sametime. Through this integration, businesses will be able to add advanced communication and collaboration offerings including capabilities like click to call, click to conference, telephony presence and shared directory services. For example, with Lotus Sametime and the Nortel software based foundation environment, a customer could see if a contact’s phone is in use without leaving the Lotus Sametime client.

“It’s becoming increasingly critical for companies across all industries to use a combination of voice, video and data services and technologies as a way of communicating in a global market,” said John Soyring, vice president, Solutions and Software, IBM. “By bringing together IBM’s SOA leadership with Nortel’s industry communications expertise, customers will have more choice in terms of the services they use and how they use them to meet their specific business needs.”

“Nortel’s focus is on leveraging SOA to simply and rapidly deliver communications-enabled applications and business processes. Nortel has a breadth of experience in managing telecom complexity and providing advanced communication capabilities simply in a multi-vendor, cross-domain, web services-based environment.” said George Riedel, chief strategy officer, Nortel. “SOA is a key strategic move for Nortel and aligning with IBM, the SOA market leader, represents significant opportunities for both companies. IBM’s extensive developer ecosystem will also be a valuable asset to Nortel as we deliver our SOA-based solutions to market.”

As enterprises adopt SOA as a way to align technology with business goals, they must also align their networks to support the proliferation of new technologies that are being used throughout the company. However, as new products and services are introduced into an organization, the complexity of the infrastructure increases dramatically. The new Nortel and IBM offering helps eliminate this complexity so that employees can focus on the task at hand without being held back by the intricacies of the company’s technology underpinnings.

Researchers from the Mobile Emergency Triage (MET) group at the University of Ottawa are developing a hand held clinical decision support system that will be used by doctors at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) to support emergency triage of a variety of pediatric presentations. “By using the principles of SOA in the development of our emergency triage support system, we will be able to ensure that hospitals can more easily take advantage of this innovative application,” said Dr. Wojtek Michalowski, professor, Telfer School of Management at the University of Ottawa. “Using SOA industry standards, we can more rapidly and cost effectively develop and integrate communications-enabled applications that can support clinical workflow in a more effective manner and subsequently improve the quality of patient care.”

In a related announcement today, Nortel outlined the company’s new SOA-based Communications-Enablement strategy, which includes plans to enhance many of its existing call server and SIP application products by enabling web service capabilities, as well as introduce a new generation of products that are built specifically to meet the needs of SOA-based environments. Nortel is teaming with IBM to support Nortel’s SOA strategy based on IBM’s success with more than 5,700 customers worldwide that have modeled their businesses around SOA. As a business strategy, SOA can help a company realize greater efficiencies, cost savings and productivity.


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