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Nortel to Announce New CS1000 Release

Although Nortel is currently operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy regulations (in May Judge Kevin Gross of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., gave the company until Sept. 11 to submit its plan for restructuring and until Nov. 10 to win creditor support for whatever plan it approves), it won't stop them from announcing the next major release of CS1000 this month. The official CS1000 Release 6 announcement is scheduled for this month, but Nortel inexplicably included many of the new release capabilities in a press release more than two months ago.New for CS 1000 Release 6, according to Nortel's own news release, is the following:

* Support for Linux-based third party servers, including those from Dell, HP and IBM, as to provide customers with a more flexible hardware solution as well as improved efficiencies and collaboration features;

* The MG 1010, a high density media gateway that centralizes the provision of communications services and applications to simplify operations across the network;

* Improved SIP support to increase scalability and functionality; the new Nortel IP Softphone 3456 will be supported as well as low cost third-party SIP telephone instruments;

* Enhancements to the Mobility MC 3100 option that enables any mobile phone with a web browser such as the iPhone, G-1 and Netbook devices to be integrated into the business network;

* Integration with the new Nortel Contact Center 7.0 solution;

* A SIP-based Turret system for the financial community;

* The Unified Communications Management Solution manages CS 1000 as the UC foundation and provides a management framework that allows a centralized management function for control of all converged network elements;

* New IP telephone instruments embedded with several advanced technology attributes, such as wide-band audio, a high-resolution color display and eight new softkey features. The new Nortel IP Phone 1165E model will enable custom application creation and display capabilities;

* CallPilot 202i, a new unified messaging offer that resides on a server blade with scale and performance;

* An enhanced Nortel Multimedia Conferencing 6.0 software solution that includes announcements, voicemail detection, web management tool and reporting.

Enterprise system revenues and shipments at Nortel may be down sharply, and new customers may be harder to find, but Nortel Enterprise Solutions is carrying on with its business operations, because the system supplier must assume that there will be a tomorrow whether it remains part of a reorganized Nortel or is sold to another IT supplier or private equity firm. Nortel's CS1000 is a very solid product and Release 6 provides new incentives for customers with rapidly aging Meridian 1s to migrate to the CS1000 platform. It should also help Nortel compete for new customers, although the current cloud of uncertainty hanging over the company carries an element of risk that is difficult to overlook during the decision making process.