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Nortel Expands UC 1-2-3 with Starter Kits
Last week, Nortel announced it was extending its UC 1-2-3 program to include four new application-based Starter Kits. My initial reaction was one of mild interest. Nortel started with an IPT 1-2-3 program in 2006 which morphed into UC 1-2-3 in 2007. Both of these programs include a Converged Office Starter Kit, 25 free seats of Nortel's UC plus Microsoft OCS integration (just the Nortel part is free).
Last week, Nortel announced it was extending its UC 1-2-3 program to include four new application-based Starter Kits. My initial reaction was one of mild interest. Nortel started with an IPT 1-2-3 program in 2006 which morphed into UC 1-2-3 in 2007. Both of these programs include a Converged Office Starter Kit, 25 free seats of Nortel's UC plus Microsoft OCS integration (just the Nortel part is free).It followed that these new starter kits were more of the same - options that could be added to new CS 1000 installations or customers migrating from Meridian to CS 1000, a way to trial new functionality. An hour on the phone with one of Nortel's UC 1-2-3 marketing folks, Jeff Deneen, was well spent as I learned that these new starter kits are quite different from the one already offered.
First the bad news. It's not free. Unlike the Converged Office Starter Kit, which is included in a UC 1-2-3 new system or PBX upgrade purchase, customers pay for the new UC 1-2-3 Starter Kits.
Now the good news. You don't have to completely upgrade your PBX infrastructure to take advantage of the capabilities offered with the new kits. In fact, you don't even have to be an existing Nortel PBX customer.
If one reads the fine print on just about any vendor's press release about brand spanking new functionality, it typically states that in order to benefit from the new capabilities, the customer's system must be running the latest version of software. The new UC 1-2-3 Starter Kits allow organizations that have a great application for a specific new feature, but not the budget for a complete communications overhaul, to benefit from the latest and greatest technologies.
The Mobile Starter Kit is a great example. The healthcare and hospitality verticals have great applications for voice over wireless LAN (VoWLAN). Instead of having to upgrade 2,000 patient beds in order to give 100 nurses the capability, the Starter Kit allows the hospital to deploy the application to this specific group.
How is this accomplished? Well, a look at the diagrams for the starter kits shows both the existing PBX and a Nortel CS 1000E running the latest version of Nortel communications software, Release 5.0. The new users, be they Mobile Workers, Home Workers, Road Warrior, etc. are being supported on this second PBX which is networked to the legacy PBX.
So this good news, bad news story is also a win-win story. Not only do the new starter kits allow Nortel to seed advanced applications into existing accounts, it allows them to install a new CS 1000 system that can then be used to add more users and applications. Customers gain because these starter kit versions of the CS 1000 are aggressively priced.