Nortel has announced a new desktop audio and video system, the latest fruits of its alliance with Microsoft.

The company claimed that Multimedia Conferencing 5.0 should eliminate third-party conference operator fees, which can range from 3 to 20 cents per minute, Nortel says. Companies could expect full payback in six to 24 months, Nortel claimed.

Multimedia Conferencing 5.0 works with Nortel's Communication Server 1000 as well as Microsoft's Live Communications Server 2005 and Office Communicator 2005, which provides a single desktop environment for instant messaging, presence, audio/video conferencing and desktop communication. Integration with Microsoft's Office Communications Server 2007 is expected in the first quarter of 2008.

Also this week, Nortel rolled out products custom built for the small and mid-sized business (SMB) market. The products include:

  • Business Communications Manager (BCM) 50, Release 3.0: A software upgrade that provides SIP trunking, new conferencing and reporting features, improved applications, better platform integration and support of the new SMB-centric IP Phone 1200 Series.
  • IP Phone 1200 Series: A portfolio of IP telephones pre-programmed with autodialing, conferencing and messaging, and can be customised to access more than 400 BCM features.
  • Advanced Paging Productivity Pack (APP Pack): a suite of applications for BCM that provides paging and text-messaging.
  • Business Series Terminal T7406E: a cordless digital telephone for Norstar and BCM customers, with range up to 1,000 feet.

Nortel also says customers of its Norstar key systems can extend up to 70 percent of their past investments as they migrate to IP telephony with the BCM 50.