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Nortel Telephone System Review

Nortel Telephone System - Overview

The Nortel Business Communication Manager (BCM) was an extremely popular telephone system for small and medium sized businesses.

It was stable and cost effective, offering telephony, unified messaging, multimedia call centre capability, interactive voice response and more. It also had a choice of IP enabled or pure IP strategy.

However, in 2009, Nortel filed for bankruptcy. They were bought by rival telecom company Avaya, and there was widespread concern over the fate of the telephone system.

Avaya continued to sell Nortel BCM systems until October 2012, and have promised to offer upgrades and expansions until October 2015. Support will be available until 2018.

Available Systems

There are a large number of Nortel BCMs still available from wholesale suppliers, such as the Telecom Warehouse or 1st Communications.

Because of their stability and solid reputation, businesses continue to purchase and use them. The BCM 50 costs around £575 (ex VAT) and the BCM 400 around £2,200 (ex VAT).

Avaya have now introduced IP Office, a phone system which allows connection and real time collaboration. However, upgrading to IP Office will not mean having to throw away old technology as businesses will be able to retain their existing Nortel BCM telephones.

This will prove a major financial saving for those who have chosen to invest in BCM technology.

Features

Nortel BCM 50

The Nortel BCM 50 has an extremely wide range of features.

InTouch - this application allows the user to call out with a single click, view presence information and use Instant Messaging within a Microsoft Outlook window.

FindMe/FollowMe - if a call terminates on a user’s phone, this feature will then ring a list of up to five other extensions in an attempt to reach a live recipient.

Voice Messaging - password protected access to messages and 100 hours of storage.

Unified Messaging- consolidation of voice, fax and email messages into a PC application.

Automated Attendant - personalised answering messages and menu options, along with a call routing management system.

Contact Database Support - identification of incoming callers via a screen popup.

Time-of-day Policy Management - customised calling times which can be set for periods with the lowest call rates.

Integrated Intelligent Contact Centre - for up to 50 agents and 30 skill sets.

Ad Hoc Conferencing - instant teleconferencing of up to 18 users at a time.

Meet Me Conferencing Capabilities - users can set up a teleconference with a specified telephone number and extension at a prearranged time.

Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)- allows users to install third-party applications such as click-to-call and incoming call screen pop ups.

Mobility Options – gives users remote access to the telephone system.

Flexible Reporting – provides extensive telephony data.

Professional Call Recording- this simple and integrated function allows managers to record calls.

Nortel BCM 400

The Nortel BCM 400 is an upgrade of the BCM 200. It contains all the features of the BCM 200 and 50, but permits more users.

Scalability – allows from 10 to 200 users.

Simplified Network Infrastructure – connects IP phones via a LAN wiring system, useful for businesses interested in reducing their overheads.

Redundancy Options – switches over to back up systems in the event of in power, fan or HDD failure.

Browser-based Management – manage networks from any web browser.

Combined email, voicemail and fax – users can see all messages in one inbox.

Avaya’s IP Office

IP Office is designed for small to medium businesses.

Users are not restricted to their desktop office phones, but can connect using smart phones, laptops, tablets and home phones.

The system can scale from five users to 1,000 at a single site, and allows 32 networked locations. Avaya’s Flare Experience and Radvision Scopia products allow businesses to add video capabilities.

Applications can be delivered to everyone in the network, including remote sites. IP Office can be combined with Avaya’s data networking products, security features, management tools and support services.