I bumped into the Phil Edholm, chief technology officer and vice president of Strategy and Architecture for Nortel's Enterprise Solutions and Packet Networks group, here in the halls at VoiceCon. We spoke about the opportunities for Nortel in light of the Microsoft relationship and his vision for the future of communications. Here's what he had to say: "I think users may work around their PC, but those users are going to have a variety of devices not just PCs, so you'll need software on those platforms as well. Beyond the client, though, I think there are opportunities for Nortel in anything that touches the media path. This might be IVR or call recording. It might some devices that tethers the call and analyzes the media stream. There are also opportunities in other areas, like contact centers.
"Fundamentally, the way I think about these things is that every interaction will become a conference. A user will call into a contact center and instead of the agent transferring the call, the agent will conference in various resources. These could be other agents, but they could be other devices or resources. This conference will be connected to a virtual space that's will be associated with the user. In that virtual space, then I have information from my contact management, perhaps related documents, the media from the call and other resources.
"This means having the capacity for a lot of conference ports. It's interesting to note that a number of years ago, Nortel patented conferencing at the packet level. Today, we must receive packets, decapsulate them, conference them and then reverse the process. This means we can get about 400 to 600 voice ports on a 1u server. But if we can conference them in at the packet level, at layers two or three, we can build at conference server with three to five million ports in a 1u server.