Nortel Drives Voice, Data Convergence; Makes Acquisition

Canadian networking vendor Nortel Networks has unveiled an IP-PBX platform that allows small and mid-size businesses to manage blended voice and data networks. The Business Communications Manager (BCM) platform, previously called Enterprise Edge, is a server/router/IP gateway with its own real-time operating system and embedded NT server. BCM operates on Nortel's Norstar computer telephony system. It is available now.

The company also said it will soon roll out a Business Policy Switch to extend the functionality of BCM, allowing small and medium-size businesses to apply policies directing the travel of voice traffic across their LANs. BCM, together with the policy switch, will sell for about $20,000 per 20 users.

Nortel also boosted its service offerings by announcing that it had acquired Chelmsford, Mass.-based Epicon, which develops software for ASPs. The deal calls for Nortel to acquire $275 million in Epicon stock. Epicon's Altis is an application delivery and management suite for ASPs. The acquisition will allow Nortel to offer the Preside Managed Applications Services Platform, software that gives ASPs a uniform platform for managing their systems