Avaya Wednesday unveiled the latest version of IP Office, its flagship unified communications suite for small and midsize businesses, with an emphasis on extending enterprise-grade UC features more seamlessly to mobile devices.
Avaya IP Office 8.0 includes a new mobility application called One-X Mobile Preferred for IP Office, which extends a customer's IP Office functions to Google Android mobile devices. Avaya will be adding the One-X Mobile Preferred application for Apple iOS mobile devices later in the first quarter.
According to Avaya, One-X Mobile Preferred includes multiparty conference management via mobile device -- including the ability to set up voice conferences and invite, view, mute and drop participants, plus launch the conference with a one-touch option -- and integrated presence. It also offers instant messaging capabilities, visual voice mail and "geopresence," displaying fellow employees' physical locations.
One-X Mobile Preferred is different than Avaya's existing Essential Mobility offering for IP Office, which already extends UC functions such as voice capabilities to mobile devices. Essential Mobility currently supports Symbian, Windows Mobile and Apple iPhone devices, and Avaya will extend that support for Android- and BlackBerry-based devices this quarter.
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Joe Scotto, global director for SMB marketing at Avaya, said communications for small-business users have to be as flexible as possible, as there are so many mobile devices and types of businesses to serve in the market segment.
"The ability to extend it out to multiple subsegments within [small and medium enterprise] is huge. That's a big win for the channel," Scotto told CRN this week. "Basically getting a holistic, comprehensive UC experience on a smartphone means adding a lot of value."
The other big addition in the IP Office 8.0 release is what Avaya describes as a way to offer "serverless" collaboration capabilities. Users can run an integrated UC module within IP Office -- called the Avaya C110 Unified Communications module -- that eliminates needing an external server for IP Office communications.
"If you think about the way UC is typically purchased and installed, it's basically done via an external server, typically a Windows Server," Scotto said. "But in the sub-50 [user] space, you can change the speed of the install and deployment."
Additional features in IP Office 8.0 include the use of federated presence to tie Google Talk and IP Office contacts into Avaya's One-X Portal for IP Office, as well as the ability to make and receive calls from Salesforce.com pages and use visual voice mail within Microsoft Outlook.
Avaya will continue to update IP Office several times per year, said Scotto. Avaya's 7.0 release, which occurred in May 2011, was a milestone following Avaya’s acquisition of Nortel in that Nortel’s IP and digital phones were fully integrated with the IP Office platform.
Avaya also will focus on enabling VARs that want to drive tighter mobile app integration -- and even do the development themselves -- in the networking solutions they devise for SMB customers, he added.