Avaya Upgrades Contact Center Suite

The new features include advanced support for Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), improved call-routing capabilities and a new Web-based interface for remote users, said Lawrence Byrd, director of communications applications at Avaya, Basking Ridge, N.J.

While Avaya has been a strong player in the traditional call center market for years, it is now moving to embrace IP and bring the benefits of convergence to customers, solution providers said.

The contact center market is garnering attention because it is profitable, said Rick Parker, vice president of sales and marketing at TriNet Systems, an Avaya partner in Westwood, Mass. "Just about every business has some kind of call center if you look hard enough," he said.

Solution providers can tap IP technology to help customers reduce overhead by utilizing remote agents that don't have to be housed in centralized locations, Parker said.

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"It's the idea of the virtual call center. With IP technology, agents can work from home but be connected as if they're sitting in an office," he said.

With IP Agent 6.0, available in July, Avaya is adding SIP-enabled presence and instant-messaging capabilities as well as built-in screen-pop capabilities for desktop applications. Pricing for remote users starts at $450. It also integrates with Advanced Segmentation Routing 3.0, a new release available now that simplifies complex integration with back-end applications to ensure calls are handled by the most appropriate agents, Byrd said. Advanced Segmentation Routing 3.0 costs $1,750 per agent for the first 20 agents.

The latter is an extension of Call Center 3.0, the latest version of Avaya's underlying Automatic Call Distribution software, shipping now for $100 to $1,000 per agent. The upgrade increases the number of agents that can be classified by given skills and improves survivability features.

Avaya's Interaction Center 7.0, also available now starting at $1,200 per agent, includes a new browser-based client with a simplified interface and expanded language support.