Avaya To Host VoIP Apps For Midmarket Customers


The small- and midsize-business wares, unveiled at Interop Las Vegas 2006, include Avaya On Demand hosted services, a new MultiVantage Express all-in-one communications product and a new S8400 Media Server Linux blade designed to upgrade some of the company’s older products to the latest version of Avaya Communication Manager.

Solution providers said the new offerings help fill a gap in the Avaya’s product portfolio.

“One of the things we’ve said for quite some time is that Avaya has had a void in that midmarket space,” said Mike Taylor, vice president of emerging technology at Strategic Products and Services, Cedar Knolls, N.J.

Under the new Avaya On Demand banner, Avaya is offering hosted IP telephony, contact center and messaging applications out of its data centers. Avaya plans to sell the services, based on its communications software, to solution providers via a wholesale model that lets them set their own prices and create their own services bundles, said George Humphrey, director of Avaya On Demand.

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“The key is that each channel partner creates its own solution,” Humphrey said, adding that partners can sell the services under their own label or the Avaya brand.

Avaya expects the IP Telephony On Demand service to carry an average street price of $25 per user, per month, and Contact Center On Demand will sell for about $50 per user, per month. Messaging On Demand will be priced at around $5 per user, per month.

The popularity of managed VoIP services from players such as M5 Networks and Covad Communications Group have eaten into some partners’ premise-based equipment sales, Humphrey said.

“I’ve been looking for this for a long time,” Jeff Hiebert, CEO of ROI Networks, a San Juan Capistrano, Calif.-based solution provider, said of the new wholesale services. Avaya’s hosted services will give ROI Networks an annuity stream without requiring the company to finance a huge infrastructure build-out, he said. To sell the services, Hiebert said he will have to retrain ROI Networks’ sales and services personnel. He also expects to have to educate his customers on the benefits of hosted services.

“I don’t have a lot of customers asking for hosted services because they don’t think they are fully educated yet. We’ll need to educate them,” he said.

Avaya plans to offer partners training to help them position and sell the services, as well as to help them understand the impact of an annuity model on their businesses, Humphrey said. The new services expand Avaya’s managed services portfolio, which includes service provider offerings and high-end messaging services, he said.

For midsize customers that prefer to buy premise-based equipment, Avaya also launched MultiVantage Express, a single-server offering that includes Avaya Communications Manager IP telephony software, mobility applications, messaging, six-party conferencing, auto attendant and softphones. MultiVantage Express supports IP and TDM users, enabling customers to transition to VoIP at their own pace, said Lawrence Byrd, director of IP telephony and mobility at Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Avaya.

Avaya’s channel partners played a significant role in the development of the product, which is scheduled to ship in June for $850 per user, including phones.

Avaya also introduced the S8400 Media Server, a Linux server blade that upgrades the vendor’s Definity ProLogix, IP600 and S8100 Media Servers to IP telephony and the latest version of Avaya Communication Manager. Solution providers also can offer a server/gateway bundle for new customers.

Avaya S8400 Media Server is priced at $4,500 for upgrades to current systems and $6,200 for the server/gateway bundle.