VoiceCon: Avaya Rolls Out New VoIP Platform

With that in mind, Avaya on Monday pulled the curtain off of Avaya Aura, a new SIP-based unified communications platform the company said continues its vision of connecting users, applications and systems from anywhere at any time. The product was launched on the opening day of VoiceCon, which is owned by ChannelWeb.com parent company United Business Media.

"It really needs to be a lot simpler and a lot more powerful if we're really going to reap the benefits of unified communications," said Lawrence Byrd, unified communications architect at Avaya, Basking Ridge, N.J.

The new Aura platform integrates across multivendor environments, multiple locations and several business modes to deliver voice, video, messaging, presence, Web applications and more, Byrd said. At the same time, he said, the platform can reduce communications network complexity and infrastructure costs.

Aura is an all-in-one package available in branch, standard and enterprise editions, Byrd said.

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The centerpiece of the new Aura architecture is Avaya Aura Session Manager, a SIP-based management platform that centralizes control and application integration. It ties together a host of communications applications and systems by decoupling the applications from the network, meaning services can be deployed to users based on what features they need rather than where they work or the capability of the system they're using.

Avaya Aura ties together several Avaya products, including Communication Manager, Avaya's flagship voice and video telephony software; Presence Services, which can extend and federate presence from several sources and vendors; Application Enablement Services; and System Manager.

"Realtime communications today is built around systems," Byrd said, adding that each system has its own dial plan, its own users and other attributes. Aura breaks down that system barrier, opening the door for a companywide dial-plan and offers one central management point to integrate systems, he said.

The goal is to "connect what you have together better," Byrd said. To make that work, Aura first links together systems, then links people and applications.

For partners, that offers a new opportunity to provide applications and a way to tie their customers' multivendor communications environments together to preserve their initial investments, Byrd said. Partners can also manage their customers' communications systems from one central point, he added.

Aura offers companies the ability to create new applications and extend them to any location. They can also map applications to individual employee profiles, making features available regardless of location, system or device and reduce costs through centrally managed, enterprisewide dial plans and on-net calling, global least-cost routing and PSTN access from the most cost-effective location, Byrd said. Aura also eliminates local application servers and optimizes software licensing across the full enterprise, rather than a single location and has the ability to scale to 250,000 users and 25,000 locations.

Byrd said the first Avaya product to be enabled by Aura will be the Avaya Intelligent Customer Routing, a contact center solution that uses the SIP platform to enable companies to route communications and information to the correct agents and experts, regardless of which vendor's equipment they use or their location. That means customer calls can be reconciled faster, and by the correct person, Byrd said.