Avaya Updates Flagship SMB UC Suite To Target Smallest Businesses


The main additions to IP Office in the 6.0 version are Web-accessed desktop communications tools -- part of Avaya's one-X Portal for IP Office -- and new video capabilities. According to Avaya, it's able to provide them at a reduced cost because of a "combination card" which can now support digital, analog and IP devices in a way that required several different cards before.

One-X Portal gives users fully integrated instant messaging, with embedded voice calling and presence, and also an upgrade to the audio conferencing tool that allows for 64 parties on a single call, and the ability to record conference calls and view, drop, add and mute attendees. IP Office 6.0's new video feature is a software application, IP Office Video Softphone, which is a virtual phone that runs on a PC or laptop and can support basic visual communications for video presentations.

The updated IP Office also includes doubled support capacity (a multi-site network now can support up to 1,000 users), and what, according to Avaya, are extended business continuity tools that can rescue voice messaging and other features beyond just telephony operation during an outage.

"It has to be easy to understand and finance, and for the channel, easy to learn, easy to sell, easy to install and easy to maintain," said Isabelle Guis, Avaya's senior director of marketing for small and medium enterprises (SME). "Since many of our channel partners tend to be themselves SMEs, it's not surprising that many of their concerns are the same as the customers'."

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Avaya prices IP Office 6.0 starting around $2,500 for five users, $4,300 for 10, $6,300 for 15 and $7,100 for 20.

"This market is much more price-conscious," Guis said. "You want increased capacity but you don't want to buy things you don't need."

Dee Belsky, national account manager for NACR, an Eagan, Minn.-based solution provider and Avaya Platinum partner, said IP Office 6.0 would help the Avaya channel crack a crucial SMB segment.

"Previously the customers in that line size didn't have access to any of the strongest features," Belsky said. "Now, they're going to be able to have a soft phone client and they can see the state of everybody in their one-x portal. The customers I've been presenting to have gotten very excited because they can now get everything the larger companies have had."

Guis said Avaya successfully brought IP Office to the line cards of about 100 Nortel partners, and that was before the acquisition was completed at the end of December. Future versions of IP Office will have integrated Nortel technologies, she added.