Avaya Sharpens Cloud Strategy With New Services, Level 3 Alliance

Avaya this week confirmed a strategic alliance with Level 3 Communications and a number of new cloud-based services, both part of an emerging cloud computing strategy Avaya is calling Collaborative Cloud.

Part of the launch is a suite of public cloud-delivered communications services called AvayaLive, along with the use of Avaya’s Virtual Network Architecture (VENA) and its virtualized communications platform, Aura, as part of a framework for that Collaborative Cloud.

Those services include AvayaLive Connect, an all-in-one UC offering for small business customers that provides voice, video conferencing, messaging, mobility, presence and other capabilities, supporting PC, Apple Mac, Apple iOS and Google Android-based devices. They also include AvayaLive Engage, an avatar-based Web collaboration environment that Avaya previously promoted as Web.alive.

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Avaya will price AvayaLive Connect as an annual subscription, with exact pricing and availability for continental U.S.based channel partners coming this summer, said David Murashige, vice president, business development. Avaya plans to offer more public cloud services through AvayaLive.com, and other elements of the Collaborative Cloud framework will be available later this year.

"The Collaborative Cloud formalizes Avaya's cloud strategy," Brett Shockley, Avaya senior vice president and general manager, applications and emerging technologies, said in a statement. "It expands our current portfolio of cloud-based solutions to encompass new offers from the public cloud."

Level 3 will be Avaya's service provider partner for AvayaLive Connect in the U.S. The service is currently in field trials and is expected for general availability this summer, Avaya said.

Sara Baack, senior vice president, voice services for Level 3 said AvayaLive Connect would tap into what she described as an excellent market opportunity for hosted solutions.

"The Avaya LiveConnect solution is a great way for small businesses to enjoy the benefits of unified communications without the burden of cumbersome implementations and ongoing management overhead," Baack said.

Hosted communications are a big focus for the UC channel, and Avaya, which commands about one quarter of global UC market share according to most analysts, had been widely expected to expand its cloud strategy.

Most of the space's prominent vendors have pursued cloud-based UC strategies in recent years. Cisco has seen momentum behind its Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), Siemens Enterprise Communications offers a hosted version of its OpenScape UC platform, Microsoft provides a cloud-based version of Lync as part of its Office 365 cloud platform, and ShoreTel recently acquired M5 Networks to provide an in-house option for hosted VoIP and other communications tools.