Business/E-Business
Commentary
3/30/2009
03:32 PM
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Avaya Vies for Key VoIP Software Position

Since going private in 2007, Avaya has made it clear that the companys future success would stem more from value added software than on its Voice over IP (VoIP) hardware. One of the key pieces in that transformation is an application designed to make different vendors voice systems work together.

Since going private in 2007, Avaya has made it clear that the companys future success would stem more from value added software than on its Voice over IP (VoIP) hardware. One of the key pieces in that transformation is an application designed to make different vendors voice systems work together.Avaya announced Aura Session Manager, which is designed to streamline voice communications. Unlike computer systems where different devices can be connected to one another, voice systems have been isolated islands with little or no interaction. The Avaya product is designed to consolidate various systems running the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Rather than work with these systems in an autonomous manner, businesses can manage them centrally. With the software, companies can map applications to individual employee profiles; establish centrally managed, enterprise wide dialing plans; and eliminate local application servers along with their licensing fees.

The product is based on a couple of components. Aura requires a number of the companys applications: Communication Manager, its voice and video telephony software; Presence Services, formerly known as Intelligent Presence Services and the central communications platform, and Application Enablement Services and Integrated Manager, which enable companies to run other applications in conjunction with the Avaya system.

While the Avaya option includes some interesting features, it comes with a few caveats Also, Avaya is a company with a tenuous future. Even though the vendor has been a leading voice communications supplier, it has been struggling to stay afloat in the highly competitive network equipment market. In October 2007, the company was acquired by Silver Lake and TPG Capital, companies that specialize in corporate turnarounds and took the company private. So its financial position is unclear. Also, these features may be a bit beyond the reach of many small and medium businesses. Auras benefits come when firms have multiple voice systems, say a number of contact center, that need to be connected. It is unclear how many small and medium businesses would require such capabilities. On the plus side, the new features illustrate that VoIP vendors have realized that they need to find ways to tie disparate voice systems together, and the walls around their autonomous islands are beginning to crack.

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