Avaya officials in May spent $230 million for video communications vendor Radvision with the hopes of meshing the video capabilities with its significant unified communications offerings.
Those plans are beginning to take shape, with Avaya this week expanding the video collaboration capabilities of its UC solutions farther into the mobile space and to offer further integration with UC and video offerings from such companies as Cisco Systems, Polycom, LifeSize Communications and Microsoft.
The new and enhanced offerings will help enterprises and smaller businesses that are becoming increasingly mobile, as more employees work away from the office and rely on their growing array of mobile devices—from smartphones to tablets to notebooks—in their working lives, according to Brett Shockey, senior vice president and general manager of applications and emerging technologies at Avaya.
Companies that can adopt to the changing trends, including a more mobile workforce and bring your own device (BYOD), can find a competitive edge.
“Agile organizations that can react quickly to changing market conditions and customer needs are garnering a disproportional share of growth and profits,” Shockley said in a statement. “These organizations are advancing their communication and collaboration systems to drive these results. With the innovations announced today, Avaya is delivering on the promise of the real-time mobile enterprise, where organizations collaborate faster, to make smarter decisions and drive better business results.”
The enhancements, announced Dec. 12, include the addition of video capabilities in the Avaya Flare Experience 1.1 platform, offering users of Avaya’s Aura Conferencing technology a unified collaboration solution that leverages unified voice, video and the Web from anywhere using PCs, tablets and smartphones. The Aura Conferencing solution uses Scalable Video Coding (SVC)-enabled switched video architecture to support up to 7,500 concurrent sessions, or up to 75,000 users.
At the same time, it helps drive down bandwidth usage by up to 25 percent compared with competing technology from other vendors, according to Avaya officials.
In addition, Avaya’s Scopia XT5000, a room video conferencing system the company inherited via the Radvision acquisition, now comes with an embedded four- or nine-point multipoint conferencing unit (MCU), a bridge used to bring multiple parties into a video conference. Also, through Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), the Scopia XT5000 integrates with Avaya’s IP Office phone system for SMBs. Through the enhancements, Avaya officials said they now can offer small and midsize businesses an affordable and tightly integrated room-based system.
In another nod to the growth of mobile computing, Avaya is offering an optional package with the Scopia XT5000 for smaller businesses and workgroups that includes both Scopia Desktop and Scopia Mobile. Scopia Desktop enables users to leverage voice and video conferencing to their desktops and notebooks, while Sopia mobile is a free app that brings video conferencing to mobile devices, including Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
In addition, Scopia Mobile now can be used on devices running Google’s Android mobile operating system. The Scopia Mobile apps is available in both the Apple App Store and Google Play marketplace.
Avaya Brings Radvision Video Capabilities to Aura UC Solutions
Avaya also introduced the Scopia XT Executive 240 Desktop, a desktop video conferencing system that offers an optional MCU embedded insides. The XT Executive 240 offers users a desktop system that also can be used for video conferencing and content sharing.
Avaya added a browser-based interface to its Scopia Management System that enables users to manage video collaboration deployment from PCs and Apple Macs as well as smartphones and tablets. In addition, incorporated into the interface is Google Maps, and other enhancements include multi-tenancy capabilities, concierge services and the ability for enterprises and service providers to scale to up to 400,000 users.
Avaya’s Scopia TIP Gateway offers greater interoperability with telepresence systems from Cisco, adding to the interoperability with other systems from the likes of Polycom, LifeSize and Tandberg, which is owned by Cisco. Cisco introduced the Telepresence Interoperability Protocol (TIP) in 2010 to encourage greater interoperability between the room systems from disparate vendors, and the company has since the protocol to a third-party standards group, the International Multimedia Teleconferencing Consortium.
In addition, Avaya unveiled a set of plug-ins, called Avaya Client Applications, which enable Aura systems to communicate with such Microsoft software as Lync, Outlook, Office, Internet Explorer and Dynamics. They also can talk with clients running IBM Sametime and Salesforce.com applications.
“Avaya provides the best of both worlds when it comes to UC and video,” Robin Raulf-Sager, director of communications for Radvision, which is now an Avaya company, wrote in a post on Avaya’s blog. “We are also making good progress toward the integration of these two worlds.”
Video conferencing got a boost during the global recession, when enterprises saw telepresence and other systems as a way to increase worker productivity while driving down costs, including travel expenses. However, in recent quarters, revenues in the worldwide video conferencing market have fallen, thanks to an uncertain global economy and the slowing sales of expensive, room-based telepresence systems as more of the focus in the space has shifted to software.
According to market research firm IDC, the third quarter followed a similar trend from throughout the year, with revenues in the space falling 4.8 percent from the same period in 2011, and sales of larger, multi-codec immersive telepresence systems dropping 35.8 percent.