Avaya Buys Audio Collaboration Solutions Vendor Konftel

Avaya acquires Swedish vendor Konftel in an effort to expand the audio capabilities of its unified communications and collaboration solutions.

Avaya is bulking up its audio collaboration capabilities with the $15 million acquisition of Swedish company Konftel.

Through the deal announced Jan. 4, Avaya gains Konftel's portfolio of conferencing solutions, in particular its OmniSound technology, which optimizes the audio in conferencing sessions. Avaya executives said they plan to bring Konftel's technology, including OmniSound, into their Avaya Flare Experience UC (unified communications) initiative unveiled in September 2010.

"The acquisition of Konftel represents a logical step in Avaya's drive to lead in business collaboration," Alan Baratz, senior vice president and president for Avaya's Global Communications Solutions business, said in a statement. "Konftel's audio conferencing product portfolio and its OmniSound technology will be key elements of our continued innovation in audio and video solutions, including our recently announced Avaya Flare Experience."

Konftel's OmniSound conference phones offer special speakers for high-quality sound, microphones that direct sound, other microphones that can expand the reach of the phones and equalizers for controlling the sound settings. In addition, among the standards that OmniSound works with is SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), which is also the key standard used by Avaya in its UC and collaboration technologies, including Flare Experience.

Konftel will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Avaya.

The Konftel acquisition is the latest move by Avaya to build up its unified communications and collaboration capabilities. The company in 2009 rolled out its SIP-based Aura 6.0 UC platform, and has been building upon it since. Later that year, Avaya bought bankrupt Nortel Networks' enterprise business, greatly expanding its VOIP (voice over IP) capabilities. Officials worked quickly to take advantage of the Nortel technologies, launching networking and UC products in April 2010 and new and enhanced UC and contact center solutions in July 2010.

With Flare Experience, Avaya expanded its reach into the video collaboration space, bringing it into closer competition with Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard and other vendors. Included in the offering is Avaya's Collaboration Server, which puts all of the Aura 6.0 core functions onto a single server, giving businesses easier access to video conferencing solutions and the company's Desktop Video Device, an Android-based touch-screen communications tablet similar to Cisco's Cius device.

Avaya officials said the rollout of the Flare Experience was a significant step forward for the company.

"We're trying to reinvent how we do communications today," Lawrence Byrd, director of UC architecture at Avaya, told eWEEK at the time of the Flare Experience's unveiling.