Avaya Intros IP Office 7.0 for SMBs

Avaya's introduction of the IP Office 7.0 collaboration portfolio marks the completion of the integration of Nortel's business unit into the Avaya fold.

Avaya is ramping up the capabilities of its Avaya IP Office portfolio of communications and collaboration technologies for SMBs.

At a May 17 event in New York for analysts, journalists and partners, Avaya officials unveiled Avaya IP Office 7.0 and introduced a number of smaller businesses that are taking advantage of the capabilities in the enhanced offering.

Avaya IP Office 7.0 also completes the integration of the Nortel Enterprise Solutions technologies and digital phones into the IP Office platform, according to Avaya. The company bought Nortel's business unit in December 2009 for $915 million, a move that enabled Avaya to acquire Nortel's UC (unified communications) products and made it a significant larger player in the enterprise telephony field.

Through the deal, Avaya also acquired Nortel's VOIP (voice over IP) products, switches and routers.

Incorporating Nortel's UC and VOIP offerings into Avaya's platform will enable the company to offer a wider range of collaboration capabilities in an easier and more cost-effective manner, according to Isabelle Guis, general manager of Avaya's Small and Medium Enterprise Division.

"As the economy shifts into a higher gear, today's small and medium businesses need the best tools available to collaborate and compete effectively," Guis said in a statement. "Avaya IP Office 7.0 represents the pinnacle of advanced communications in this market, providing vast unified communications capabilities with a focus on simplicity and savings."

By completing the integration of the Nortel technologies into the Avaya platform, the 14 million or so users of Nortel's enterprise products now have access to Avaya's IP Office. That capability will save Nortel users 40 to 60 percent on the cost of incorporating Avaya IP Office into their businesses by enabling them to keep their existing Nortel phones when upgrading to the Avaya platform, according to company officials.

Avaya also is offering a new Data Migration Tool that enables partners to transfer a customer's existing data, such as voice mails and phone extensions, to their new systems.

Along with the completed integration of Nortel, Avaya's IP Office 7.0 also includes new collaboration devices, including new color touch-screen desktop phones and new conference room phones that offer wide-band audio, call recording through an SD card and fast USB connectivity to a laptop.

During the New York event, Avaya officials also talked about upcoming capabilities in IP Office designed to bring enterprise-class collaboration capabilities into the SMB space. Included in this will be the Avaya Flare Experience for smaller businesses. Avaya introduced the Avaya Flare Experience in September 2010, rolling out a collaboration platform that is designed to give users easier and quicker access to everything from desktop voice and video to social media, instant messaging and conferencing. Avaya reportedly will bring its Flare Experience to such mobile devices as Apple's iPad tablet and various Google Android-based smartphones.

Avaya also demonstrated a wide range of capabilities, including multiparty video conferencing through different devices and desktop sharing technologies. Officials also showed how businesses can upgrade from a Nortel device to Avaya IP Office by using the Data Migration Tool.

In addition, Avaya officials outlined what they said was a hybrid cloud approach for SMBs, which includes Avaya IP Office on premises, but with some applications-like call center or mobile software-available via the cloud through such Avaya partners as Verizon, BT and Bell Canada.