Avaya, Polycom Partner on UC Solutions

Avaya and Polycom are expanding their relationship to include the development and marketing of new voice and video unified communications solutions. The integrated offerings will be based on Avaya's Aura UC platform and Polycom's Open Collaboration Network strategy. The Avaya-Polycom partnership is the latest move in a quickly changing UC landscape as vendors attempt to take on major players like Cisco Systems.

Avaya and Polycom are expanding their partnership to include integrated video, voice and collaborations offerings, the latest move in a quickly evolving unified communications market.

The two companies March 9 announced plans to jointly develop and market a host of new, tightly integrated UC solutions based on Avaya's SIP (Session Initiation Protocol)-based Aura UC platform and Polycom's Open Collaboration Network initiative, which is a partner strategy focused on offering UC solutions.

The partnership between Avaya and Polycom will touch on voice and video systems that are integrated with Avaya's Aura platform for greater real-time collaboration. Aura will be used as a central management and delivery point for the joint solutions, the two companies said.

It also will enable customers to increase their UC capabilities while using their existing voice and video communications technologies, officials said.

"By adopting the Avaya Aura platform, Polycom products will benefit from the seamless interoperability it offers," Alan Baratz, senior vice president of global communications solutions for Avaya, said in a statement.

Collaboration tools are getting the attention of businesses that are trying to reduce expenses in such areas as travel budgets while increasing the productivity of their employees. That has a lot of technology companies moving to offer solutions in what Cisco Systems has said could become a $34 billion collaboration market.

The vendors in the space are using a combination of innovation and partnering to ramp up the competition against top players such as Cisco, which has beefed up its collaboration capabilities in large part through the acquisition of such businesses as WebEx, Pure Digital Technologies-maker of the Flip video camera-and Norwegian telepresence equipment vendor Tandberg.

The $3.4 billion deal for Tandberg is still on hold as the European Commission, the antitrust arm of the European Union, continues its review of the deal. The EC has extended its review of the deal by 10 days to March 29.

Avaya has entered into a number of UC partnerships with companies such as IBM, and also has expanded its own capabilities with the acquisition of Nortel Networks' enterprise communications business.

For its part, Polycom has found partners in such vendors as Juniper Networks and Siemens Enterprise Communications Group.