Avaya Targets Midmarket with IP Telephony Services

Updated: The company introduces new hosted services and software that aim to make easier for midsize businesses to adopt IP telephony applications.

LAS VEGAS—Avaya is seeking to make it easy for midsize enterprises to adopt IP telephony applications by launching at Interop here new products and services that lower entry costs and ease implementation.

Among the new offerings, targeted at businesses with between 100 to 500 employees, are flexible hosted services for IP telephony, contact center and messaging sold on a per-seat, per-month subscription basis.

The three new Avaya On Demand managed services are all about choice and flexibility—including in the way they are delivered to the midmarket.

Robin Gareiss, an analyst with Nemertes Research, in Frankfort, Ill., said she believes the addition of the managed services on Avayas part is a smart move.

"They are serving an area of the market thats underserved. Even though carriers offer managed IP telephony services, they dont always offer them in certain locations or they dont offer the services that customers want," she said.

Avaya will offer the managed services directly to end customers and indirectly through partners, and it will also offer it to partners to bundle with their own professional services or vertical market applications. Avaya will allow those partners to resell the service and will manage the hosted service for the partner, according to Lawrence Byrd, director of IP Telephony and Mobility, in Milpitas, Calif.

"We see this as leveling the channel playing field. Its no different than what were doing now. We are saying hosted solutions can be available through multiple channels," he said.

But the managed services offering could create conflict between Avaya and its channel partners. "There is competition everywhere, but channel partners want to be the primary conduit. It is an area of caution." Gareiss said.

Among the three new managed services is Avaya IP Telephony On Demand, which gives midsize businesses access to some 700 features of Avayas Communications Manager software. Those include conferencing, the Avaya IP Softphone for PC-based IP telephony, and the ability to call a users desk and cell phone at the same time.

The new Avaya Contact Center On Demand managed service provides access to a slew of contact center functions, including call routing to applications such as self-service or advanced reporting. It can serve as few as 30 customer service agents.

The new Avaya Messaging On Demand managed service provides basic and advanced voice messaging.

Avaya offers the services from its own secured data centers, and each service is preconfigured and tested to speed implementation time.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about Avayas deal with Samsung to develop a new package of IP-based phone services that will include both wireless and land-line applications.

Avaya on May 2 also introduced a new all-in-one IP Telephony package that combines mobility, voice mail, conferencing, call center functions and other features.

The software, designed with the help of Avaya reseller partners, streamlines configuration and management of the product to allow customers without sophisticated IT staffs to use it.

MultiVantage Express, for customers with 100 to 500 employees, includes Avayas Communications Manager VOIP (voice-over-IP) software, mobility applications, messaging, six-part conferencing and auto-attendant, as well as softphones and IP phones. It is due in June.

Avaya also added a new VOIP Linux-based server blade for its legacy TDM PBXes, including the Definity ProLogix, IP600 and Avaya S8100 Media Server. It is available now.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include an analysts comments.

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