Avaya Extends Enterprise Collaboration to Midmarket Businesses

The company's Aura Branch portfolio expands to include midmarket businesses and support mixed environments.

Business collaboration systems, software and services specialist Avaya announced that employees in enterprise locations of all sizes can now collaborate via voice, video and data with its expanded Aura branch and midsize enterprise platform.

Avaya unified communications products are designed to offer businesses greater flexibility to enable multimodal collaboration among groups of employees, including branch, remote and mobile workers.

The Aura Branch portfolio expands with a gateway for small to medium-size branches that adapts current infrastructures (H.323, PRI, etc.) to support a SIP core infrastructure on a single platform. Scalable to over 350 users per branch, the Avaya B5800 Branch Gateway offers a range of basic to enhanced options and supports centralized environments with applications extended from the Aura core with enhanced survivability and managed at the core, and distributed environments with applications and call control delivered locally while centrally managed, like those typically found in real-estate or franchised business.

The platform also supports mixed environments with both localized and centralized applications. For example, a local auto attendant application could provide directions, multiple languages and sales announcements while centralized applications enable video, collaboration and mobility solutions.

The company's Aura platform for midsize enterprises brings Aura applications onto a single virtualized server for easier installation and management, reduced total cost of ownership (TCO), and energy efficiency for companies with 250 to 1,000 users. Features include Aura Session Manager for management of all SIP endpoints, Aura Presence to share rich presence information between endpoints from Avaya and other third-party vendors, and Aura Session Border Controller, which enables secure connections between SIP-based unified communications and the growing number of IP-based devices, smartphones and applications used by employees inside and outside of the firewall.

"There's real market opportunity to provide midsize enterprises with functional, less complex and easier-to-manage UC solutions. Likewise, branch office environments require flexible configuration options and things like local PBX and collaboration features for end users, along with access to centralized UC applications," said Rich Costello, senior research analyst for enterprise communications infrastructure for IT research firm IDC. "The new Aura Solution for Midsize Enterprises and Aura Branch Solution address their targeted segments appropriately, nicely leveraging Aura communications features and functionality with effective pricing options for smaller locations."

In addition, updated Avaya conferencing phones-added to the company's unified communications (UC) portfolio following the acquisition of Konftel earlier this year-include three options for enterprise customers. The B5800 Branch Gateway is globally available this month, and Aura Solution for Midsize Enterprises 6.1 will be globally available in April.

The company's Software Investment Protection Policy provides Avaya customers with existing UC and contact center licenses who are upgrading to Aura solutions-including the Branch and Midsize Enterprise solutions-with entitlements to cost savings in two ways: Under existing software subscription contracts, customers can upgrade to current, like-for-like licenses at no charge, while customers without subscription contracts can save between 25 and 80 percent on standard Avaya Aura upgrade pricing.