Avaya has launched phones and software that it claims will make it easier to intelligently route calls in businesses and call centres.
On Monday, the communications firm announced the release of version 5.0 of its Communication Manager software, which now features embedded Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). It also announced new contact-centre phones which can handle SIP.
SIP is a signalling protocol, used extensively in internet telephony (VoIP), that allows sessions to be established on an IP network. It allows functionality such as presence — the ability to see whether or not someone is available to be contacted, and how they might be contactable — to be introduced into a VoIP-based network.
The inclusion of embedded SIP in Communication Manager 5.0 will make communications more reliable, according to Avaya, because SIP trunk alternate routing will allow voice, video and data to be redistributed when congestion arises. It will also allow co-residency on a single server, initially Avaya's S8300C server, the company said on Monday.
Avaya also announced the release of a new low-cost, contact-centre phone — the Agent Desktop 16CC — on Monday. The desktop phones do not require the use of a softphone client, rather allowing a direct SIP connection between the service-provider trunk and the phone itself. The SIP capabilities are powered by Communication Manager 5.0 and Avaya Call Center 5.0, also announced on Monday.
Avaya's director of business communications, Gordon Loader, told ZDNet.co.uk on Friday that Avaya was "blending [intelligent software] into the general IT applications environment" with its new releases.
"Introducing SIP into the contact centre provides a foundation for us to avail ourselves of new facilities and functionality if communications is going to get to this intelligent status," said Loader, who suggested that the introduction of features like presence would make it easier for call-centre staff to route calls through to available experts in the back office. He also claimed the SIP-based software would make it easier for contact-centre staff to hold instant-messaging conversations with relevant staff during calls.
Loader said the new releases showed Avaya was enhancing its software focus. "With the evolution of IT systems, we were never going to be a hardware player," he said. "We have always had a great level of software in our products, but generally people didn't see it there because they would just buy a big box."
"There are also far [greater] margins to be made in software than in hardware, which is another reason why we want to take that route," Loader added, while conceding that Avaya's sale to two private-equity firms last June was also a factor in its new focus on software rather than hardware.