Avaya is to release a new SIP-based architecture, called Aura, for its unified communications products.
Aura, announced on Monday, is centred on the new Avaya Aura Session Manager, which the company said allows the management of all SIP communications in the enterprise, regardless of the vendor. SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol, is a standard that allows multiple types of communication — such as voice and instant messaging — over various networks and devices, allowing the means of communication to be switched without needing to initiate a new session.
In a statement on Monday, Avaya said that Aura would make it possible for enterprises to securely incorporate social media such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as text messaging and peer-to-peer communications. The company suggested that this capability may be used to, for example, augment a communication session with a participant's social-network profile.
"Session Manager that will orchestrate all SIP communications, regardless of what vendor it came from, and regardless of location," Jirina Yates, Avaya's marketing director for EMEA, told ZDNet UK on Friday. She added that, from the first week of May, Session Manager would be included as a feature of the enterprise edition of Avaya's Communication Manager product, which has featured SIP capabilities since the start of 2008.
Yates said that "no other vendor can deliver [Session Manager's capabilities] to the enterprise today". Asked why, she said the company's purchase of Ubiquity Software — along with its SIP application development platform — at the start of 2007 had given Avaya the ability to "rapidly develop Session Manager".
According to Yates, Aura's immediate benefits for enterprises lie in savings from on-net calling, rather than standard PSTN use; the simple implementation of least-cost routing; and the ability to create centrally managed enterprise-wide dial plans.
On Monday, Skype announced it was opening up to the SIP protocol, so businesses can use the low-cost VoIP services through their existing SIP-based PBXs. According to Yates, Session Manager will "integrate [Skype For SIP] very easily" and complement it — she suggested Avaya was targeting much larger enterprises than those that might use Skype, as Aura can scale up to 250,000 users and 25,000 locations.
A 'branch edition' of Aura is also being made available, to let companies connect small branch offices into their wider communications network.