Avaya tackles 'economic reality' with unified comms

The company says its unified-comms suite, starting at 15 pence per worker, per day, is partly a response to businesses' needs during the economic downturn

Avaya has launched a cheap unified-communications suite. The company said the move is partially a reaction to the global economic downturn.

The Avaya Unified Communications (UC) Solutions bundle is aimed at remote workers and branch offices, and starts at 15 pence per day, per worker.

Jirina Yates, Avaya's director of solutions marketing, told ZDNet.co.uk on Friday that companies were reacting to "economic reality" by looking for minimal investment and quick returns.

"There is an expected downturn or even a recession," said Yates. "Everyone is looking to whatever investment they make in technology [needing] to have a short-term [return on investment] and preferably impact the bottom line this year. We don't necessarily feel that people are stopping the investment but they want to get bang for their buck."

At a starting price of less than $100 (£49) per employee, per year, the UC Solutions package represents "probably about a 60 percent reduction" on Avaya's previous pricing for similar UC suites, Yates said. The currently ubiquitous term "unified communications" refers to the integration of various kinds of communications tools and applications, focusing heavily on being able to see the availability, or "presence", of co-workers.

Avaya's package comes in four flavours: one for teleworkers; one for home-worker call-centre agents; one for small businesses; and one for branch offices. Specialist versions for the retail and banking industries were also announced on Monday, although the retail-focused version will only be available in North America for now because Avaya's partners there are currently "not able to roll out" their components elsewhere, according to Yates.

The same announcement also included the news that the first release of Avaya's one-X Communicator software, which combines Avaya's telephony presence with Microsoft Office Communications Server's instant messaging presence, will be available worldwide in May.

Avaya also launched its new software server, dubbed "Intelligent Presence", on Monday. The server aggregates desktop, telephony and application presence data from Avaya and third-party sources, like Microsoft and IBM, and is aimed at making it easier to collect or segment presence information, depending on the user's needs.

Chris Barrow, Avaya's solutions marketing manager, told ZDNet.co.uk on Friday that the new server could be used to track the location of equipment, as well as people, and integrate presence information into automated business processes.