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Avaya upgrades IP Office with unified comms

The equipment manufacturer has added collaboration tools using voice, instant messaging, presence and video to IP Office
Written by Richard Thurston, Contributor

Avaya has added a range of unified communications features to IP Office, its main small business phone system.

The new features include collaboration tools using voice, instant messaging, presence and video, according to an announcement by the equipment manufacturer on Monday.

Avaya said the features will help make Avaya's unified communications up to 40 percent cheaper for small businesses. The cost savings derive from a new combination card that supports digital, analogue and IP phones and a change in form factor, the company said.

Whereas a flash card and a licence was previously required, now all that is needed for the same functionality is an SD card, which has contributed to the lower price, according to Joe Scotto, Avaya's global director for SME marketing, who spoke to ZDNet UK on Tuesday.

"We recognised we needed to be stronger in the sub-20 [employee] space," Scotto said. "What we have done with this release is to reduce the price point dramatically. This has made us accessible at the low end."

Among the new features for the product, which is version 6.0 of IP Office, is a browser-based application that gives users more control of their voice calls, voice conferences and instant messaging. This application allows users who chair conferences to add, drop and mute individual participants and record conference calls from their desktop.

Video collaboration is enabled through a video softphone application that sits on employees' PCs. Video collaboration could be useful for businesses wanting to share documents, Avaya said.

Version 6.0 includes better integrated instant messaging alongside presence features, so staff can know whether remote colleagues are online. The new product also includes the ability to archive more forms of communication, such as voice messages, which could be useful for business continuity.

Scotto said Avaya is utilising the fruits of the products it acquired from Nortel last year. He said: "Nortel was very effective in the sub-20 [employee] space. 6.0 brings IP Office to the sub-20 segment with equal or better price point to Nortel solutions in that space."

Further integration with Nortel equipment is planned, Scotto added.

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