(The following is taken from Rich Tehrani’s VoIP blog:)
Avaya has certainly made unified communications history today with a suite of announcements that will certainly rattle the competitive landscape. UC will never be the same in my opinion.
The New Jersey-based company's biggest news had to do with affordable unified communications… For a paltry $99/user you can get full-featured UC for your workers. This is in my opinion beyond inexpensive for UC solutions from such a premium name in the business.
And we aren't talking about bare bones solutions here… You get a thick or thin client, integration with Microsoft
and best of all you get access to about 700 or so Avaya
communications features via your UC client. The thin client support means your new MacBook Air will be allowed to join the Avaya low-cost UC party. You can also use your mobile device… All in all there are 500 supported devices.
If you want to add video it will cost $0.45/day/user for a year or $165/year/user.
The solutions are divided into a few categories, teleworkers, mobile workers, home agent and SMB. In each case the solutions are tailored to meet the needs of the specific environment.
The company also has solutions focused on two vertical markets - branch office/retail and banking branches. As I mentioned a few weeks back, TMC has been seeing tremendous interest from communications companies targeting vertical communities
Normally, this sort of news would be enough to keep the markets satiated for some time but in this case, Avaya apparently had time to create even more important news. For example, they have developed a system whereby they can present intelligent presence to its customers. Avaya's Intelligent Presence Server aggregates information from Microsoft, IBM, a variety of software applications and standard protocols like SIP/SIMPLE and XMPP. The goal of this offering is to ensure presence is more accurate and to be honest this is exactly what the industry needs.
The company will also work with mobile operators to enhance the presence status of users… This assumes the mobile operators agree of course.
In addition, the system has been tuned for sub-second state changes ensuring this solution can be of great use to contact centers looking bring the appropriate resources to bear in any situation.
The solution also takes into account that people can have presence information from a number of sources and instead of displaying each type of presence from each service/application, a person's presences is displayed just once.
Avaya Intelligent Presence will be available in May and included within the Unified Communications Standard Edition and supported with Avaya one-X clients and endpoints, including one-X Portal, one-X Communicator and one-X Deskphones. There will also be an SDK that allows Avaya DevConnect members and customers to build and integrate solutions to the Avaya Intelligent Presence Server.
As you may not have expected, Intelligent Presence is included in the $100 price.
The company also released a new desktop client which integrates with Microsoft and IBM solutions and furthermore now offers a UC services offering which is more of an SI play.
It is "corporate malpractice" to not explore Avaya's UC offerings at these prices. The payback from integrating these systems into your company should be less than one year and the flexibility afforded by such solutions should not be underestimated.
My only concern is this news could start a UC price war. This would be bad news for all as it would reduce the amount of money left for R&D and future improvements. At $99/user I consider the value of UC to be great and a must buy on virtually all budgets.