Avaya Broadens Commitment to Small and Mid-Size Businesses with Significant Enhancements to Intelligent Communications Solution
Now Avaya IP Office, with new software and modular hardware package, makes secure, reliable IP telephony affordable for even very small businesses; Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking enables greatly reduced calling costs; Companies with IP Office can easily upgrade to new software; remote diagnostic tools enable resellers to customize solutions, provide proactive technical support to their clients
12-Feb-2007 - BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – Avaya Inc. (NYSE: AV), a global leader in business communications applications, systems and services, today announced significant enhancements to its Intelligent Communications suite of converged IP telephony solutions specially designed for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs).
The enhancements give even the smallest firm an easy, affordable way to take advantage of advanced, IP-based communications to improve productivity, customer service, and virtually any business process.
Avaya’s new developments also enable companies to access less expensive call services from service providers offering Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based trunking, which can cut calling costs in half. SIP is a protocol governing voice and data signals traveling together on a converged network. A SIP trunk is similar to a phone line, but routes calls over an IP network instead of the public switched telephone network.
Based on Avaya developments in converged communications technology, the company is introducing two versions of enhanced software for Avaya IP Office, the company’s flagship solution for SMBs. The Standard edition is designed for very small businesses and serves up to 32 users. The Professional edition enables firms to take advantage of enhanced mobility, multi-site networking or customer service intelligence and scales to support up to 270 users.
In addition to new IP Office software, Avaya is expanding its current portfolio of servers by introducing a new IP Office 500 communications server. Its compact, modular, and flexible design supports telephony, voice messaging, and a complete customer service suite – all at an attractive price for small and mid-size businesses.
Together, the new IP Office software and communications server deliver a solution that enables SMBs to buy only what they need today, while easily adding users or functionality via software licenses that are also compatible with existing IP Office solutions.
“We built IP Office from the ground up for small businesses. That means it has the right entry-level price, ’big business’ communications capabilities, and options for companies to add more capabilities, capacities or locations as their business grows,” said Geoffrey Baird, vice president and general manager, Appliances, Mobility and Small Systems Division, Avaya. “With this latest release, we believe Avaya certified resellers will now be able to pursue a broader market, as well as better serve their existing customers. In fact, because of the easy way to upgrade for existing IP Office customers and the new features such as SIP trunking and remote diagnostic tools, our channels will be able to make more money and better serve and support the SMB market. And, in the future, we’ll continue to incorporate new benefits into subsequent releases of our IP Office portfolio.”
Over the last two years, Avaya and its worldwide network of certified resellers have nearly tripled IP Office sales to companies of all sizes in nearly 70 countries.
The IP Office 500 Series is powered by Standard and Professional editions of new IP Office Release 4.0 software – an application that offers a number of benefits to SMBs:
* It acts as a SIP gateway, whether the SMB has digital, analog or IP phones. Businesses can subscribe to new SIP trunking services and significantly reduce calling costs.
* It introduces new remote diagnostic tools. Resellers can improve customer satisfaction by quickly and proactively identifying and resolving problems remotely.
* It adds new multi-site hot-desking capabilities so employees can log into any digital, analog or IP phone at any of their company’s networked locations and have their calls and voice messages follow them.
* It adds new multi-site hunt group capabilities so workers at any networked location can be part of the same call routing group.
AMI-Partners forecasts that the worldwide small and medium business market for advanced communications will grow by more than 30 percent in a cumulative annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2010. “Like enterprise firms, smaller firms are looking to get the cost-reduction benefits from converged communication solutions. Affordable price, security and mobility - in the sense of providing mobile workers with access to office features when they’re on the road or working from home - are key aspects desired in communications systems. Furthermore, small and medium firms want systems that can be customized to their unique needs in their specific market, whether they are a single-office law firm, or a multi-site real estate chain, and that can be expanded when their businesses grow,” said Maria Carolina Guedes Smith, Senior Consultant, AMI-Partners. “The Avaya portfolio announced today (500 Series Platform and release 4.0 software) sets a new competitive benchmark and demonstrates Avaya’s commitment to continuing and solidifying its leadership in the SMB market, providing solutions that are designed to specifically address these needs in the small and medium market segment.”
Avaya’s new IP Office Release 4.0 software and IP Office 500 communications server are available globally through an extensive network of Avaya resellers skilled in delivering SMB solutions to their customers. Installation and support will be provided both by Avaya BusinessPartners and by Avaya Global Services, a team of approximately 9,000 services technology experts based around the globe.
Small and mid-size customers worldwide use Avaya’s new software, platform to generate revenue, improve billing accuracy, serve customers better, keep pace with growth plans
Among the companies to benefit from enhancements to Avaya IP Office is the Ohio Valley Federal Credit Union (www.ovfcu.org), whose 15 employees are using the IP Office Standard Edition.
“Our collections person can now simply click on an icon to dial a number, enabling her to call lots more customers. Since we’ve had IP Office, we reduced our outstanding loan payments by about 15 to 20 percent and we’re bringing in additional revenue,” said Martin Purdin, president and CEO, Ohio Valley Federal Credit Union. Purdin plans to incorporate mobility capabilities so critical support staff can work remotely, log in at any site as if they were in their own office, and help the company recover and continue to serve customers even in the event of a disaster.
Management Excellence Inc. (http://www.meinet.com/home.htm), another firm using the new IP Office release, provides services to nearly a dozen membership organizations, such as professional societies. Combined, their clients’ members number about 10,000 professionals. Management Excellence plans annual client conferences, writes and produces client newsletters and even manages client finances. The firm operates from a single site with a core staff of five, augmented with strategic relationships to ensure they can serve client needs.
“IP Office is a solution that can match our plans for measured, rather than dramatic, growth, so we can add capacity and capabilities as needed, such as during our current busy season, when many of our clients are finalizing plans for their annual members’ meetings,” said Bruce Rickenbach, co-owner and vice president of operations, who upgraded his existing IP Office with the new software. “We also needed a way to improve our billing accuracy, since we charge for every phone call we make on behalf of our clients, the same way a lawyer’s office operates. Let’s say we need to call the hotel where a client is holding its annual meeting. When we make the call, IP Office automatically maps the call to the right client account code in our data base.”
The benefits of SIP trunking will also enable MEI to further reduce costs, Rickenbach said. “As we move forward, we plan to take a close look at a new way to manage our calling costs. It would make great sense for us to slice those costs in half and keep our ability to offer our clients the same high quality customer service we provide today,” he said.
G&C Interconnects, a certified Avaya BusinessPartner supporting both MEI and Ohio Valley Federal Credit Union, is already using the SIP trunking feature at its office.
“We’re using SIP trunking ourselves so we can fully brief our clients on its benefits – and we’ve already cut our own calling costs,” said Kristian D. Guntzelman, president, G&C Interconnects. “And we believe advanced networking for distributed hunt groups, which is brand new to the SMB market and to IP Office, has great potential for us and our customers. Now businesses can create hunt groups for small communities, as few as two locations, distributed across the network, so a call to a worker at one location will also ring others in the group, even if they don’t work in the same building. That makes it even faster for customers to reach the right person.”
Guntzelman also believes the new remote diagnostic tools will enable him to better serve his small business customers. “Now we can proactively monitor voice and data communications and alert a client when their lines are at capacity, providing them with more bandwidth so their communications continue to flow without a hitch,” he said.
The Midcounties Co-operative, which is using the new Avaya software, is an innovative cooperative business in the U.K., owned by its customers and staff in the nine counties it spans. The cooperative trades in a number of retail sectors, including food, travel, funerals, motors, child care, pharmacy, and information technology (IT).
“When the Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-operative merged with its West Midlands counterpart in 2005 to form The Midcounties Co-operative, there was a business imperative to integrate a number of key operational areas,” said Sheridan Hindle, service delivery manager, Co-operative IT, The Midcounties Co-operative (UK). “The Oxford-based society already had an investment in Avaya IP Office, which made it the logical choice from which to develop a unified, IP-based communication system. With Avaya IP Office 4.0 software, the new organization has been able to enhance the services provided to customers with the ability for calls to hunt across sites and the implementation of a ’virtual switchboard’ operating between the two main offices, along with the ability to offer staff multi site hot-desking facilities. The Oxford and Walsall offices now operate with a fully integrated phone system, with additional Avaya hubs at a number of Motorworld and Co-operative Travel locations.”
The list price for the IP Office 500 with the Standard Edition software begins at US$700. A range of cards supporting handsets and trunk lines start at US$250. An upgrade to the Professional Edition software is priced at US$1,000.
Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than one million businesses worldwide, including over 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet protocol telephony systems and communications software applications and services.
Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business applications - and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services - Avaya helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior business results. For more information visit the Avaya Web site: http://www.avaya.com.
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