Avaya's New Mobile Collaboration Solution, IP Office 8.0, Targets SMBs
Nowadays, it’s becoming more and more common for business professionals to tote around two mobile devices in their pockets, and for good reason. With so much emphasis on productivity and collaboration, sometimes mobile communications for both business and socializing have to occur on the same device – and no one wants to mix business with pleasure.
It’s no surprise then that more than half of medium-sized firms across the globe are now providing smartphone devices to employees. Even more, SMBs are increasingly putting emphasis on adding unified communications technologies to mobile communications, with more than 55 percent of mid-size firms and upwards of 30 percent of small companies intending to buy UC components in the next year.
In the same regard, Avaya – a company renowned for its business communications and collaboration systems and services – has launched its Avaya IP Office 8.0, an updated version of its UC solution for consumer-oriented devices used by SMEs. IP Office 8.0 is designed to enhance collaboration and includes a variety of mobile capabilities for catalyzing team performance and keeping remote workers always connected to colleagues and customers anytime, anywhere.
Perhaps the most significant advancement, an intuitive mobility application – called one-X Mobile Preferred for IP Office – offers users access to a comprehensive lineup of UC capabilities. one-X Mobile Preferred is now available on Android-compatible devices, and will arrive on the iPhone early this year.
The application’s key UC features encompass all areas of collaboration, from conferencing to voice capabilities. A complete multi-party conference management feature enables mobile device users to invite, view, mute and drop participants during a conference call. Additionally, setting up conferences is a simplified experience, as users can just select participants and with one touch, initiate a group chat.
Other features include integrated presence so users can see the availability of co-workers; instant messaging so users can text chat with multiple co-workers all at once; and visual voicemail. Also, a “Geopresence” capability is ideal for business environments in which employees need to quickly find a co-workers physical location, displays one’s location, no matter where they are in the world.
The all-new one-X Mobile Preferred for IP Office application is based on the previously-available Essential Mobility Solution for IP Office, a solution solely focused on voice capabilities. Essential Mobility is currently available on Symbian, Windows Mobile and iPhone devices, with support for Android and BlackBerry devices to hit the market in 1Q 2012.
On top of the one-X Mobile Preferred for IP Office application, Avaya IP Office 8.0 also includes innovative “server-less” collaboration features. Available through an integrated UC module, aptly dubbed the Avaya C110 Unified Communications module, it simplifies deployment for partners, reduces installation periods and limits equipment costs – all without the necessity for an external server.
New desktop IP Office plug-ins also insert communications into widely-used business productivity applications so workers can more conveniently communicate via their desired application. For example, users can transfer Google Talk and IP Office contacts into the Avaya one-X Portal for IP Office, make and receive phone calls from a Salesforce.com site, or use visual voicemail within an employee’s Microsoft Outlook e-mail browser.
So far, Avaya’s IP Office 8.0 is garnering positive kudos among industry insiders.
"Many general business and IT investment priorities cited by small and medium-sized businesses are associated with improving productivity by leveraging mobile communications and collaboration capabilities,” remarked Justin Jaffe, research manager for SMB and Home Office Markets for IDC Research. “Solutions like Avaya IP Office that are comprehensive, easy to integrate with existing infrastructure, and designed specifically for mobile SMB workers will be particularly attractive."
For companies that have been able to take IP Office 8.0 for a test-drive, the result has been nothing short of improved collaboration.
“In our business running a large convention center, you have to be two steps ahead of what is happening to meet client needs,” said Jeff Stark, technology director for Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, a mid-size organization including 500 full- and part-time employees. “One day we are serving a rock concert, the next a hockey game, so we need the best communications to meet all kinds of customer expectations. The mobility advancements in Avaya IP Office 8.0 are the most comprehensive we’ve seen, and will be essential in helping us run a location as large as the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, where you never know where anyone is.
“We’ll now have the ability to see who’s available, where they are, and keep them connected into the team. Fast collaboration is essential for the 150-plus people we have dedicated to running a day’s event at DECC, and we couldn’t do it this effectively without Avaya IP Office,” Stark added.
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Tammy Wolf is a unified communications web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jamie Epstein