Avaya has launched a cloud
-based, integrated suite of unified communications for small businesses. Called AvayaLive Connect and first announced in March, it provides voice, conferencing, messaging, mobility, presence and video through the Internet.
At a cost of $19 per user per month, the service is designed to provide unified communications for small organizations, without capital investment or IT maintenance requirements. The service is ordered and accessed, and the client app downloaded, over the Web.
Four Platforms Supported
AvayaLive Connect supports bring-your-own-device (BYOD) environments, mobile employees working remotely, and four computer and mobile platforms -- PC, Mac, iOS, and Android. Full-featured desktop phones are optionally also available from Avaya, and customers can test out the service through a free, 30-day trial. There is no contract, and the service can be terminated at any time.
Through the service, each signed-up user gets an external phone and is directly accessible to callers. There is unlimited long-distance calling in the continental U.S. and Canada, and two to six users can participate in multi-party video calls via PC or Mac Softphone.
Voicemail, offered with a visual management interface, comes with a mobile phone app and e-mail notification. Each user gets a personal conference bridge, which is controllable via visual controls on the mobile phone app or the PC/Mac Softphone, and voicemail storage up to 60 minutes per user.
A line designated as a main business phone number has automated answering functions, including dial by name or extension. The company said that additional hunt and queue functionality, such as rolling over a call to another line when the called line is busy, will be introduced in the near future. Each business can have up to 40 users signed up for the monthly service.
We asked Avaya spokeswoman Deborah Kline how this service compared with what's currently available in the market for small businesses.
She said that "other, more expensive and complicated solutions exist in the market, but none offer what we do at the price point we are at."
There's Skype, of course, which owner Microsoft is growing into its own unified communications service for consumers and businesses. Kline said Skype "has a more complex pricing and usage model" than AvayaLive Connect, and added that, since features on Skype are a la carte, it is "harder to predict how much your monthly cost will be."
By contrast, she said, AvayaLive Connect offers "all the rich features" one would expect to run a business, "with one low monthly price and no long-term commitment."
AvayaLive Connect is provided within the company's Collaborative Cloud, a framework for providing communications and collaboration to businesses through public, private, and hybrid clouds. Announced in March, the Cloud's first services include AvayaLive Connect and an immersive collaboration environment with personalized avatars in a 3D environment, called AvayaLive Engage.