Avaya working with Skype to slash call costs
 
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Avaya and Skype are teaming up to give businesses low-cost communications options that can be managed through corporate telecommunications infrastructure.

In Phase 1 of the relationship, Avaya products will support Skype Connect, which is Skype's platform to send and receive Skype calls through SIP-based corporate IP PBXs. The service can make for lower 800-number bills as well as enable click-to-call buttons on corporate Web pages.

Avaya's communications management software will manage and control Skype Connect traffic, Avaya says. So, for example, the Avaya software could place restrictions on who is allowed to receive inbound Skype Connect calls, who can make outbound Skype calls and what times of day these options would be allowed or disallowed, says Alan Baratz, senior vice president for Avaya and president of Avaya Global Communications Solutions. Avaya's routing, conferencing, messaging, mobility and contact center capabilities, as well as other collaboration services can be applied to Skype applications.

Phase 1 includes just voice capabilities, but Phase 2 will include voice, video, instant messaging and presence, Baratz says.

"Customers on an Avaya infrastructure will be fully federated with complete Skype services," he says.

Avaya customers will have the ability to manipulate these Skype features via Avaya's Flare communications software interface that sets up real-time communications via voice, video, IM and presence.

So someone trying to use the Flare interface to pull together a meeting will have knowledge of whether potential participants are available via, say, Skype instant messaging, then use the interface to send a message to that person. Phase 2 is scheduled to be available in the second half of 2011.

Avaya gear that supports Skype interoperability include Avaya Aura, Avaya CS1000, Avaya IP Office and Avaya BCM.

Skype has been working on certifying other vendors' IP communications platforms for interoperability with Skype Connect, including BroadSoft, Cisco, Grandstream, Jazinga/FREETALK, LG-Ericsson, ShoreTel, Siemens, 3CX and SIPfoundry.
Skype says the relationship with Avaya is not exclusive, but that it has no similar relationship yet with other vendors. The connection between Skype and Avaya is a natural because they share a private equity owner in Silver Lake Partners.
 

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