Unified Communication in a Competitive Industry
With the increasing competition in the mobile collaboration market from providers such as Skype and the up-coming launch of Windows new combined productivity driven UC package, on 17th July 2012, champion of the SME (small and medium sized enterprises) market and leading business telephone providers, Avaya, announced the presentation of their IP Office 8.1 solution to an eager industry.
The introduction of the unified communications system brings with it a raft of SME specific applications which, until now, have been beyond the financial and technological reach of most small and mid-sized companies. Allowing enhanced mobility and centralized integrated management, the IP Office 8.1 has been designed to release the business and communications potential for this beleaguered sector which is suffering, more than most, from the continuing economic downturn.
Enhanced Mobile Communication
Previously available only in communications systems designed for larger businesses and organisations, the opportunities offered by BYOD (bring your own device) capabilities are now accessible to the SME market with the introduction of the Avaya Flare Communicator. A survey conducted on behalf of Avaya in April 2012 by Forrester Research found that 56% of employees who used a tablet device in the office were bringing their own to work and that 66% were doing the same with their personal Smartphones. The new Flare Communicator now integrates with Windows based laptops and Apple i-Pad tablets allowing enhanced access to business class calls and directory services, in addition to offering the capability to manage two calls simultaneously. The i-Pad application will let the user ‘drop and drag’ a highlighted contact from their directory, initiating a voice call, email or instant message all at a tap of the screen. Users have the same capability on their laptop with the Flare Communicator Windows application.
Business Systems Manager of Techna Glass, a growing windscreen installation business, Rick Maciel, explains that the company demands the highest levels of customer service and affectivity from its integrated communications solutions and has found that, since adopting the Avaya Office 8.1, with its platform of innovative features, operations staff have benefited from improved connectivity and management of their services, being immediately in contact with their clients, branch staff, and head office. The knock-on effects to increased productivity and improved customer service have all helped to make a difference to the all important ‘bottom-line’, putting a smile on the face of clients and the company accountant alike!
Gain Peace of Mind from Enhanced Security
Also in the pipeline from Avaya, and designed to be compatible with the Office 8.1 IP UC solution, is the Session Border Controller. This new application will bring enhanced security within the financial reach of all small businesses offering all mobile workers the opportunity for the encryption of media and signalling connection without the use of a specialized VPN (virtual private network) designed as an SIP firewall. In addition, the enhancement feature will provide the secure delivery of upgrades, patches, web based services and IP office support with the Office 8.1 integrated SSL (secure sockets layer) VPN capability; all available for a pre-pay package over 1, 3, or 5 years.
Another great benefit for the small business owner from the adoption of the IP Office 8.1 system is the ability to protect the company against the growing problem of toll fraud. Also referred to as ‘theft of service’, toll fraud involves a breach of PBX security whereby an individual or organisation can gain access to the PBX resources of the users system, including long distance calling. These breaches can have serious financial implications for any size of business but can impact particularly negatively on an SME. The Session Border Controller will also provide integrated protection against DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack ensuring secure prevention.
Onward and Upward: From Small Business to Mid-Size!
Possibly one of the biggest advantages offered by the Avaya IP Office 8.1 system is the excellent potential for enhanced scalability. The clever ‘techies’ at Avaya have increased the user capability to service any number of employees from 5 to a staggering 1,000 in one single location! This is great news for the small business owner who has managed to survive the vagaries of the recession and is progressing his company towards a mid-size model. The capabilities are already in place to increase the workforce without the need to invest in any more expensive hardware.
The Avaya IP Office 8.1, already on the market in the US, is eagerly awaited in the UK and, in preparation, Avaya have a 1 day training course available in collaboration with Westcon Convergence at their company HQ in Guildford, Surrey. The programme for the presentation, to be held on 19th September 2012 (from 9.30am – 4pm) will include all of the necessary information needed to understand and sell the new system to the UK’s SME marketplace and will include; core components and features, IP Office Endpoints, system configuration and pricing, and VOIP and Networking options.
Guest Post by:
Oliver Ortiz works for Expert Market, a division of MVF Global. Expert Market is a B2B UK based provider of a wide variety of business related equipment. Follow us on Twitter and connect with us on Facebook.