Avaya and Skype have announced a strategic agreement to deliver communications and collaboration solutions to businesses of all sizes. The multi-phase deal includes both go-to-market and a joint technology integration.

In the first phase of the agreement, Avaya customers in the U.S. market will have access to Skype Connect, a product which adds Skype calling to IP-based enterprise communications systems, providing a SIP communications channel between Avaya communications systems and Skype.

According to Avaya, Customers with Avaya Aura Session Manager or Avaya Aura SIP Enablement Server, CS1000, Avaya IP Office, or BCM systems can use Skype Connect to place calls globally “for increased reach, while aiming to save on international calling.” Enterprise-level security and features such as tracking, recording, regulatory compliance, and more are provided by the Avaya system.

Skype reported 124 million average monthly connected users during the second quarter of 2010. Now, Skype users can make inbound calls to Avaya customers in the U.S. market for free or at a low cost. Calls will be treated with Avaya’s routing, conferencing, messaging, mobility and contact center capabilities, as well as other collaboration services.

For example, businesses can:
• Establish Skype Click & Call buttons for inbound calling from Web sites
• Establish Skype Online Numbers for inbound calling from landline and mobile phones
• Route inbound calls from a Skype user to an enterprise extension.

In the second half of 2011, Avaya and Skype plan to deliver integrated unified communications and collaboration solutions for enterprises within the U.S. The integration is intended to establish federation between Avaya Aura and Skype communications platforms and both user communities, so that an Avaya end-user and Skype user can engage and interact via presence, instant messaging, voice and video.

According to the companies, a business, for example, could use Skype to access an Avaya-based contact center “in a simple and highly integrated way to quickly and efficiently resolve customer service issues.” The integrated solutions will also allow enterprise IT managers to manage and control the inter-connectivity between end users to meet their corporate IT policies.

"Our relationship with Avaya is expected to expand the footprint for Skype Connect into more enterprises in the U.S. market, while allowing us to help Avaya’s customers benefit from Skype’s cost savings and access to Skype’s global user base," said David Gurlé, vice president and general manager of Skype for Business.

"We believe our integrated solution in the second half of 2011 is expected to offer the benefits of Skype to a growing number of businesses and open up new ways for people to communicate and collaborate," he added.

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MZA: Avaya Continues to Lead PBX Market
Skype Connect 1.0 Officially Launched
Avaya Introduces New Products at Interop 2010

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