Avaya Calls On Skype

Skype isn’t just for consumer VoIP calls anymore. Enterprise unified communications vendor Avaya and Skype today announced a new partnership that will bring Skype support to Avaya equipment.

The new Skype Avaya partnership could serve to bring Skype’s technology deeper into the enterprise while giving Avaya even more methods of communications for its new Flare platform.

“In the first phase we will deliver integration and interoperability with Skype Connect for voice services,” Avaya Senior Vice President Alan Baratz said on a conference call with reporters. “In this phase we’ll be directly connecting via SIP between the Skype application infrastructure and the Avaya enterprise systems.”

The second phase of the Skype integration will occur in the second half of 2011. Baratz explained that at that point, Avaya will be supporting all of Skype’s services including voice, video, instant messaging and presence in a fully integrated fashion.

“So when you when you go to establish a video conference from within the Avaya environment, the end point on the other side could be a Skype client,” Baratz said. “The fact that it’s a Skype client is transparent to the user. It’s just fully integrated.”

The new Skype integration with Avaya will work across a wide array of Avaya systems and not just their newer Aura SIP based platform. Baratz noted that the Skype integration will also work with the Avaya SIP enablement system which supports their legacy platforms.

“The intent is not to use this as a vehicle to drive Aura upgrades,” Baratz said. “The intent is to bring to customers something that they have been telling us they want and need — that is the ability to leverage the Skype application infrastructure as a first tier communication vehicle within their environment.”

From a business perspective, both Avaya and Skype declined to comment about the financial and potential revenue implications of the new partnership.

Baratz noted that from the Avaya perspective, the Skype integration is being made available to customers at no additional charge. Users will, however, have to buy Skype Connect minutes and services from Skype. Baratz added that what Avaya is doing is providing enterprise level control and management around Skype so that Avaya customers can manage Skype as a fully supported enterprise communications platform.

Avaya will not actually be improving the Skype network itself and its associated quality of service and reliability. That’s an area where Skype is working to continuously improve their service.

“We constantly improve our algorithms so that we can tackle jitter and packet loss,” David Gurle, general manager and vice president, Skype Enterprise said during the press conference. “The Internet gets better every day, the bandwidth increases, the access networks get better and that’s the reason why we are so successful in the consumer environment.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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