This week saw a big shift in the VoIP landscape.
Enterprise VoIPplanet has been following what we started out calling ‘fixed/mobile convergence’—and have later come to call ‘mobile unified communications’—since 2006, when it began popping up as an audaciously cool, but utterly fringe technology on the outskirts of enterprise reality.
As of March 3, 2009 it became mainstream indeed, as Avaya—which commands some 20 percent of the worldwide IP PBX market—and DiVitas Networks—developer of the first viable enterprise-centric mobility solution we’re aware of—jointly announced an integration program whereby DiVitas technology will mobilize Avaya’s PBX and voicemail/messaging technologies, making them available on dual-mode handsets in the field via either cellular or Wi-Fi networks.
Specifically, using SIP Services, the DiVitas Mobile UC Server and Dual-Mode Client will integrate into an Avaya Communications Manager-based VoIP network, extending voice traffic to either wireless networking technology—Wi-Fi when in range of a WLAN, cellular when not—enforcing Communications Manager rules and policies, and supporting Avaya’s mid-call features, such as hold, park, and transfer.
The integration bids goodbye to the days of multiple phone numbers as the user’s desk-phone number becomes the single contact phone number of record.
Some time early next quarter, integration will be completed between DiVitas’s Mobile UC technology and Avaya’s Modular Messaging suite, allowing users to retrieve and visually manage voicemail from their mobile handsets, and consolidating what in the past would be multiple mailboxes into a single central repository.
Farther down the line—some time in Q4, 2009—the integration will be extended to encompass Avaya’s Intelligent Presence Server, thus mobilizing that service as well.
The two companies did a proof-of-concept deployment with rail transport giant CSX, a long-time Avaya customer. DiVitas CEO, Vivek Khuller, explained: “Given the nature of their business, they had been looking for a dual-mode solution for a long time. Their primary need was extending single number reach and availability to people when they are in areas that are not covered by cellular—in-building or in remote railway yards.”
They accomplished their objective using the DiVitas Dual-Mode client running on Nokia E71 dual-mode phones. As a secondary benefit of the deployment, the company found that it saved quite a lot of money in reduced cellular costs.
“This is a customer that adopted our joint solution, based on the three key value propositions for dual-mode: coverage, cost, and device consolidation,” Khuller summarized.
Both Khuller and Phil Klotzkin, senior product manager for unified communications at Avaya, were eager to point out that there’s more to this new relationship than technology sharing. As Khuller put it to Enterprise VoIPplanet.com, “The partnership is not just around technical integration—which ends up happening a lot of times between small companies and larger companies.” Rather, there is an extensive amount of joint “go-to-market” activity planned.
Through Avaya’s DevConnect program, which it joined in 2007, DiVitas participated in Avaya’s national sales conference last year, in addition to various regional events in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. But the crux of the marketing relationship is the overlap in the two companies’ reseller networks.
“Avaya is moving to more of an indirect model—strategically—over the last year or so,” Klotzkin told VoIPplanet, “and DiVitas has signed up a lot of Avaya resellers with their solution. So with a customer that’s buying from one of those resellers, they’re buying from one company and they can buy the DiVitas component and the Avaya component.” That one-stop shopping aspect generates a lot of market momentum for the joint solution, and bundled solution pricing will help bring down the cost.