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Avaya has announced the launch of the new version of Avaya IP Office, the company’s flagship communications solution for small and medium-sized enterprises. The new version — Avaya IP Office Release 5 — simplifies unified communications and customer service for SMEs, while delivering a range of new capabilities improving the scalability, resiliency and productivity of organizations.

"Small and medium-sized businesses require solutions that are easy to understand and use," said Deepinder Sahni, senior vice president, AMI-Partners, an analyst firm specializing in the small and medium business sector. "With IP Office Release 5, Avaya has effectively incorporated simplicity into the way communications is architected, delivered and communicated. The new role-based solutions improve how business partners meet customer needs, while enhanced capabilities like expanded conferencing are especially compelling."

Avaya IP Office is now being offered in six role-based solutions — tailored to roles such as "tele-worker," "mobile worker," and "customer service agent" — each designed to meet specific worker needs. The idea is that small businesses no longer have to pick from a multitude of application options, which removes the complexity of choosing the right communications solution.

Avaya has also streamlined IP Office by consolidating multiple hardware options down to a single, higher-capacity hardware platform. It now supports 384 users per system, up from 272, extending the scalability and usefulness of an IP Office system as a business grows. Conferencing capacity has been doubled from one to two 64-party bridges.

A new system of business continuity has also been introduced in this release for SMEs with multiple sites. A business site can use servers at alternate sites to keep an IP communications network, including phones and voicemail, operating in the event of an outage. If an outage occurs at a site, the system automatically re-registers to another IP Office site. This eliminates the need to have a second system at a site solely for continuity purposes, reducing hardware and labor costs.

Avaya IP Office also delivers new productivity-enhancing applications for unified communications and customer service — now accessible via Web browser using a thin client model. Using the Web eases user access to essential communications tools, while providing administrators a simplified way to deploy and manage communications. New Web-based applications include one-X Portal for Avaya IP Office, a communications portal designed for PCs providing workers a better way to manage phone communications using real-time call control, presence and call logs.

Avaya IP Office Release 5 also introduces a powerful new contact center reporting application — also accessible via Web — that is easier to install, update and use. Customer Call Reporter can track customer service progress and agent productivity, while using alarms to help administrators react to issues in real-time. With Customer Call Reporter, agents can see how they are performing against workgroup averages, while supervisors can track factors such as the number of agents logged on, as well as calls arriving, waiting or lost.

"By strengthening and expanding the range of communications capabilities available to small businesses today, Avaya is giving these companies the tools necessary to compete in today’s challenging business environment," said Anthony Bartolo, vice president and general manager, Small and Medium Enterprise Communications, Avaya, in a statement. "Today’s IP Office enhancements represent our commitment to simplify offers, and help businesses get the most out of user-friendly unified communications and customer service applications."

With the introduction of Avaya IP Office Release 5 software, available now, the Avaya IP Office 500 server becomes the company’s single server offering for the SME market. The Release 5 software can also be used on existing IP 406v2 and IP412 IP Office servers.

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