A few short years from now we’ll all be saying, “remember the days when you used to have to download software from a disk?” And we’ll all have a good laugh …
In keeping with its mission to “accelerate the convergence of enterprise communications with Web services,” Avaya, a leading provider of IP-based communications solutions for businesses, announced today that it has joined the Google (News - Alert) Enterprise Professional program and will be integrating its solutions into the new Google Apps Premier Edition.
Google Apps Premier Edition - which was also announced today - is a suite of Web-based software programs designed for businesses of all sizes. It is based on Google Apps Standard Edition, a more basic bundle launched last August which includes Gmail webmail services, Google Calendar shared calendaring, Google Talk instant messaging and voice-over-IP
, and a Start Page feature for creating a customizable home page on a specific domain. It is Google’s hope is that this suite of hosted software – which can be downloaded from the Internet - becomes a major competitor to Microsoft (News - Alert) Office.
The Premiere Edition builds on the Standard Edition by adding features important to businesses, including 10 GBs of storage per user (roughly 100 times the storage of the average corporate mailbox, eliminating the need to frequently delete email) and APIs for business integration (including APIs for data migration, user provisioning, single sign-on and mail gateways, thus enabling businesses to further customize the service). The Premiere suite also adds new services, including SLAs for high availability of Gmail (with Google monitoring and crediting customers if service levels are not met) and 24x7 support for critical issues (including extended business hours telephone support for administrators). To get everyone hooked, Google is offering Premiere Edition subscriptions for a flat annual fee of $50.
So what will Avaya’s (News - Alert) contributions to the Google Enterprise Professional program yield? Well, more than likely you’re going to see “click to call” Voice-over-IP (and possibly Video-over-IP) and presence solutions integrated into the Google applications. Whether or not this will truly help companies “enhance productivity” and “deliver superior customer service” remains to be seen, but still, it would be pretty cool to be able to just “click” to launch a call to “Betty” in the remote office on “Brown Street” and talk to her directly on the phone – without having to pick up the phone, or launch some VoIP
client on the PC – so you can discuss that important matter with her immediately. Other possibilities, as per a company press release, include “enabling subscribers to easily share contact information, presence information and alerts; enabling a single in-box for voice mail, email, instant messages and fax messages; and enabling web calling over the Google Talk instant messaging service network” (hey wait, I just said that!). With Google Talk already in the suite, my crystal ball is a bit cloudy … but Avaya is a premiere innovator of business communications solutions, therefore it is bound to come up with some interesting features to enhance collaboration and increase productivity.
According to the press release, the companies’ collaborative efforts “will initially focus on Avaya IP Office, Avaya’s flagship IP telephony communications solution for small and mid-size businesses, with availability planned for fall 2007.” So, chances are, some of the feature sets included in that new solution will end up in the Google Apps as well.
“Google Apps Premier Edition offers a powerful set of APIs that enable us to create new solutions that can help small businesses make dramatic improvements in employee productivity and get more out of their communications investment – making both Web and communications content available over a PC, phone or mobile device,” said Geoffrey Baird, vice president and general manager, Appliances, Mobility and Small Systems Division, Avaya, in the release.
Avaya expects to deliver the first integrated solution later this year. It will be sold through its global network of resellers and distributors, thus providing customers with a single point of contact for sales, installation and support.
Avaya designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than one million businesses worldwide, including over 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500. Focused on businesses large to small, it is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet protocol telephony systems and communications software applications and services. For more information, visit www.avaya.com.
Patrick Barnard is Assignment Editor for TMCnet and a columnist covering the telecom industry. To see more of his articles, please visit Patrick Barnard’s columnist page.