Avaya Solutions Integrate with IBM Lotus Suite

Users of IBM Lotus can now communicate more efficiently with Avaya Unified Communications capabilities from within their Lotus software, Avaya announced today.

This new integration between Avaya and IBM Lotus Sametime software is aimed at streamlining and enhancing the user experience in an effort to increase productivity and help companies reduce costs and management requirements.

And while this integration is new, it is certainly not the first time that IBM and Avaya have collaborated, according to Allan Mendelsohn, senior manager of unified communications at Avaya.

“We’ve been working with IBM for many years from a couple of different perspectives,” Mendelsohn says. “We also partner from the perspective [that] IBM has a significant services organization and sales organization focused on delivering UC solutions…So IBM ends up being a key systems integration channel for Avaya as well.”

Leveraging the new integration, users can access and manage Avaya Unified Communications calling and conferencing capabilities directly from their Lotus desktop. As such, Lotus users can determine if contacts are available for phone conversations and then click on a contact’s name to (1) make a call, (2) elevate an IM to a phone call, or (3) add the contact to an ongoing conference.

“The key focus is to address the needs of mobile workers, of office workers and to integrate communications and collaboration into what people are doing as they’re doing it,” says Mendelsohn. “The idea is that you start being able to have multimodal communications where you can seamlessly shift from one mode of communication to another to enhance and accelerate how communication takes place.”

According to Mendelsohn, that process is supported by the idea of presence—determining an individual’s availability in multiple communications channels—and using that information to facilitate communications with the right person, at the right time, via the right mode of communication.

Additionally, the integration with Avaya Meeting Exchange provides users of Lotus Sametime Web conferencing with added management capabilities. Through the use of a single unified interface for audio and Web conferencing, users can (1) determine who has joined a conference call and who is speaking, (2) mute noisy lines, and (3) disconnect participants.

With the new integration, Lotus Notes also boasts a host of new capabilities. Users can manage voice messages, email, calendars, and tasks by utilizing Avaya Modular Messaging. They can also access email over mobile devices and reply via attached voice messages. Additionally, users can review and schedule meetings and request the system read emails via voice commands.

Mendelsohn says that while the integration will boost individual user productivity and provide users with increased convenience, the real benefits will be seen on a larger scale.

“The real power is not the productivity measured in time or seconds…but the impact it has on the business overall and more so from the perspective of timing,” he says. “That has an impact in terms of being able to serve customers better, to take the latency out of business processes. Because of these types of unified communications solutions that IBM and Avaya working together can deliver, we can reduce a lot of the latency within those business processes.”

In related news, RADVISION, a provider of video network infrastructure and developer tools for unified visual communications over IP, 3G, and emerging next-generation IMS networks, enhanced its SCOPIA conferencing platform bringing high-definition (HD) desktop video conferencing to IBM Lotus Sametime instant messaging and Web conferencing, further extending its support of IBM’s unified communications and collaboration platform.

SCOPIA Desktop is designed to meet the demands of high performance video conferencing with a standard PC, Webcam and Internet connection, making it a highly effective communications tool. The video subsystem is designed to deliver high-definition H.264 image quality with low latency while being efficient on processor and network bandwidth. Its advanced audio system provides echo cancellation and background noise suppression and is highly resilient to network errors common on the Internet. The SCOPIA solution also includes capabilities to simplify use and deployment in an IBM environment. IBM Lotus Notes support provides integration with the Notes calendaring function for simple conference scheduling. Additionally, Domino directory integration simplifies access and provisioning where users can be authenticated directly against existing enterprise credentials.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider Skype today announced it will integrate Skype functionality with LotusLive, IBM’s new cloud services. 

This planned integration, which was previewed at IBM Lotusphere 2009 in Orlando, Fla., will join LotusLive collaborative services with Skype Internet communications to create a seamless communications experience for mutual customers. Employees of companies using LotusLive will be able to use Skype to initiate voice and video calls simply by clicking on their contacts’ Skype names or phone numbers within LotusLive. Future possibilities include the ability to import Skype contact information into IBM cloud services to enhance online collaboration.

Interactive Intelligence, a global provider of unified IP business communications solutions, is also working with IBM to bring the contact center and IP telephony capabilities of its Customer Interaction Center (CIC) software suite with the unified communications and collaboration functionality of the IBM Lotus Sametime software.

The integration will include presence synchronization, company-wide directory, desktop client enhancements, and mobility features, all designed to improve communications capabilities between contact center agents and business users.

Benefits include the following:

  • Access to a single company-wide directory for both CIC and Lotus Sametime users to eliminate duplicate entries and directory management resulting in more efficient communications and reduced administrative overhead.
  • Presence information is synchronized between the CIC and Lotus Sametime software, thus enabling users to view the status of others in both the contact center and enterprise for increased productivity and improved customer service.
  • Users are able to define how their status will be synchronized and displayed for increased flexibility and ease-of-use.
  • Contact center agents can enjoy the rich functionality of CIC’s Interaction Client® .NET Edition, plus capabilities such as being able to initiate Lotus Sametime instant messaging sessions and voice chats with employees throughout the enterprise for more effective communications.

CIC functionality includes SIP-based switching; multi-channel routing and queuing; outbound and blended dialing; presence management; multi-channel quality monitoring; workforce management; interactive voice response; unified messaging; Web self-service; business process automation, e-mail response and knowledge management.

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