IBM, Avaya Announce New Collaboration Solutions
Integration of telephony capabilities from Avaya with IBM's enterprise collaboration products hopes to achieve 'click-to-call' capabilities in e-mail and instant messaging products and integrated audio capabilities in Web conferences.
By DAVID SIMS
TMCnet CRM Alert Columnist
IBM and Avaya are announcing an agreement to integrate Avaya audio based communication within IBM's enterprise e-mail, Web conferencing and instant messaging offerings, company sources said today.
The integration of telephony capabilities from Avaya with IBM's enterprise collaboration products hopes to achieve "click-to-call" capabilities in e-mail and instant messaging products and integrated audio capabilities in Web conferences.
"Users will be able to start a telephone call with someone directly from the Lotus Connect Client or from within Lotus Notes/Domino simply by right-clicking on their name," according to IBM spokeswoman Danielle Parent.
Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Software said the goal of the new offering is to allow organizations to "transition between e-mail, instant messaging and a phone call, extending the value of their existing infrastructure while enabling faster and more efficient responses to marketplace dynamics."
"Click-to-call" functionality and Web conferencing integration is scheduled to be available with Lotus sometime in the fourth quarter of 2005 and with Lotus Notes and Domino in the first quarter of 2006. Integration with IBM Workplace Collaboration Services is expected in the future.
These new capabilities will be marketed as ways for organizations -- "of any size," Avaya officials say -- to "save time and increase efficiency and productivity by immediately and seamlessly extending the collaborative experience to include audio within the context of the work being done."
The collaborative effort is panning for some serious gold. Ovum predicts that IP Centrex and hosted VoIP revenues, including service and call charges, will amount to around $6.6 billion worldwide by 2008, up from $255 million in 2004. IBM itself estimates that the $8 billion integrated collaboration environments market is expected to grow to $11 billion by 2007.
The move comes at a strategic time for Big Blue. In a keen article in the latest Business Week, Steve Hamm writes about IBM's "shakeup of its $45 billion global services business." CEO Samuel J. Palmisano wants the company to "better focus our services growth strategy and enhance our marketplace performance," according to a memo cited by Hamm, who called it Palmisano's "overarching goal" to "transform IBM from a traditional computing company into a business-services provider."
Their latest quarterly reporting found business-transformation services revenues rising 25 percent, to $900 million, and bookings zooming up by 192 percent while consulting revenues clocked in with a 9 percent jump to $3.7 billion.
The integration will introduce the capability for businesses using IBM Lotus Notes and Domino and IBM Lotus Sametime to place a telephone call to an instant messaging or e-mail contact, while remaining in their inbox or instant messaging client.
By selecting multiple names, users will be able to "click-to-conference."
IBM will also be integrating audio conferencing provided by Avaya Meeting Exchange with Lotus' Web conferencing products, giving Web conference participants a visual indication of who is speaking and the ability to dial out to new participants, mute lines and control volume, among other capabilities.
Michael C. Thurk, group vice president, Avaya Enterprise Communications Group called the collaborative effort "a significant expansion in our relationship with IBM."
The "click-to-call" and integrated audio capabilities are built on a common telephony service provider interface established by IBM. The TSPI allows telephony providers, such as Avaya, to build off of this framework, exposing communication services and capabilities to end users so business application developers can layer over these capabilities, using standard integration components and tools.
David Sims is contributing editor for TMCnet. For more articles by David Sims, please visit:
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