Avaya updates unified messaging server

Avaya last week week announced a new unified messaging server that integrates support for wireless clients and voice recognition into the company's integrated voice mail/e-mail and conferencing server.

The Avaya Unified Communication Center product could help businesses integrate voice mail, e-mail, fax messaging, as well as collaboration tools and personal information management systems into a single interface for end users, while helping IS staff to consolidate the management of different messaging servers on the back end.

The Unified Communication Center, an upgrade to the company's Unified Messenger product, offers end users five component applications for managing messages and other data:

-- Message Management, an interface that puts e-mail, voice mail and fax messages into one view.

-- Calling and Conferencing Management, a tool for establishing multimedia conferences, including calling, voice conferencing, data sharing, videoconferencing and Web casting.

-- Contact and Information Management, which provides integrated access to directories and databases, including calendars and corporate information stores.

-- Personal Efficiency Management, a component that manages how users can be reached, such as find me/follow me features and remote extension establishment over an IP connection.

-- Speech Access, software that allows end users to access voice mail and e-mail messages, calendar information and set up conference calls with voice commands over any landline or wireless phone connection.

The new browser-based client software also extends unified messaging access to handheld PCs, PDAs and cell phones, as well as with PC clients.

On the server side, the Unified Communication Center runs on a Microsoft Windows 2000 server and can integrate with Microsoft Exchange 2000 or 5.5 e-mail servers as well as Avaya voice mail servers, including Audix, Octel 200/300 and Octel 250/350.

Unified Communications Center also works with Avaya Enterprise Class IP Solutions (ECLIPS) IP PBX systems. Avaya plans to add support for other e-mail server platforms, such as Lotus Notes, in later software releases.

The Unified Communication Center will compete with large-scale (1,000-seat-plus) unified messaging systems from vendors such as Cisco Systems Inc., Mitel Networks Corp., Nortel Networks Corp., NEC Corp. and Siemens AG. The software will be available in April for $400 to $600 per end user.

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