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Avaya banks on recession to push cheap comms kit

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Avaya has launched a bargain basement version of its unified communications offering which is aimed to appeal to customers worried about the economic downturn.

The telephony vendor has repackaged its existing unified communications products, saying they're now available for $0.15 per user per day.

It proudly trumpets the fact it's now cheaper than Cisco for unified communications. Cisco says its products work out at 32 cents a day.

Avaya's figures are based on taking out a three-year contract for a significant volume of users.

"In the US there is a downturn, and there is a certain amount of caution," said Jirina Yates, director of solutions marketing for Avaya. "Customers are not shying away from spending on technology, but they are being very prudent and they want to see results now.

"We are not just lowering the prices, we are repackaging the solution so we can afford to [offer those prices]," she said.

Avaya's unified communications offering includes IP telephony equipment, presence features, messaging and integration of mobile devices.

All the telephony vendors have largely similar unified communications offerings, while Microsoft has also entered the market with its Office Communications Server.

Avaya believes it has the edge on Microsoft because it has integrated its software with most of the major manufacturers' equipment, including IBM, whereas Microsoft is more restrictive.

That enables it to draw presence information from a wider range of sources, Yates said.

"Microsoft is on its first version of real-time communications. We are not. Microsoft's capabilities are not yet comparable."

Avaya's presence system is now capable of showing whether users are at their desk, whether they're on the phone, which device they are using, which office they are in, and whether they are in a meeting.

That depends on individuals turning up to their meeting on time, of course. ®

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