Avaya beefs up modular messaging software

Avaya Inc.’s recently released Modular Messaging 2.0, allows users to access their voice mail through Outlook or Lotus Notes.

One analyst said that while converged messaging systems can boost productivity, manufacturers, such as Avaya, are still struggling to prove the technology’s benefits and overcome user reluctance.

“I think there may be a perception by end users that it may be more complicated [to use] but it is actually very easy. On a personal perspective, [I found] it wonderful to be able to [respond to voice messages and e-mails] from one place,” said Roberta Fox, senior partner with FOX GROUP in Markham, Ont. She added that one step to prove modular messaging’s return on investment (ROI) is to find a way to quantify the cost and time required to use multiple platforms and compare that to modular messaging.

Fox said by adding Outlook and Notes capability only strengthens Avaya’s place in voice messaging. She also noted that modular messaging is no longer just for traditional telecom and voice manufacturers, but data-cetric Avaya competitors like Cisco and 3Com as well.

According to Tracy Fleming, IP telephony practice leader, Avaya Canada, another improvement over the previous Modular Messaging version is that 2.0 allows for multiple telephone user interfaces in the same system, Fleming described modular messaging as the coming together of three traditional voice mail platforms — phone, fax and e-mail — that will be IP-based, which is a far cry from the proprietary days of a traditional telephone system. As well, he said it is an evolution of Avaya’s Octel platform, an Avaya switch that is the largest voice messaging interface platform that most Canadian phones have.

The new system is a combination of Microsoft Windows and Linux servers that uses various technologies, such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), and can be added to a traditional PBX or a IP-PBX system. Modular Messaging 2.0 allows users to access their messages whether it be voice, e-mail, or fax via a IP hard phone or soft phone to better manage their communication infrastructure.

“I can instruct the system to read my mail back to me but I can also instruct the system to make outgoing phone calls. I can instruct the system to check my calendar [all on one phone call]. We have some customers that have done away with phones on the desk that has the message waiting light,” Fleming said. Another feature of 2.0 is what Fleming called “reach me, find me,” that gives a caller the option to locate an individual who is away from their desk or leave a message.

He added the benefits of moving to modular messaging is more than just increased productivity but also consolidation of a company’s communication systems from multiple phone systems into one.

“IP telephony in general is driving [that] ability,” Fleming said. Consolidation also allows for ease of access and he cited a company’s president would be able to leave a message for all of his employees by recording his message once which then gets broadcast to everyone in the corporation regardless if they are in 20 different offices or located in the same campus.

Fox has tested Avaya’s Modular Messaging 2.0 in her product lab and found that it saved about 5 per cent or 100 hours a year in a consultant’s life.

“It does not sound like much but that is a big amount of time. I would encourage enterprises to at least try it so they can see what the benefits can be for their organizations, because it really does have real productivity benefits,” she said.

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