The Canadian entry in the unified communications suite battle has upgraded its flagship product with features to make it easier for users to collaborate.

Ottawa’s Mitel Networks Corp. said Tuesday that version 4.0 of its Mitel Applications Suite (MAS) has improved mobility tools and better scalability.

But according to Wendy Moore-Bayley, director of solutions marketing, the biggest new feature is the suite’s ability to create a Web-based collaboration portal to make it easier for people to work together.

 “Anybody who needs to participate in an audio collaboration session, as long as they’ve got a browser they click on a link, and boom they’re into participating,” she said.

Earlier versions of MAS required uses to download a client for collaboration. However, Moore-Bayley said, sometimes that ended up fouling communications.

The only person who needs Mitel’s Unified Communications Advanced client is the meeting host. Through that client the host can set up a team meeting through the portal (internally by adding members through the corporate directory and reserving a time). MAS 4.0 automatically sets up the session and sends emails invitations to participants.

Ad hoc collaboration is also easy, Moore-Bayley said.

As part of the upgrade MAS’ audio and Web conferencing module, called Collaboration Advanced, has been rebuilt with a new interface.

For mobile users who have the UCA client on BlackBerry, iOS and Android devices, MAS adds secure instant messaging and real-time presence updates.

One advantage, Moore-Bayley said, is if a person is on a call it will be indicated by presence to others. A caller then has the option of sending an instant message instead of only leaving a voicemail.

MAS’ existing mobile Web portal, for those who don’t or can’t have a UCA client, has also been improved for stronger performance, including secure IM and presence.

Finally, a single instance of MAS on a server can now scale up to 1,500 users who have access to the full suite of functions.

It can handle more if fewer users are entitled to premium functions, which is typical. For example, deskbound staffers wouldn’t need the mobility capabilities.

Customers can buy MAS with a mix of any of three modules: Basic, which includes phone access and voice messaging; Standard, which includes advanced unified messaging; and Premium, which has all of the suite’s functions.

MAS is still largely an audio UC suite. The UCA client only supports person-to-person video conferencing.

MAS can be deployed on a Windows server or a VMware environment. It integrates with Microsoft Exchange and Office Communicator, Lotus Notes and Sametime and a number of CRM suites.