Avaya completes Spectel acquisition, 210 jobs moved

5 Oct 2004

Communications giant Avaya has revealed that the US$103m all-cash acquisition of Irish conferencing software player Spectel has been completed. As a result, Spectel’s employee base of 210 people in Dublin and Massachusetts are now Avaya employees.

In August Avaya revealed its plans to acquire Spectel for US$103m in cash with a 60-day target for completion of the acquisition. The acquisition enables Avaya to continue to expand its capabilities in conferencing, which is a core business communications technology.

Avaya is combining its previous conferencing offers with Spectel’s on-premise and service provider conferencing solutions and marketing these offers under a new portfolio name: Avaya Meeting Exchange.

At the time, however, industry analyst Gartner warned that existing customers of Spectel could lose out if Avaya pursues proprietary software standards integration such as Lotus and Outlook over new open standards technologies adopted by some Spectel customers.

“For the deal to succeed, Avaya must integrate Spectel products with its own, plus provide interfaces to key applications. Some of the application integration will occur quickly — for example, with Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Notes — but other functions, such as presence, and Session Initiation Protocol integration with Avaya’s Communication Manager and Converged Communications Server, will not be available until 2005,” Gartner analyst Bob Hafner said.

In a statement yesterday Avaya Enterprise Communications Group vice president Michael Thurk soothed such fears, indicating that Avaya’s Meeting Exchange includes software-based solutions designed using an open standards approach. The solutions offer enterprise on-premise, managed on-premise and service provider solutions, including applications for advanced services, such as integration with other productivity software suites, sophisticated operator support functions and wireless capabilities.

Avaya will also integrate Spectel technology with its own market-leading internet protocol (IP) telephony applications suite to provide businesses with expanded converged conferencing capabilities. Converged conferencing brings together Web, video, audio and data conferencing on an IP network. Demand for advanced collaboration applications is expected to grow as adoption of IP telephony in enterprises continues to expand.

“Avaya has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with Spectel for more than four years,” said Thurk. “We have had proven success with customers in the past, and with the addition of Spectel’s talented staff of experts and leading technology assets, we believe the new combined conferencing solutions team is positioned to provide exciting and innovative applications in the future.”

By John Kennedy