SIP was key to Avaya’s acquisition of Spectel


27 Jan 2005

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PARIS: Compatibility with session initiation protocol (SIP) technology – viewed as a key facet of the growing convergence of corporate networks and the deployment of internet protocol telephony – was a major factor in communications systems giant Avaya’s decision to acquire Irish audio-conferencing firm Spectel last year in a US$103m all-cash transaction, Avaya’s chief technology officer Mun-Yuen Leong told siliconrepublic.com.

In October, Avaya completed its acquisition of Dublin-based Spectel, resulting in the transfer of 210 jobs to Avaya. 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.

“Spectel’s compatability with SIP technology was a prerequisite,” Leong said in Paris yesterday at the 2005 SIP International Conference.

SIP is an internet engineering task force (IETF) standard protocol for initiating an interactive user session that involves multimedia elements such as video, voice, chat, gaming and virtual reality. SIP can establish multimedia sessions or internet telephony calls and modify or terminate them. The protocol can also invite participants to unicast or multicast sessions that do not necessarily involve the initiator. Because SIP supports name mapping and redirection services, it makes it possible for users to initiate and receive communications and services from any location, and for networks to identify the users whereever they are.

Yesterday Avaya revealed that SIP’s open architecture will play a major role in the evolution of enterprise communications by enabling easy integration with many other internet technologies and provide enough flexibility to accommodate economic migration to new applications. This combined, Leong said, will contribute to a reduction in total cost of ownership and enhanced productivity in organisations.

Leong said yesterday that Spectel’s integration into Avaya is continuing apace. “Its product will play a key part in the whole communication range of products. We acquired them for its audio conferencing product, which is attractive for enterprise and service provider markets.

“For example, one Spectel product Data Exchange is a SIP-based client that enables data sharing such as collaborative working on vital documents amidst video and audio conferences taking place across the world. This is a key part of the whole Avaya solution set and not a separate product,” Leong said.

As well as revealing an ambitious plan to roll out SIP technology across the EMEA business region through the introduction of its new Converged Communications Server 2.1, Avaya reported strong Q1 results. Revenues increased 18pc to US$1.14bn, resulting in a US$33m profit, which was offset by the acquisitions of Spectel and Tenovis. Avaya CEO Don Peterson said that operating income rose to US$88m.

Peterson said: “We continue to improve our profitability with operating income rising 70pc year over year. We completed the Tenovis acquisition, shipped our five millionth internet protocol telephony line and substantially reduced our debt. Our first quarter results position us to meet our goals for the year.”

By John Kennedy