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Avaya Plugs SMB Apps Into UC Platform

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Avaya has announced several new partner-developed applications for IP Office, its unified communications (UC) platform for the small and midsize business (SMB) market.

The latest apps -- built and delivered by outside partners via Avaya's DevConnect program -- cover a diverse set of functions and vertical areas such as UC and collaboration; session initiation protocol, or SIP trunking; customer service; interactive voice response (IVR) and automated calling; and hospitality management. Among other reasons behind the program, Avaya sees third-party app development as key to product distinction in the increasingly competitive UC space.

"The IP Office system affords [SMBs] the ability to easily connect to lots of valued applications that, in lots of cases, actually customize or verticalize the solution that we deliver," said Joe Scotto, director of Avaya's small and medium enterprise marketing, in an interview. "From that perspective, absolutely, I think it helps to differentiate us."

Avaya uses a slightly different acronym for the SMB segment -- SME -- but its definition is generally consistent: Its communications platforms scale for companies with between five and 1,000 employees. Firms with between five and 250 people comprise the target market for IP Office, Scotto said.

DevConnect provides access to APIs, tools, and tech support for third-party developers building apps around Avaya's UC platform. The company has approved around 1,400 Avaya-compliant apps since the program's inception in 2002 -- roughly 300 of those were built specifically for SMBs. DevConnect adds between 30 and 40 new apps each month, according to the company. Pricing is at the developer's discretion.

"These are their applications," said DevConnect program manager Joe Marzulla in an interview. He added that Avaya sometimes does cross-promotions with partners, but even then the price tag is up to the developer. "We provide them the tools and equip them to go to market, and they market their solutions."

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