Avaya Equinox gets online UC and team collaboration for SMBs

Avaya has refreshed Avaya Equinox with online team collaboration and has integrated the software into IP Office. The changes are part of Avaya's strategy to attract more SMBs.

Avaya has added the unified communications client Avaya Equinox to IP Office, the company's telephony system for small and midsize businesses. The vendor also refreshed the user interface of Equinox to incorporate cloud-based team collaboration applications from Zang, marking Avaya's first significant campaign to increase adoption of products from its internal offshoot.

Zang's online applications are a crucial piece of Avaya's strategy to attract more SMBs as it tries to regain profitability following its bankruptcy last year. At the same time, Avaya is nudging its 26 million IP Office users to the cloud by shipping online-only versions of Equinox's team collaboration and online meeting features.

"We're being quite explicit in the midmarket about UC for our customers," said Scott Hanwell, a senior manager of product marketing at Avaya. "Whether they are in the cloud today or whether they are on prem, the UC portion of their solution will come from the cloud."

Avaya is positioning Avaya Equinox to succeed Avaya Communicator and Avaya one-X Mobile as its primary UC and mobility client for businesses of all sizes. The vendor added Equinox to its product line for large enterprises, Avaya Aura, last year.

With the 11.0 release of Avaya IP Office this week, the vendor added support for its Vantage and J-Series desktop phones. It also added a new analytics and reporting tool for businesses, Avaya Chronicle, and a new cloud management system for channel partners, Cloud Operations Manager. 

"Overall, the recent enhancements make Avaya more competitive in the SMB and midmarket space in general, and as a provider of cloud/hosted solutions for partners catering to that customer segment," said Elka Popova, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

Avaya Equinox adds team collaboration, online meetings

Avaya launched Equinox more than a year ago as a softphone client for calling and instant messaging, accessible from computer desktops and mobile devices, as well as through web browsers and third-party applications.

The vendor this week launched a new Equinox user interface that incorporates messaging and meetings from Zang Spaces, an online team collaboration service that Avaya and Zang developed to compete against platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex Teams.

The integration will let users access Spaces from Equinox with one click. The Equinox calendar will display upcoming events scheduled in Spaces, for example, but users will still have to toggle to the Spaces web browser to make full use of the platform.  

When Avaya IP Office and Avaya Aura customers download the latest Equinox software, Avaya will suggest they test out the freemium version of Zang Spaces. The vendor is in the process of developing a way to make it easier for channel partners selling Avaya telephony to provision Spaces accounts on behalf of their customers, Hanwell said.

Avaya has also better integrated the softphone client with Equinox Meetings Online, a cloud-based web conferencing platform. Users will now be able to start ad hoc online meetings from Equinox.

The new features should help Avaya compete with platforms such as Microsoft Teams and RingCentral Glip, which also bring together UC and team collaboration, Popova said. "By adding Spaces to Equinox/IP Office, Avaya boosted its value proposition and competitive edge," she said.

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