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PHOENIX -- Avaya is doubling down on its cloud-based video conferencing and team messaging app, Avaya Spaces. The vendor relaunched the product this week with a slew of new features and integrations.
Avaya will offer the product for no additional charge to any business that adopts its new Avaya IX Subscription licensing plan.
The subscription program lets on-premises customers pay a single monthly per-user fee for the use of Avaya's technology. Under the vendor's traditional licensing model, customers pay separate maintenance and upgrade fees annually for each product line they use.
Bundling Avaya Spaces for free with the subscription program could attract users that might have gone to more widely used apps. They include Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack and Cisco Webex.
"It's an awfully crowded market," said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. "In fact, one could argue they should have just resold Zoom."
But Avaya believes it has something unique to offer the team collaboration market. Having a product like Spaces will give Avaya customers a way to begin consuming cloud technologies for messaging and meetings while keeping their legacy telephony gear in place. That could convince customers to buy more Avaya cloud products in the future.
Spaces works with the vendor's CU360 video collaboration bar and integrates with SIP-based devices from any vendor. Avaya has also developed a set of APIs for Spaces that will let businesses integrate the product with other business apps.
Avaya initially launched Spaces as Zang Spaces in 2017. Zang Inc. was an internal offshoot that Avaya formed to incubate multitenant cloud technologies. Another outgrowth of the Zang project is a communications platform as a service now called Avaya OneCloud CPaaS.
Unified communications (UC) vendors like Avaya need to offer three core products to be competitive: telephony, messaging and video meetings. Avaya has turned Spaces into a much more competitive offering, said Dave Michels, principal analyst at TalkingPointz.
"They have been improving Spaces dramatically," Michels said.
Avaya Spaces is now available in more than 60 countries and integrates with Google, Slack, Office 365, Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Teams. The app supports browser-based video conferencing for up to 500 participants and comes with a mobile app.
Avaya is also integrating the app with its on-premises telephony products IP Office and Aura so that businesses can generate user profiles in Spaces through those products. Users will also soon be able to initiate phone calls using Spaces thanks to an integration with Avaya Equinox, the vendor's on-premises and hosted softphone client.
But having sound technology is only one part of the challenge. Avaya will also need to find a way to make its product stand out from better-known alternatives.
"I think they feel like they have to have a team app," said Irwin Lazar, analyst at Nemertes Research. "But it's going to be tough to play in an increasingly competitive environment."