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Avaya and Skype Partner for Better Business Communications

Two of the markets well known providers of business communications solutions announced a partnership today that will bring businesses of all sizes a lower cost and more efficient way to communicate and collaborate.

Officials with enterprise communications systems provider Avaya and Skype, a software-based communications platform provider for businesses and consumers, said the companies will work together on this “industry-first” multi-phase deal.

The deal, which includes go-to-market and joint technology integration, was created to help businesses cut costs while delivering better communications and collaboration capabilities for partners, suppliers, customer sand employees.

Alan Baratz, senior vice president, Avaya and president, Avaya Global Communications Solutions said that both companies have already been working along a “parallel path” with their SIP-based communications offerings.

“Now, the two companies will work together, striving to improve collaboration and customer service by federating Avaya and Skype solutions for a common user experience that delivers unique benefits for businesses and their customers who are Skype users,” Baratz said.

The first phase of their strategic agreement will provide Avaya customers in the U.S. with access to Skype’s enterprise VoIP offering, SkypeConnect.

In addition to reduced costs for international calling thanks to Skype, customers with Avaya Aura Session Manager or Avaya Aura SIP Enablement Server, CS1000, Avaya IP Office, or BCM systems will also have features like recording, tracking, compliance and security provided by Avaya.

For Skype users, the first phase of the partnership will also mean inbound calls to Avaya customers in the U.S. are free, or available for a low cost.

As a later part of their agreement, the two companies also said they plan to offer an integrated UC and collaboration solution for U.S. users that will make it possible for users of either platform to interact via IM, VoIP, video conferencing, or presence.

David Gurlé, vice president and general manager of Skype for Business said the company believes their integrated solution, which is planned for the half of 2011, will offer the benefits of Skype to a growing number of businesses and, “open up new ways for people to communicate and collaborate.”

Skype reported 124 million average monthly connected users during the second quarter of 2010. Industry speculation about the company planning to also integrate with Facebook  made a number of headlines today.

Rumors say that the deal will integrate Facebook Connect with Skype accounts so that users can SMS, chat with or call Facebook friends directly from Skype when they log into their accounts.

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