Cbeyond, Avaya pair on SIP services

October 18, 2007 -- Cbeyond's BeyondVoice with SIPconnect service, an integrated package of local and long distance voice, broadband Internet and mobile services, is now interoperable with Avaya's IP Office platform.

October 18, 2007 -- Cbeyond announced that its BeyondVoice with SIPconnect service, an integrated package of local and long distance voice, broadband Internet and mobile services, is now interoperable with Avaya's IP Office platform, a converged voice and data system. According to the companies, the merged platform provides small businesses with business-quality voice services, increased flexibility and reduced costs.

Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) is an industry-standard signaling protocol used to establish communication sessions over a data network, from simple two-way telephone calls to collaborative, multimedia conferences. SIPconnect is an initiative of the SIP Forum and a registered certification mark of the organization.

"Through our joint commitment to interoperability, Cbeyond and Avaya are able to deliver a comprehensive communications solution for small businesses," comments Chris Gatch, chief technology officer for Cbeyond. "We deliver sophisticated communications capabilities and services typically only available to large enterprises at prices that small businesses can afford."

Used by over 100,000 businesses worldwide, Avaya IP Office is billed as a secure, easy-to-use voice and data server that supports up to 360 users. Cbeyond uses its own private, IP-based managed services network (as opposed to the public Internet), to transport voice calls; as a result, the company says it is able to provide business-class voice quality with more than 20 productivity-enhancing applications, including BlackBerry, broadband laptop access, web hosting, data backup, file-sharing and virtual private networking.

According to the companies, by using Avaya IP Office together with Cbeyond's BeyondVoice with SIPconnect, businesses can improve voice quality and decrease maintenance costs by connecting to the public network without the need for TDM gateways. Companies can also affordably link multiple locations in a single network and share the same communications features and applications company-wide. Additionally, new direct dial extensions can be created on demand, eliminating the need for costly Primary Rate Interface (PRI) service and the sometimes lengthy waits involved when new lines are installed.

According to a press release, two joint Avaya and Cbeyond customers, Twin Peaks Computer Inc. and Spectrum Voice and Data, have already begun to benefit from the joint service in their own business and now are offering the same capabilities to their clients.

"The main advantage to us is the ability to easily set up our own direct dial numbers," said Scott Pfauth, president of Twin Peaks Computer. "I can set up a new number in two minutes, versus waiting days or weeks for a fixed landline to be installed."

Rich Krumholz, owner of Spectrum Voice and Data, agrees, and believes that Avaya IP Office and Cbeyond BeyondVoice with SIPconnect will be a winning combination for his customers.

"We're very picky about who we choose to represent and wanted a best-in-class solution," offered Krumholz. "We found that in Avaya and Cbeyond. We now can offer great benefits to any small-to-midsized business looking for an affordable way to link multiple locations."

Krumholz contends that companies using SIP trunks can save $2,000 in hardware costs alone by eliminating the T1 card required for a traditional telephony connection. He also said SIP trunking offers small businesses far broader business continuity and disaster recovery options.

"If your T1 trunk is cut, you lose connectivity until a repair can be made," he continued. "With SIP trunking you can build in a backup from the beginning by making plans to automatically route calls to another phone if your connection is lost."

"I think SIP trunking is the future," Krumholz concluded. "There will come a day when most trunks are offered that way, and it's nice to be able to offer a solution now that is in the forefront of that trend."

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