Avaya Calls Out to Skype

Charlene OHanlon

Avaya and Skype have forged a strategic agreement under which the two companies are integrating the free Internet calling features of one into the communications platform of the other. Such integration would enable companies to make international and toll calls basically for free, and would also give them the ability to add click-to-talk functionality on their company websites.

Cool perks, indeed. The idea that this technology has progressed to the point where SIP calling can be considered as a viable alternative to the public switched telephone network is intriguing, and it's a safe bet that companies who do a lot of business overseas will see the value in a technology such as this. Avaya, for its part, is definitely making the right moves in ensuring its Aura communications platform and other systems are staying on the leading edge.

It also signals a greater amalgamation of telecom and data. If companies are now using Skype as their default for toll calling, telecom service providers can say bye-bye to expensive trunking fees and all the other charges a company incurs. Of course, it wouldn't happen overnight, but it's a very real possibility.

Some argue that the partnership is just a natural progression in the technology, and I agree. SIP is doing for telephony what cloud computing is doing for the data center.

If you think I mean they're rendering them useless, you're wrong. Both SIP and cloud computing are complementary technologies to their predecessors, not competitive technologies. Somewhere along the line, a cloud infrastructure originates from somewhere, and those servers most likely live in a data center.

Likewise, SIP is nifty for some applications, but others-such as 911 calling and operator-assisted calling-just can't be done. Both technologies still very much serve their master. And that, I believe, is a good thing.

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