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Avaya, Polycom Dial in Videoconferencing

Avaya , a communications software, systems and services company, has announced a new Internet Protocol-based video-conferencing offering for businesses.

The Avaya Video Telephony Solution, Desktop Edition, stems from a partnership with conferencing technology specialist Polycom .

The offering integrates the Avaya IP Softphone, an application that works as an office phone on a computer, with the Polycom ViaVideo camera and microphone. It also ties in instant messaging and presence features.

"There are a couple different verticals that are heavy users of video-conferencing, including real estate and financial services." Greg Brophy, an Avaya senior product manager, told internetnews.com.

IT companies are another attractive market for the video telephony offering because much of their work is collaborative and done by co-workers in different offices, Brophy added.

Avaya and Polycom aimed for simplicity. Callers log on the business network (via a broadband or wireless LAN connection) and make video calls that can be muted, forwarded, transferred or placed on hold.

To initiate desktop video-conferences, a user only needs a colleague's phone number, whereas many desktop video products also require IP addresses or a separate video calling number.

Because Polycom's ViaVideo camera features an internal processor, video can be transmitted without overtaxing PC or laptop performance. This means users can have several applications working at once, an important feature for business customers.

The video telephony offering is in testing with two companies: Charter Steel, a supplier to the automotive industry; and The Seattle Times Company, a newspaper publisher. Both use IP-based applications from the Avaya and are evolving to video-over-IP.

Pricing for a package including the Softphone and VivaVideo camera will be $429. There will also be options for customers who are already using one of the products separately and want to add the other.