Avaya snaps up Irish audio conferencing firm


1 April 2005

Telecommunications giant Avaya has announced that it is to purchase Spectel, a provider of audio conference systems, for  €85.7m in cash.

Spectel has approximately 210 employees and offices in Dublin, the USA and other locations. The company currently serves more than 500 customers globally. The transaction is expected to close by the end of September and is subject to regulatory approval, Irish laws and customary closing conditions.

Avaya has worked with Spectel for four years and its acquisition of the Irish-based firm is intended to help it expand its capabilities in conferencing.  Avaya also plans to integrate Spectel technology with its own Internet Protocol (IP) communications applications suite to provide businesses with converged conferencing capabilities in the future. Converged conferencing brings together Web, video, audio and data conferencing on an IP network. 

‘We’ve worked with Spectel for years and we’ve implemented their solution in our own operations, so we know firsthand and through our customers that Spectel’s technology is first-rate,’ said Don Peterson, chairman and CEO of Avaya. 

The acquisition was welcomed by analyst firm Gartner. ‘Gartner believes the Spectel acquisition will benefit Avaya and its customers, as it will strengthen and broaden Avaya’s product set,’ said analyst Bob Hafner, adding that Spectel technology employs
an open, standards-based approach that could assist the development of converged conferencing systems throughout the industry.

However, he warned that despite Spectel’s focus on open standards, Avaya’s offerings will continue to use proprietary extensions to provide enhanced capabilities.’For the deal to succeed, Avaya must integrate Spectel products with its own, plus provide interfaces to key applications. Some of the application integration will occur quickly — for example, with Microsoft Exchange and IBM Lotus Notes — but other functions, such as presence, and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) integration with Avaya’s Communication Manager and Converged Communications Server, will not be available until 2005.’

‘Spectel customers should review Avaya’s plans as they evolve for the existing Spectel platform and consider whether Avaya will continue to invest in the stand-alone product,’ he concluded.


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