Avaya giving UC line a video boost with $230M Radvision buyout

Avaya CEO: "We will seek to extend videoconferencing to any device, anytime, anywhere"

In a move aimed at enhancing video capabilities in its unified communications offering, Avaya announced plans Thursday to purchase videoconferencing company Radvision for $230 million.

Avaya hopes to offer customers a common user experience across a range of devices once Radvision's videoconference technology is integrated in the company's UC offerings for business communications.

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"The opportunity for personal workspace is now. Customers demand a rich, collaborative user experience that is interoperable and easy to use," says Avaya President and CEO Kevin Kennedy. "With this acquisition we will seek to extend videoconferencing to any device, anytime, anywhere, making it as easy as a phone call, seizing the opportunity to deliver a fully-integrated solution and architecture that we believe sets us apart from the competition."

Radvision is an Israeli publicly-traded company that specializes in low-bandwidth, high-definition video conferencing offerings for end users and video service providers using IP, 3G wireless and other networks.

Avaya has in the past worked with various partners to offer videoconferencing options. With the Radvision acquisition it has a common open-standard video capability that can be used on a variety of endpoints, including room-based, desktop and mobile consumer devices on a scheduled or ad-hoc basis, it said.

Sheila McGee-Smith, an independent communications industry analyst, says the acquisition is about Avaya substantiating its video offerings. "Avaya is now better able to deliver a total solution in terms of video," she says. "It's one thing to have a series of partnerships, but it's easier for the sales force and channel partners to deliver a total solution when you have something tightly integrated into your suite."

The ability to have a single video interface across the company's platform is another advantage, she said, that should provide a better end-user experience.

McGee-Smith says she'll be interested to see how the company integrates its expanded video offerings into its products. One opportunity is to expand the video services on Flare, the company's software application that runs on its desktop video device, and has since been optimized for use on tablets such as the iPad. As for Radvision being a low-bandwidth, high-definition offering, McGee-Smith says she's taking a wait-and-see approach. "It's hard to really grasp how good the quality is until you see it," she says.

The transaction is expected to close in 90 days. Avaya purchased Radvision for $11.85 per share, which is a $0.65 premium above what the Radivision stock closed trading at on Wednesday.

This article originally appeared at NetworkWorld.com. Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social media. He can be reached at BButler@nww.com and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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