Avaya on Wednesday launched IP Office 8.0, the new version of its unified communications (UC) solution for small and medium-sized businesses, incorporating new mobile capabilities and support for Android devices.

The new mobility application, called one-X(R) Mobile Preferred for IP Office, includes multi-party conference management, integrated presence (allowing users to display their availability), instant messaging, 'geopresence' (allowing them to display their location) and visual voicemail capabilities.

According to Jeff Stark, technology director at Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC), the mobility advances in Avaya IP Office 8.0 will be essential in helping the company keep track of its 500 employees.

“We'll now have the ability to see who's available, where they are, and keep them connected into the team,” said Stark. “We can estimate savings of up to fifty percent just by bringing in Avaya IP Office, not to mention the flexibility and ease-of-setup the system delivers.”

one-X(R) Mobile Preferred for IP Office is an extension of Avaya’s Essential Mobility technology, which extends voice capabilities such as one number access and call control. Essential Mobility is currently supported on Symbian, Windows Mobile and iPhone devices, with support for Android and BlackBerry devices coming in first quarter of 2012.

IP Office 8.0 also offers new plug-ins to widely used business productivity applications. These enable users to, for example, make and receive phone calls from a Salesforce.com page, or use visual voicemail within an employee's Microsoft Outlook email window.

“Many general business and IT investment priorities cited by small and medium-sized businesses are associated with improving productivity by leveraging mobile communications and collaboration capabilities,” said Justin Jaffe, research manager for SMB and Home Office Markets at IDC. “Solutions like Avaya IP Office that are comprehensive, easy to integrate with existing infrastructure, and designed specifically for mobile SMB workers will be particularly attractive.”

Research by analyst group Forrester at the end of last year predicted that demand for unified communications will start to drop by 2014, giving way to enterprise social collaboration software that offers Facebook and Twitter-like capabilities, enabling employees discover peers outside of their work groups.

"By creating a social layer between information workers and the applications and communications infrastructure, social enterprise apps will overcome the adoption malaise that has affected UC&C," wrote Forrester analyst Henry Dewing.