Avaya this week bought Nimcat Networks, a maker of peer-to-peer IP phone software, for US$46 million.
The deal gives Avaya a different kind of telephony offering than its current IP PBX- and gateway-focused products, in that the Nimcat software runs only on IP phones. According to the companies, this technology allows desktop IP phones to communicate without the need for a centralized server or call-control box. The new technology could allow Avaya to integrate more peer-to-peer VoIP technology into its current product menu, while offering an uncomplicated VoIP package to smaller customers.
Phones running Nimcat's nimX software include their own call-control, calling features and application software on the phone - such as call hold, forwarding, conferencing and voicemail. Most enterprise IP phones are required to connect to a central call server for call setup and access to voicemail. According to the company, setup of nimX phones only requires plugging them into the same LAN segment and configuring phone numbers and settings through a Web-based management interface via a PC.
Along with the IP phone software, Nimcat also has a softphone client for PCs that operates in the same peer-to-peer mode, similar to the softphone client from Skype; however, the Nimcat software does not require a connection to an outside service provider or network to operate. Nimcat also sells a small gateway box - called the Thin Trunk Interface - that allows nimX phones to call out to the PSTN from an internal LAN phone network.
Ottawa, Ontario-based Nimcat will become part of Avaya's Global Communications Solutions group, headed by Michael Thurk, group vice president. Avaya will continue to sell the nimX software to end-user customers and resellers, such as Aastra, which sells small-office IP phone products based on the software.