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Avaya Evolves Enterprise Portfolio

As discussed elsewhere on No Jitter, Avaya yesterday announced a trio of enterprise-focused communications and collaboration products, sending a signal to enterprises that product development continues unabated even as outside counsel works with the executive management team to find a fix for the company's troubling debt-laden capital structure.

For context on the news, I chatted with Yogen Patel, VP & GM of Engagement Applications at Avaya. The three products -- Avaya Equinox, Avaya Vantage, and the Avaya Breeze Client SDK -- comprise a new business communications platform for the digital era, he told me.

Equinox: A Convergence of Capabilities
With Equinox, Avaya is converging its disparate enterprise assets to create a fully integrated, software-based user experience for multimedia communications, collaboration, and conferencing, Patel said. "Equinox brings together the feel and capability of Aura conferencing, which primarily focused on voice and collaboration, with Scopia, which primarily focused on high-def video." Avaya will deliver Equinox in two parts: as a client and as a conferencing/server-side component.

Enterprises using Aura today will be able to download the Equinox client as of Dec. 19 and start accessing the functions for which their Aura platform is enabled, Patel said. Avaya will offer Equinox clients for mobile devices and desktops, as well as in a no-download WebRTC-based browser interface. In addition, Equinox will be available pre-installed on Vantage, the "all-glass" desktop device Avaya previewed at the International Avaya User Group conference back in June and will make generally available on Jan. 23, 2017.

"Right off the bat, all the prior clients no longer need to be used," he added.

Once the server-side component is available, also on Jan. 23, enterprises will be able to enable Scopia video conferencing within the Equinox client, Patel said.

In its initial instantiation, the Equinox conferencing/server-side infrastructure is for on-premises deployments. However, Avaya has architected Equinox for delivery in a cloud model, and is working with Zang, Avaya's communications platform-as-service business, to allow for that, Patel said. Moving forward, Avaya expects some Aura customers to favor a hybrid model in which they augment on-premises deployments with new cloud-delivered conferencing and collaboration functionality, he added.

While Avaya has gone pure-cloud via Zang for the midmarket, on the enterprise side it's moving "in a more deliberate manner" that Patel said is "exactly in line with its clients' thinking." What Avaya has found of its enterprise customers is that they first want virtualized environments, then private clouds, then they want to be able to augment what they have by leveraging public cloud infrastructure and some services delivered from the cloud, he said.

Although Avaya is primarily targeting the Aura customer base, it can deliver the Equinox capabilities over the top into other communications and collaboration environments, Patel noted.

Breeze Client SDK: Bringing It All Together
This is the crux of Avaya's new business communications platform, Patel said. It's the underlying technology on top of which Equinox and Vantage sit, and that allows developers to embed and enable advanced communications functions. "This builds upon the Breeze [development platform] and Snap-in [app] technology we announced earlier this year at Enterprise Connect, taking it one step further in overlaying an SDK that allows putting business and communications functions directly into the UI and client layer," he said.

In the Breeze Client SDK, also available for download come Dec. 19, Avaya will provide a set of pre-built functions "for easing integration into end user apps," Patel said.

To date, Avaya has developed more than 40 Breeze Snap-ins, some of which are available via its Snapp Store and others as components of applications such as Oceana for contact centers, a company spokesperson said. The Snapp Store offers about 30 Snap-ins today, from Avaya and partners, with an additional 15 due in the next few months.

In addition, customers and partners have deployed several custom Snap-Ins as part of Breeze Server implementations, of which there are more than 400 today, the spokesperson said.

The Client SDK supports iOS and Android operating systems, as well as jQuery and "all the other client-side technologies required today for providing mobile experiences," he added. In addition to the APIs and client-side components, the SDK will provide samples through Avaya's DevConnect program for developers as well as "rich" documentation, he noted.

This SDK "is not your everyday API," Rich Costello, senior research analyst for IDC's Unified Communications and Collaboration program, said in a prepared statement. With the Breeze Client SDK, he said, "you have all the tools you need in a single solution that can be customized by vertical industry and workgroup needs, just what UC was intended to be."

To date, Patel noted, 17 of Avaya's enterprise customers are running Equinox trials, and five developers are building applications using the Breeze Client SDK.

While enterprise customers are surely anxiously awaiting word of what is to become of an Avaya potentially dissected by its external advisors, Avaya hopes these latest product developments show them the company's good faith efforts in continued innovation, Patel said. "We have a large, loyal base of customers that have leveraged Avaya technologies for many years to meet their business needs -- and we are going to continue serving them."

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