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Avaya's Barnett: It's All About Engagement

Avaya strengthened its engagement messaging this morning as Gary Barnett, senior vice president and general manager of Avaya Engagement Solutions, took the keynote stage at Enterprise Connect 2015 in Orlando.

"Seamless meaningful engagement" sits at the center of a converged technology model -- made up of networks, applications, devices, channels, and content -- needed to help fuel innovation within enterprises, Barnett told a packed room. He called out the need for engagement everywhere, "the world we've been imagining -- all of us -- and we've been innovating toward."

From Avaya's perspective, faster innovation and adoption requires partnerships, Barnett said. And the company has partnered with what he called "some of the greatest companies in the infrastructure transformation" -- Google among them.

Google & the Contact Center
On that note, Barnett introduced a contact center-as-a-service offering it's delivering via the Google Cloud Platform. Aimed at midmarket businesses, the Customer Engagement OnAvaya service gives companies the ability to spin up contact center instances in a flash -- anywhere and for as long or as short as needed. Agents access the Avaya contact center agent desktop using a Google Chromebook, and communicate through a WebRTC-enabled interface and headset (read related article, "Avaya & Google: Showing Part 2 of 5).

During a pre-keynote discussion, Barnett told me he hopes to see lots of traffic at the Avaya booth (No. 405), as people can stop by and spin up contact center instances in the cloud. "We'll be showing people just how easy, fast, and simple it is to bring up an instance -- one minute it doesn't exist and the next minute it does," he said.

A Google premier customer, Tony Bianco, president of Onix Networking's Cloud Computing Division, showed just how quick and easy that could be in a live demo. Bianco said he sees the Avaya-Google partnership as a real boon for his call center operations, now being able to hire agents to work from anywhere.

Enabling Engagement, Video Everywhere
To show how else Avaya helps speed customer engagement, Lyle Hardy, global CIO of Avaya partner Teleperformance, a multichannel customer experience outsourcer, also joined Barnett on stage. He demonstrated how Teleperformance communications-enabled an existing app for its customer, Callaway Golf. Using the Avaya Engagement Development Platform one developer created this app in two days -- "that's right, one developer, two days," said Hardy, to the audience's applause.

Video, Barnett said, is going to be part of every application, calling out the video everywhere announcements Avaya made last week. As I learned from Barnett in my one-on-one, those products include the flagship Avaya Scopia XT7100 system, which now supports H.265 video coding, and the Scopia XT4300, which provides high-definition videoconferencing for small to midsized conference rooms.

More importantly, Scopia now lets users directly share content wirelessly from their laptops, and supports a seamless handoff between Scopia soft clients running on mobile devices and a room system. That means users can start a conference on a smartphone or laptop, and then when they get to the conference room, transition to the room system without missing a beat. In addition, the mobile users now get the full 1080p video quality that previously had only been available on Avaya room systems.

"While we continue to invest in room or office endpoints, where we see the biggest growth in and advantage of our video conference solutions is with mobility," Barnett told me. "We're all about mobile video -- about making it very easy to do video conferences on an iPad, and iPhone, an Android device."

The Avaya video portfolio now also includes two desktop video devices. The H175 Video Collaboration Station features an HD video camera and 7-inch HD touchscreen display, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity, plus access to Outlook calendar, contacts, and presence status. The E159/E169 Media Stations can act as standalone SIP desktop devices while supporting and charging iPhones and iPads (running iOS 6.0 or later) and Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets running Android KitKat and JellyBean OS versions.

Video everywhere will join communications-enabling of applications as major trends of 2015, said Barnett, leaving his Enterprise Connect audience with some closing predictions. "Video is going to be part of virtually every application, and there won't be any hard-coded applications any more. ... We need to deploy with the need of speed."

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