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Avaya Strengthens Cloud Portfolio
Avaya Engage 2019 is wrapping up today, and Avaya didn’t disappoint in turning talk from the mainstage (see my keynote coverage here) into solutions. Below are the key product announcements coming out of the event.
Intelligent Cloud Solutions -- The theme of the event was Intelligent Xperiences, or IX, as we heard at the show. For Avaya, “intelligent experiences” is a double entendre, using the term not only to show that you can use its technology to create intelligent experiences but also that Avaya itself has deep experience in communications because of its installed base. To simplify the portfolio, Avaya rolled out the following naming convention for its products:
- Avaya IX Digital Workplace -- Calling, meetings, collaboration, devices
- Avaya IX Digital Contact Center -- Voice, omnichannel, desktop, workforce engagement
- Avaya IX Mobility -- Call deflection to a digital channel and identity management
The renaming and clustering of products should make purchasing easier, alleviating the need to map product names like “Breeze” to a worker’s desktop or a contact center.
The mobility elements are interesting as they’re different from the traditional concept of mobile UC, which brings functionality like calling and meetings to a mobile device. Call deflection is part of its mobile experience service and identity management lets businesses use the mobile device for authentication purposes.
In the Intelligent Xperiences press release, Avaya makes mention of artificial intelligence (AI) features such as bots, virtual assistants, conversational intelligence (formerly Intelligent Wire), and others to make meetings and conversations smarter. AI capabilities will determine the long-term winners in the UC and contact center industries, and between its homegrown capabilities and the technology gained through its A.I.Connect ecosystem, Avaya is off to a fast start.
OneCloud ReadyNow Private Cloud Service -- This is a fully turnkey, engineered private cloud based off the Aura software stack. Previously, customers that wanted Aura bought the Avaya Private Cloud Service (APCS). The challenge with this approach is that APCS has a long deployment time that ranges from three months to about a year in some cases. OneCloud ReadyNow is just that -- ready in just a few hours. ReadyNow will make proofs of concept and pilot testing must faster and easier by removing much of the friction involved in deploying infrastructure.
For ReadyNow, Avaya leverages pre-built virtual cloud infrastructure deployed in and managed from its data centers. The core stack is pre-configured, but the product still allows for a high degree of customization. This is key, as ReadyNow is targeted at the mid to large enterprise, where customization is almost a certainty.
ReadyNow gives Avaya customers a cloud-like experience with the security and performance of an on-premises deployment. ReadyNow for UC will be available soon, with a contact center version to follow at a later, unspecified time.
Expanded Relationship with Verint -- The expanded partnership introduces cloud deployments for Avaya Workforce Engagement Management, improving customer service through operational intelligence in the contact center. Avaya’s suite of workforce engagement capabilities are available for deployment in private, public, or hybrid clouds. Avaya and Verint, which have been partners for about 15 years, offer voice or omnichannel contact center to thousands of customers ranging in size from a handful to tens of thousands of seats. Avaya and Verint expect their joint solution to continue satisfying a wide range of customer requirements, and ongoing co-development will further expand workforce engagement management capabilities.
Slack Integration -- If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Neither Avaya nor its UC competitors are likely to be able to unseat Slack’s market-leading position in team collaboration. Instead of trying to do so, Avaya has decided to work with Slack. Customers can now use call icons and slash commands to create Avaya meetings and conference calls when in Slack channels. This approach is smart, as Avaya’s customers are most certainly using Slack and forcing them to switch to a comparable Avaya tool would be an uphill battle. This has the chance of stimulating more usage of Avaya collaboration as Slack users can perform those tasks from within the team collaboration tool. Avaya has committed to being open, and this is a strong proof point of that goal.
Next-Generation 911 (NG911) -- The rise of softphones and mobile devices has made 911 calling more difficult to deliver accurate location information. For example, if a user located on the 30th floor of a building calls 911, first responders will likely have a hard time finding the person. They’ll receive the address but not the exact location within the building. But Avaya’s NG911 solutions pass along up-to-the-minute device location data, floor plans, and other critical data. With 911, even a few seconds can be the difference between life and death, and the Avaya system now provides more emergency information, which should translate to more saved lives.
With these product announcements, Avaya customers should have confidence that the company’s transformation touted by CEO Jim Chirico and other executives is well underway. This week’s activities show that Avaya is bringing cloud options, simplicity, partnerships, and innovation for fueling customers’ digital transformation plans.