New Collaborative Solutions from Avaya
Avaya today made several announcements intended to “transform the way we work.” The big themes within these announcements are collaboration and software. Specifically, Avaya announced:
A collaboration solution for the mid market.
New tools for developing collaboration-enabled applications.
Enterprise grade text messaging.
When Avaya talks about Mid Market, it talks about IP Office – but that might be expanding as with the newly announced IP Office 9, the platform can now support up to 2,000 users (from 1,000), and can now also positioned for branch offices with Aura implementations. These are significant announcements, but ongoing improvements around IP Office are becoming common.
IP Office is clearly very strategic to Avaya, and the firm is investing significantly in its capabilities. IP Office was a simple PBX, but today represents a fairly comprehensive platform with rich components for mobility, security, video, and networking along with rich applications for contact center and conferencing. The solution can be deployed as an appliance, on a server, or virtualized.
The next two announcements are far more significant.
Avaya is making a big improvement to its development toolset with the new Avaya Aura Collaboration Environment. They key to collaboration lies in communications enabled applications. Avaya and its partners have built integrated solutions, but there’s a near infinite need for specialized custom applications. The better approach is to create a development-friendly environment that simplifies and facilitates app creation and deployment. In this space, the competition isn’t as much other UC platforms but rather specialized developer environments.
The Aura Collaboration Environment supports multi-channel communications, built-in security, a single familiar SDK, and sample applications. A common set of methods, or “snap-ins” make development efforts extensible across a wide array of channels and applications. To accelerate adoption, Avaya now offers the Aura Collaboratory, a subscription-based development sandbox.
Communications enabled applications isn’t new for Avaya, but the solutions are getting more robust. The predecessors to the Collaboration Environment include the Application Enablement Services (AES) and the Agile Communications Environment (ACE). This new collaboration environment is more than an extension of Aura UC, but positions the platform as a standalone solution for communications enabled development.
The Avaya Messaging Service (AMS) is my favorite of the announcements. Most UC solutions today offer some version of a single-number service. The concept is we have multiple devices/numbers – but want to project only one number publicly. Typically, the one number is the corporate DID, and other numbers such as mobile direct-dial number are hidden. This works fine and well, until someone wants to send or receive an SMS and the proverbial cat gets out of the bag.
Avaya is now including text messaging within the UC One-Number paradigm. It is a cloud-based capability with an annual charge per number. The service allows existing DID numbers to receive secure text messages viewable on iOS, Android, PC, and Mac devices; or via a web portal. Unlike other IP messaging systems, the address is the phone number and it’s compatible with the SMS mobile network.
Six years ago Avaya began a shift from a telecommunications company to a provider of collaboration and communications solutions. These new offerings are all software and services aimed to facilitate collaboration.
Also on UCStrategies.com on this topic: