A Day At Avaya's Demo Center - InformationWeek

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Commentary
5/2/2007
03:55 PM
Elena Malykhina
Elena Malykhina
Commentary
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A Day At Avaya's Demo Center

Last month, Internet Protocol telephony provider Avaya opened the doors to its brand new Executive Demo and Briefing Center in New York City's Penn Plaza. The center is designed for existing customers and potential customers, as well as analysts and journalists that want to learn about the applications that Avaya can enable. Now I've got hands-on experience with some of Av

Last month, Internet Protocol telephony provider Avaya opened the doors to its brand new Executive Demo and Briefing Center in New York City's Penn Plaza. The center is designed for existing customers and potential customers, as well as analysts and journalists that want to learn about the applications that Avaya can enable. Now I've got hands-on experience with some of Avaya's products and what's to follow is a list of the most interesting ones I saw.
Avaya's brand new Executive Demo and Briefing Center in New York City
Avaya's brand new Executive Demo and Briefing Center in New York City

Software that monitors for certain situations and then notifies the right people via instant-messages
Software that monitors for certain situations and then notifies the right people via instant-messages

Guest relationship management software that pushes different content to hotel guests on IP phones
Guest relationship management software that pushes different content to hotel guests on IP phones

One-X Mobile is Avaya's client software that transforms a smartphone into an office desk phone
One-X Mobile is Avaya's client software that transforms a smartphone into an office desk phone

Avaya's IP softphone, which resides virtually on a PC unlike a physical phone
Avaya's IP softphone, which resides virtually on a PC unlike a physical phone

Before I go on, did you know that there's a difference between VoIP and IP telephony? VoIP refers to the transport mechanism for voice over Internet Protocol, provided by the Skypes and Vonages of the world. IP telephony, on the other hand, involves pushing out IP-based apps to end users as both voice and data. At least that is the distinction Avaya made before leading me into their center for some demos.

Once I was inside, here's what caught my attention (and eye):

- Software that monitors for certain situations and then notifies the right people via instant-messages that can be sent to one phone, a group of phones, or all phones registered on a network. It's a byproduct of Avaya's Communications Enabled Business Processes strategy, announced at the VoiceCon show in March. Avaya's new capabilities extend service-oriented architecture to VoIP, providing a framework that lets companies embed communications into the software used to run various business processes.

- Guest relationship management software that makes your stay more pleasant at hotels around the country. In a hotel demo, Avaya showed off one of its IP phones that looks very much like a min-computer with a color screen and the intelligence to process information like credit card payments. A concierge at a hotel was able to push different content to the phone, including show times for nearby theaters. The guest then purchased tickets using buttons on the phone. The phone interfaced with the hotel's database, credit card companies, and ticket venues.

- The EC500 is a mobile app that allows calls bound for a business number to ring simultaneously on both an office phone and up to four mobile phones. The call is bridged, not forwarded, so you don't have to push a button or drop a call when you're switching between phones. The call goes back to the corporate voicemail system not the cellular carrier's voicemail system if it's not answered.

- One-X Mobile is Avaya's client software that transforms a smartphone into an office desk phone. You can access similar features as Avaya's Communication Manager IP telephony software, such as multi-party conference calling, call transfer, and abbreviated dialing. More businesses are starting to approach Avaya with a request for One-X Mobile, according to the company.

Why is Avaya focusing on software so much? Because the company says it's going through a software transformation. Microsoft, for instance, is one of the biggest advocates of moving to a software model for VoIP. Avaya's IP softphone, which resides virtually on a PC unlike a physical phone, is one of its best selling products among businesses. Since acquiring Traverse Networks and Ubiquity, the company is on a mission to implement the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) heavily in its architecture.

Avaya also has adopted web services and has delivered one of its first products in the space called One-X Portal. It's a web portal that lets users log in on any PC and get one virtual inbox for all their messages.

There's a lot going on at Avaya, so I would say they're one of the hottest companies to watch in the IP telephony space.

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