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October 04, 2010

Avaya Event Highlights the Importance of Fun in Work

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, IP Communications Magazines

Work is not a place. Rather, with today’s communications tools, it’s become an integral part of life. But most folks are OK with that, especially if they can use products and services that are fun to communicate and collaborate with co-workers and partners to conceptualize, design and deliver solutions.

That, in effect, was the message of addresses by Paul Pugh, executive creative director of Frog design, and Christian Von Reventlow, vice president of new products at Avaya (News - Alert), at Sunday night’s Avaya Technology on Tap event collocated with ITEXPO this week in Los Angeles.

In a presentation that was both whimsical and informative, Pugh of consulting company frog design, a division of Aricent (News - Alert) that participated in the design of such products as the HP TouchSmart, talked about how “the laptop was the gateway drug” that got workers hooked on being connected whenever and wherever they are. Through the magic of mobile devices, he noted, today many people work even when they’re on “vacation”.

He referred to this collision of our personal and professional worlds as “the reverse Don Draper effect”. The Don Draper character on the popular TV show Mad Men, Pugh explained, is able to cleanly maintain multiple separate lives. Conversely, technology has erased the line between work and home life.

It also has redefined the work space, he added. With communications tools and connectivity, he noted, multi-disciplinary teams can create a virtual place and space to gather, talk and share materials. They can also set up portals, like frog design did with frogMob, to invite people to offer input on particular subjects, he said.

“You want to create a culture where the curious and even the problem kids can flourish,” Pugh said.

Avaya’s Von Reventlow added that collaboration between teams, with users and the world at large is important, as anybody can offer a new perspective on an issue.

“You can’t invent alone,” he said.

And using fun products and user-friendly interfaces to collaborate can make such interaction a pleasure, he added.

That was the goal of Avaya when it set out to build what is now known as the Avaya Flare Experience, he indicated. Von Reventlow demonstrated how contacts on the Flare-based tablet Avaya recently introduced can easily be moved with the touch of the finger to institute a videoconference or share a PDF in that conference, as just two examples. It also allows users to be a conference while communicating with a subgroup simultaneously, he added.

Edited by Patrick Barnard


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