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June 15, 2012

Avaya Readies New Release of its Workplace Avatar, Gamification Solution

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC

Avaya (News - Alert) is getting ready to release version 3.0 of its AvayaLive Engage solution, which can drive engagement in the workplace via gamification. That’s the word from Paul McDonagh-Smith, Avaya's AvayaLive Engage guru, who spoke with TMCnet on the matter this morning.

AvayaLive Engage, which was introduced in February of 2011, is a SaaS (News - Alert)-based offer that runs on the Amazon cloud. Through it, organizations can allow their employees and/or partners to communicate using avatars, video, text and audio communications. Today, business school MIT Sloan, Canadian service provider TELUS (News - Alert) (which leverages the platform for employee training) and TedxBoston are among the users of AvayaLive Engage.

It typically takes just 10 to 15 minutes to get customers up and running on AvayaLive Engage, said McDonagh-Smith. To get started, the end user clicks on a url and is prompted to install a small plug-in. The end user is then invited to select the height, weight and other physical characteristics of his or her avatar. And the virtual event organizer can select from eight or nine environmental templates, which include settings such as a classroom, an executive office, and a shop.

The use of avatars, McDonagh-Smith said, can make work collaboration more fun and give people a comfort level that they may not have communicating in person or via video. That can open the door to more honest and interactive exchanges among people, even between those at different levels within an organization, he said, referring to the Oscar Wilde quote “Give [a man] a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”

However, if people do want to remove the mask and talk remotely face-to-face, AvayaLive Engage does provide that option, he said. In fact, with release 3.0, Avaya makes it possible for collaboration participants to launch a video connection via a simple drag-and-drop function.

Also new with release 3.0, which is expected to become available in three to four weeks, is support for the Mac OS and an improved user interface.

McDonagh-Smith told TMCnet that he and the other AvayaLive Engage leaders were inspired to bring avatars and other gamification features to the workplace due to their interest in World of Warcraft, which they saw as being organized in a way that had some parallels to leadership training and meetings.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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