Avaya Tech on Tap Features Avatars, Next-Gen Video, the Cloud

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  April 25, 2012

This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.

Cloud communications and video were the themes of the most recent Avaya (News - Alert) Tech on Tap.

At the event, which preceded the formal kickoff of ITEXPO earlier this year in Miami, Avaya talked about what spurred its move into the video space; demonstrated its One Touch Video solution; and highlighted something called Avaya web.alive, which uses avatars and virtual worlds to make collaboration more engaging.

Mark Kolar, who is involved with the universal video collaboration effort at Avaya, said that a lot of people have been confused about why Avaya is getting into video, given companies like Polycom (News - Alert) are already established players in this space. But, as Kolar noted, things are changing so fast, given the consumerization of devices and proliferation of video, that it makes perfect sense for Avaya to extend its unified communications strategy to include video. In the past, he added, video was a place to go, and required special-purpose tools and technologies; now, of course, video is moving to the devices and apps that people use daily.

“Video is becoming less and less about the device, about the room,” he said. Now “it’s becoming a window that we just happen to have on the device.”

This discussion provided the introduction to the demonstration of Avaya One Touch Video, a solution that allows users to launch video communications without requiring them to download tools to make those connections. He said that the applications for this solution, which will ship in July, are astronomical. Video hospital visits are one example.

The company also pointed out that the Avaya Flare Communicator is now available for the Apple iPad.

Avaya aims to help customers simplify video both on the front and back ends. On the front end, Kolar said, Avaya will deliver solutions so end users don’t have to start a new session to add video. To enable that, Avaya is going to treat every stream as if it’s going to join a conference. On the back end, he said, Avaya will deliver solutions that involve less gear, allow for smoother migrations, and enable a higher level of integration than did video implementations of the past.

Paiman Nodushani, Avaya senior director of cloud strategy and products, closed out the night’s presentations by talking about how the company’s strategy ties into the cloud theme, and discussing the avatar application mentioned above.

Cloud, he noted, is not really a technology, but rather a business model change that enables customers to invest in solutions on an opex vs. a capex basis, scaling solutions up or down as business demands require. Avaya has solutions on the IaaS (switches, routers, VPN gateways, WLANs), PaaS (application development environment – vertical) and SaaS (News - Alert) (UC, contact center, video and data center) fronts. On the SaaS front, he added, Avaya allows its service provider and systems integrator partners to sell its UC and contact center solutions in cloud-based configurations. Avaya will also have a cloud-based offer that allows customers to try out new applications, and a federation service to enable users to find others in the cloud and to get information on their communications capabilities.

Avaya web.alive is another example of what the company is doing on the SaaS front, he said. This solution allows for face-to-face interaction; integrates virtual worlds and the real world; allows for full web sharing capabilities including slides, files, websites and videos; and leverages avatars, other 3D visuals and spatial audio to take collaboration to the next level.

Avaya indicated all of the above is proof that the company, a leader in the UC space, is not resting on its laurels and is looking to the future, two themes of the evening’s opening speech by Judith Hurwitz, founder of strategy consulting and research firm Hurwitz & Associates (News - Alert).

Edited by Jennifer Russell