Avaya CEO: Get Smart About Communications

"This technology is at such an important state that it is transforming businesses and now transforming markets," D'Ambrosio said in a keynote address at the Orlando, Fla., conference, held by CRN publisher CMP Technology.

"Treat communications as a strategic asset," D'Ambrosio said, noting that enterprises that deploy "Intelligent Communications" strategies -- Avaya's term for its VoIP and IP communications solutions -- will reduce delays, improve customer service, raise employee productivity and see financial gains.

More than 75 percent of the roughly 50 million new voice lines shipped worldwide this year are expected to be IP, he said. He pointed to customers such as the Palm Beach County School District in Florida as examples of outfits using IP communications creatively. One way the district uses Avaya technology is to tie into its GPS-equipped buses and notify parents when the buses are running late.

Avaya has embarked on a strategy to put communications into the hands of mobile users. "We want to give you at your fingertips what you have at your desktop," D'Ambrosio said.

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Part of that strategy includes a new partnership with Lenovo to bring enhanced IP communications features to ThinkPad notebook PCs. The pact was unveiled at the conference.

"Unified communications will be built-in at the factory. There will be a set of unified communications functionality built-in before [the notebook] ships with features that we haven't seen in past," D'Ambrosio said. "Things like biometric access to the communications system, a message-waiting light on the PC whether or not the PC is booted up. That's where this is going."

D'Ambrosio also took thinly veiled swipe at rival Nortel Networks in his reference to an announcement last month that Avaya had broadened integration between its VoIP wares and Microsoft's messaging and collaboration applications. "We have a very strong partnership with immediate deliverables," D'Ambrosio said.

Nortel last summer formed the Innovative Communications Alliance with Microsoft. Fruits of that partnership are expected to hit the market later this year, starting in the second quarter.

Also at VoiceCon, Avaya launched a new focus area dubbed Communications Enabled Business Processes. The idea is to tie communications into business processes and foster collaboration between the right people when problems arise.

Avaya's new Communications Process Manager is the software that sits in the middle and makes the whole thing work. It resides on a Linux server and ties Avaya's communications applications through Web services into a company's business processes. An optional Event Processor can monitor real-time data streams to automatically detect events, send out alerts and begin the communications process.