Avaya Makes Sweeping UC And CC Upgrades

Among the major updates is Avaya Aura Contact Center, a multimedia work assignment application that ties voice, e-mail, Web chat, instant messaging and other tools using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based communications.

It is Avaya's intended upgrade path for the customer base that uses Nortel Contact Center 6 and Contact Center 7 offerings, and is targeted as an all-in-one product set for mid-sized contact centers with 1,000 agents or less. According to Avaya, it can manage as many as six types of communication transactions -- one voice and five non-voice -- simultaneously.

Other new contact center offerings from Avaya include Avaya Aura Workforce Optimization -- which includes recording and quality monitoring capabilities -- and Proactive Outreach Manager, which customers can use to customize outbound notifications such as for manufacturers, product shipment data, or for hotels, room rate promotions.

There's also an update to Avaya's analytics tool, Avaya IQ 5.1 that can monitor and provide information for up to 900 simultaneous users, and broader capacity for Aura Call Center Elite 6.0, Avaya's main call routing software for enterprises.

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"This is a complete solution: a complete stack that we can take to market," said Jorge Blanco, vice president of contact center marketing for the vendor. "For partners, we see it as an opportunity to increase their share of wallet and also simplify support interactions both pre- and post-sale."

Among other product updates, there's an update (version 2.2) to Avaya's Agile Communication Environment (ACE), which adds notification services through an application called Event Response Manager. Those services, according to Avaya, allow customers faster response in the event of inventory shortages, security breaches or other occurrences, and they come with a developer toolkit for use in adding personalized communications.

Next is Avaya Aura Conferencing, which comes in two editions, Standard and Enterprise. The Standard Edition, available now, offers audio, video and Web conferencing features on a single server, and the Enterprise Edition, available later this year, adds more features such as internal operator assistance. According to Avaya, both editions can be integrated with various UC applications from Avaya, Microsoft, IBM and Adobe.

Further along is Avaya Aura Messaging, a Linux-based offering designed to migrate users of Avaya's Octel messaging service to a new platform that uses the familiar Octel interface but adds speech-to-text, speech-based virtual assistants and other bells and whistles. There's also Avaya Aura Presence Services, a native instant messaging platform offering federated presence and instant messaging for Microsoft, IBM, Avaya one-X Communicator, Avaya one-X Agent and Avaya 9600 SIP phones.

More Updates And Avaya's Release Strategy Among other product and services updates are a boost to Avaya Aura Session Manager, whose 6.0 version scales to more than 100,000 users (including 50,000 SIP phones or video endpoints), and an update to Avaya Aura Communication Manager, whose 6.0 version offers more choices for migrating to different server set-ups.

Elsewhere, Avaya is debuting Avaya Aura Session Border Controller to protect customer networks and devices from denial-of-service and other attacks, as well as updating its Avaya 9600 family of desk phones to include larger displays. One new phone, the Avaya 1603S1-I, is intended as a low-cost SIP model.

Finally, Avaya has provided a new release of Avaya Communications Server 1000, which adds IPv6 support and greater SIP support.

The ultimate goal, offered Avaya executives, is a less-siloed product portfolio that's collectively branded under Aura and connects Avaya's various products logically.

"We're doing high quality training to make sure everyone understands the intricacies of how different elements within the suite come together," said Steve Hardy, director, global product and solutions marketing. "We're shifting from siloed products to a much more integrated set of capabilities, but also being very open to third parties."

Avaya won't be dropping any existing Avaya or Nortel products with Tuesday's announcement.

"We are not going to maintain all of the products that were assembled when we added Nortel's portfolio to our own, but we are taking a very gradual approach to make sure we are not disruptive," Blanco said. "We are not announcing any [dropped products] with this launch cycle."

Avaya's product portfolio upgrades continue as planned, even among major changes in its executive ranks.

In early June, Avaya confirmed that Todd Abbott, senior vice president of sales and marketing and president, field operations, would step down and be replaced by Joel Hackney, former president of Nortel's enteprise business unit.

In late June, Hackney told CRN that Avaya was "high-touch, channel-centric and focused on acceleration."