Avaya's evolution and commitment to innovation
It’s difficult to overstate the transformation that Avaya has seen in the last year.
A global leader in digital communications software, contact centre solutions, and exceptional endpoints, Avaya has long had a reputation for a state-of-the-art UC and collaboration portfolio. However, what really makes this business stand out is their sheer devotion to growth and development, built on a foundation of customer experience (CX).
Avaya is more than just their heritage. In the last year alone, we’ve seen this world class vendor overcome significant challenges to exit Chapter 11, ring the bell and go public in January 2018. Since then, the journey forward for this company has been one of consistent growth, development, and innovation.
In their quest to transform from a hardware-focused company to a vendor capable of delivering scalability and agility through software in the cloud, Avaya hasn’t stopped moving since their acquisition of Spoken this year. When I was invited to come and see the inner mechanisms driving this phenomenal company forward at one of the Avaya R&D labs in EMEA.
When I arrived at the R&D centre, I was greeted by Managing Director Guy Gadnir, and CTO Tamar Barzuza.
The two Avaya professionals sat down with me to discuss the changing nature of the company and the culture that Avaya has been embracing in the last year or so. The Avaya R&D team came from Avaya’s 230 million-dollar Radvision acquisition in 2012, and they have decades of experience creating and enhancing products in the UC and video conferencing markets.
Part of Avaya’s transformation this year has involved embracing new cultural principles in 2018, which concentrate on trust, accountability, teamwork, simplicity, and empowerment. It was quite refreshing to see such a positive cultural change in Avaya, particularly following a challenging year for them in 2017. Today, Avaya continue to reaffirm themselves as huge world-class provider of UC, contact centre solutions and video conferencing alike.
In fact, one thing that sets Avaya apart is the fact that they’re one of very few truly international players in the market. They’re eating their dog food, connecting people from around the world, and becoming a truly agile company.
Exploring product innovation with Guy Gadnir and Tamar Barzuza at Avaya’s R&D department was a pretty amazing experience. The main focus of the portfolio for Avaya right now seems to revolve heavily around the Avaya Equinox UC software platform, which offers everything from team collaboration, to voice, and video messaging on any platform. There’s also the video conferencing infrastructure available through the Avaya Scopia solution, which offers unparalleled video quality, combined with immersive telepresence, conferencing, and interoperability. Not to mention the emerging tech like virtual assistants, AI and IoT.
Avaya also recently announced their CU-360 Collaboration Unit, which essentially allows businesses to transform any office space or conferencing environment into a huddle room. Interestingly, although Avaya is focusing more on software, since the release of Equinox Meetings in January, that doesn’t mean they’ve given up on their hardware solutions. In fact, Avaya is reviving desktop endpoints, with innovative solutions like the new Vantage device and the J-Series endpoints.
While other companies speculate over the sustainability of the IP phone, Avaya is working to prove that the right endpoint can deliver greater functionality and support to the modern business. What’s more, their R&D team are proud to say that everything they create is open and available to access through APIs and SDKs – including the endpoints.
While I was exploring the R&D department with Guy and Tamar, they were kind enough to introduce me to some of their latest developments – including things that aren’t in general release yet. What I saw underlined Avaya’s commitment to innovation and showed me how dedicated they are to delivering measurable success to their customers, in a simple and easy to access way.
One thing I saw was “Screen Link” a wireless conferencing capability which allows users to simply walk into a meeting room and join a conference wireless without the need for an IP link. The system uses an inaudible signal between a laptop and the conferencing equipment to allow users to connect seamlessly within a matter of seconds.
Another exciting concept for me was the Mobile Link function, which allows people to connect their smart device into conference meeting apps. Clients can use their smartphones to tap into a true video conferencing experience with ease. There’s even a feature called “Slider” which allows users to catch up on what’s happened before they joined the meeting. In other words, if you turn up to a conference late and need to make sure you’re not missing any important information, you can simply swipe through the screen on your phone or conference phone and catch up.
Gadnir, Barzuza and the other members of the Avaya R&D team seem to have a strong focus on making sure that Avaya users have the features they need, without any excess complexity. Everything in their system is using the latest H.264 standards and high video quality, so depending on your environmental conditions, you can access fantastic 4K video.
Another point that the R&D team mentioned was that they’re working on better use of bandwidth and compression. Not only does compression in the cloud means you can use your storage space better, but it also enhances the quality of your meetings too. Avaya offers various transcoding options so that customers can choose the best option for end-user quality and performance.
There’s even a range of options available for deploying Avaya solutions. For instance, the company recently introduced Equinox Meetings Online, which will be available this month. The completely cloud-based video conferencing as a service solution means that you can access Equinox in the way that best suits you. Avaya makes transformation easier for people who want to chart their own path to the cloud.
For a while, we’ve talked about how Avaya appears to be going through their own huge digital transformation process. However, my experience at the R&D department proved that it’s not just their digital processes that are evolving – it’s the entire business.
Avaya is becoming a more agile company, with a stronger focus on the needs of their customers, and an incredible ability to adapt to suit those requirements. Avaya R&D starts with the needs of the customer and builds from there, placing creativity, functionality, and simplicity at the heart of everything.
As Tamar Barzuza told me:
“Productisation of innovation is my main measurement of success.”
In other words, it’s not enough for Avaya to simply innovate, they want to make sure that the solutions they create actually have what it takes to go to market and solve consumer challenges.
More to come from my visit to Avaya…