Enterprise Connect: Avaya still

Avaya again is a Diamond Sponsor this year. In fact, turn your head in any direction in any location in the convention center and you’ll likely see a scarlet banner, be it about the Flare or something else. The walkway to the Enterprise Connect floor has Avaya signs decked out on both sides, plus a couple of giant LCDs repeatedly playing a promo video of the Flare experience. I’m dubbing that place “The Sacred Avaya Hall.” The only thing missing are marketing people standing alongside the hall chanting in unison “Flaaare, Flaaaaaare, Flaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare” as you walk by.

Flaaare, Flaaaaaaaare, Flaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaare

As much as Flare is getting most of the publicity here, Deb Kline (Sr. Manager, PR), Tara Mahoney (General Manager, ACE) and Jorge Blanco (VP Product Marketing) stayed grounded in my briefing. Because of the timing of our meeting, we weren’t able to visit the Avaya pavilion for any demos. Instead we huddled inside a room, around a conference table, where they showed me how Avaya fights “CTI fatigue” plaguing companies.

First, a core dedication to SIP. This is the foundation of everything Avaya does these days. No SIP, no talk. Aura is the underlying communications platform to extend into SIP in order to support UC and contact center solutions.

Next, advocate Web services when dealing with interfaces. This means publishing APIs that are RESTful and standardized. In today’s world everybody knows how to deal with the Web, right? The company has a product with a catchy name — Agile Communication Environment, or ACE — to address this. This layer provides the hooks into third party solutions and enables developers to customize interfaces. Blanco aptly described this approach as one with the least disruption to the enterprise.

So with all these commitments to openness and transparency, why hasn’t Avaya joined the UCIF? My question didn’t draw out many comments about this forum, except that Avaya’s still in a holding pattern to see how things develop. But it isn’t the only major company in the waiting room — Cisco and IBM have yet to endorse the cause with their membership, either.

Avaya booth at Enterprise Connect 2011

Avaya’s developer-friendly open strategy has produced fruitful results such as enabling SkypeConnect to latch onto Avaya Aura. Skype and Avaya’s love affair will create a market force worth attention. Skype and Avaya also share some private equity DNA, so having them both at the show almost seems like them ganging up on others.

Is it a fair fight? Well, all’s fair in love and UC.


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