By Larry Foster, Head of Product Strategy
I just returned from Avaya ENGAGE 2018 in New Orleans. For the last several years, I left the event feeling energized about the innovation announcements as well learning about best practices for the communications technology industry.
No surprise though, digital transformation was the resounding theme this year and I got to see some of these exciting technological breakthroughs firsthand.
Similar to the recap I created for the 2017 Avaya ENGAGE conference, below I have shared my insights from this year’s conference.
The primary take-away from IAUG this year is that Avaya’s single-minded focus is to be a global cloud-first company. Avaya opened the conference with the announcement of its acquisition of Spoken Communications. Since Spoken is a cloud-based platform built upon Avaya technology, there won’t be the typical post-acquisition technology rationalization. This particular acquisition was akin to a significant new product announcement.
I couldn’t help but recall that it wasn’t too many years back at an IAUG conference that Avaya was trying to persuade everyone that it was transforming its heritage from branding as a world-class hardware company to become a software company. This year their CFO announced that over 80% of their revenue derives from software and services. For a technology company with decades of experience selling hardware to transform their business model that quickly to a software company, makes accepting their visionary and roadmap statements announced this year more palatable.
They will still offer premise and hybrid solutions because they know that cloud is just one facet of a modern organization’s infrastructure. This transformation was ignited by their acquisition of Zang a few years back which gave them a new Communications Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS) for partners and Avaya to innovate solutions.
Avaya went through several live examples of how organizations can now configure cloud-based IVRs, activate and reconfigure call centers within minutes using a simple web browser interface. They also went through some pretty cool examples of how embedded artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning combined with natural language processing (NLP) is leveraged to examine voice communications in real time, automatically initiate escalations based on real time analysis of tone and tenor of the conversation and transform voice data streams into text. Avaya demonstrated some examples of how this combination of technology eliminates a lot of the post-translation and documentation work required today for call center operators.
The latest novelty that caught my attention was used throughout the event by every attendee. It was a smart implementation of the “Internet of Things” or IoT. We keep reading how there will be more than 20 billion active IoT devices by 2020. Avaya wants the world to think of them as the “dial tone for IoT.” Using IoT, Avaya demonstrated another incarnation of how IoT will enable our lives by eliminating many time consuming tedious tasks. Everyone that attended the Avaya event received a “smart badge” which they titled “Klik Badge.” These IoT devices enabled an automated transfer of contact information by having two or more people press their badge button at the same time. This tool eliminates the need to carry around business cards and the use of paper registrations at each booth.
On a separate note, I hosted a session called “Become a UC Performance Leader in Your Organization: The Analytics You Need to Know”. Attendees got to see firsthand how a large customer within the financial services industry uses Calero Insight Analytics to create strategic impact within the organization.
Overall, I walked away from the conference enjoying my time learning from fellow practitioners and keynotes. From what I saw, the future of communication experience is here no doubt.
To learn more about the power of Calero’s Insight Analytics solution, click here.