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11/3/2009
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VoiceCon 2009: Avaya Aims For Voice 2.0

The company is aiming to combine the control and archival nature of e-mail with voice, instant messaging, and social networking capabilities.

During Tuesday's keynote speech at VoiceCon San Francisco 2009, Avaya's Dr. Alan Baratz said that in order for enterprises to plan for their next generation of business communications infrastructure, businesses must first analyze which types of communication tools are most effective for achieving their goals.

Baratz, Avaya's senior VP of global communications solutions, divided the needs of business communications into two categories: those needing rich, lasting engagements such as conference calls, and short, immediate exchanges that can be executed via Twitter, SMS, or an instant message. A business' communication infrastructure must be able to handle the two types in a well-integrated fashion in order to deal with what Baratz calls Voice 2.0. Part of the challenge will be taking the familiar control one has over e-mail and applying it to other communications vehicles.

"In the near future, communications will easily convert voice to text across platforms and devices, so what works best for the sender also works best for the recipient," Baratz said. "Users will have more control and be able to include attachments to real-time conversations which can subsequently be archived and searched by topic."

Avaya released its Aura infrastructure about five months ago, and the company is planning the second version of its SIP-based platform later this month. The latest version of Aura will come with more features that can deliver a quicker return on investment, Baratz said. Those features may include centralized dialing, trunking lines, and enabling users to register and auto-register devices. Avaya specifically designed the Aura platform to make it easier for an enterprise to connect and manage its telecom equipment centrally, he said.

"It's not about everything, it's about the right set with the right controls," said Baratz.

Looking forward, Baratz said the company is working on reinventing the telephone itself by producing a chameleon-like device that can take on the properties of a desktop PC, mobile phone, video conference equipment, desktop phone, and other communications equipment. Avaya will reveal more details on this hardware in the next six to nine months.

"It's hardware without personality purely under software control," Baratz says. "You can turn it into a variety of endpoint devices."

Baratz said that Google, Yahoo, and Skype have done a better job integrating voice, video, and IM than many enterprise-facing companies, and Avaya will work to develop an alliance with a well-known brand name IM company to develop an enterprise-grade IM product. He did not elaborate on when this product is expected to be announced.


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