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Avaya CEO talks competition, debt, innovation

Tim Greene | April 1, 2013
Avaya is pushing a new range of unified communications products, but is finding that managed services are becoming more popular among its customers who would rather turn over complex UC transitions to someone else for a predictable monthly fee, says the company's CEO Kevin Kennedy.

Are there inherent advantages in having the former Nortel gear in terms of performance of Avaya applications running on the infrastructure?

No. Number 1 we did not buy Nortel for the product portfolio although there were aspects of the product portfolio that helped us accelerate the Avaya road map. There are cases where Nortel customers benefit. So for example we've embedded a special silicon in things like our IP Office so that we can support either a Nortel phone or an Avaya phone of the past. We are somewhat differentiated in being able to take any one of those bases, upgrade the switching technology and it's very seamless. But in the end probably the most compelling thing is that we have the specialists that can migrate people from an old Nortel release to a new Nortel release that's SIP enabled and now that take that to an Aura or an Avaya. That migration is easiest done by ourselves.

What does Avaya have to offer in terms of UC apps that can support BYOD devices?

The RADVISION products basically take and put onto your iPad, your iPhone, your Android devices, whatever's going on in conference rooms. You download the app off of iTunes, it takes less than about a minute and a half and you can be up and running. A great example: we're taking a corporate enterprise activity and you're putting it into a BYOD environment. Our Flare and one-X products are all products that run on Macs on Windows and on pads and phones. Just about all of our unified communication or video applications run in a bring-your-own-device world. Notwithstanding the fact that I mentioned this morning that roughly for every hard phone that we sell we activate two software clients on a mobile device. So we are very much in the BYOD, from a numerical standpoint, mode. Four to five years ago this was primarily a hard phone environment. Our hard phones continue to grow in terms of sales but we now are ending up selling or activating these client software devices to go on your mobile devices. That's a significant shift. Where there was none there's many. There's another layer of the architecture that is very BYOD centric which is this identity engine. This is a policy-based management tool that allows you to segregate your LAN and VLAN infrastructure. Segregate it and then have policies and filters associated with specific devices and specific people. The ability for you to walk in as a guest, self-register, have access to the Internet but not have access to anything the enterprise would not want you to have access to is something that gets facilitated by this. My real point is BYOD is not just a video or a unified communications client story it is also married into the ease with which we can help people do BYOD as an overlay into your networking environment.


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