Avaya is building its Unified Communications platform on a massive patents portfolio.
Avaya is continuing to sharpen its focus on unified communications
technology with the announcement the
government has recently
approved patents for a several new UC software components.
With these grants, 60 percent of Avaya's
patent portfolio is in the UC
UC enables enterprises to integrate their various communications systems,
office phones, PBXs, mobile devices and PCs into a single platform using Web
interfaces and VOIP (voice over IP).
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This in turn enables tighter integration of communications applications that
are essential business tools, including, e-mail, voice mail, instant messaging,
calendar, contacts and collaboration applications.
It also allows enterprises to deploy and integrate more advanced forms of
communications including voice and video telephony, video conferencing, voice
and video mail, instance messaging and telepresence.
Among the recently approved patents is technology that supports an
application that augments calendar reminder systems by accessing information
that allows the system to estimate the time users must leave their desks to
arrive at a meeting on time.
Another patent covers software that creates a "ring back" audio file that
informs callers about the location or activity of the persons they are trying
to reach. A third patent covers the technology that automatically adjusts
speech compression levels to help speech data packets travel efficiently over
voice and data networks while preserving high sound quality, even at times when
the networks are congested.
All told, Avaya holds more than 4,400 patents worldwide that have either
been granted or are pending for various business communications technologies,
according to Stuart C. Wells, senior vice president of Avaya's Global
Communication Solutions, in
patent portfolio alone has 40
percent growth over the past five years, he said.
However, the announcement of these patent grants doesn't signal that Avaya
is about to embark on a wave of patent enforcement litigation, Wells said. Companies
generally obtain patents as a defensive measure to protect their technology
portfolio, Wells said. Nor is this announcement a sign, he said, that Avaya
feels its technology is under any particular attack or threat from competing
Instead, it's a demonstration of Avaya's commitment to assembling the
technology to support its UC platform and the effort that has gone into
building the patent portfolio, he said.
A number of large enterprises are deploying Avaya UC technology to try to
streamline communications throughout their global operations.
For example, Redback Networks, a subsidiary of communications and technology
giant Ericsson, is deploying Avaya UC technology to make it easier for its
large mobile work force to keep in touch with headquarters.
Avaya worked with BrantTel Networks to integrate its existing Avaya
Intelligent Communications systems with Microsoft Office Communicator desktop
applications. Redback Networks also added the Avaya one-X
application that makes cell phones an extension of the corporate network.
To integrate these two systems, Redback installed the Avaya Application
Enablement Services server. The combined system gives workers access to a range
of communication services through Microsoft Windows on their PCs or laptops.
With Microsoft Office Communicator, workers can see when colleagues are
available for an instant message session or a live telephone conversation. The
Windows interface provides the ability to "click to call" colleagues whose
names are displayed in buddy lists, e-mails or network directories.
However, some smaller customers who use a variety of Avaya communications
products are not yet in a position to deploy full-scale unified communications.
For example, the
in the greater
region is using
Avaya's VOIP technology along with IVR [Interactive Voice Response] and
Automated Call Distribution systems, said Ed Woo, the county's deputy CIO.
The county's tax collection and election call centers are using ACD and IVR,
while the county's Employment and Human Services Division is using the ACD
system, Woo said.
IVR cuts down the amount of time and effort it takes county residents to
reach the right office or official that can provide the service they are
looking for, Woo said. ACD is similarly designed to help speed up call
processing and reduce the amount of time residents spend on hold before they
reach the right official.
Woo said the county was interested in possibly upgrading to Avaya's UC when
the county put out a request for proposals to replace its aging Octel voice
mail system. Avaya bought out Octel several years ago.
However, Woo said that the county was not able to upgrade to Avaya's Modular
Messaging system because it doesn't readily integrate with the county's
existing Harris, Toshiba and Siemens switches, he said. Instead, the county
upgraded to a voice messaging system from Applied Voice & Speech