Broadband, 4G Opening the Network Fast Lane to Consumers, Enterprises
In fact, another of those big companies, Avaya—one of the Mama Bell spinoffs from the 1980s—is making some huge changes in its effort to break out of the pack of networking competitors. Once known as a "nice little PBX company," according to Avaya CEO Kevin Kennedy, the long-time New Jersey-based company has moved its headquarters to Silicon Valley. This is partly to show the industry that Avaya is morphing into an IT software and services provider to go with its still-strong PBX business. "About 65 percent of our revenues are something other than hardware," Kennedy told eWEEK. "We're not the company that people remember. You'll see us in contact centers, which is very important; secondly, video has become increasingly important to us. We're creating a stack [of middleware] that is optimized for multichannel communications. "It's less horizontal movement and more building a stack that is more efficient for customers," he said.It doesn't hurt that Silicon Valley is still the richest location in the world in terms of software development, IT system architects and venture capital. As it carries out its plans to grow into a more broad-scale networking and services provider, Avaya expects future competitors to include the likes of Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks and others in the global networking market. That will be personally interesting for Kennedy, who was a Cisco executive for many years and has hired about a dozen former Cisco colleagues to help enact the changeover. What will be the result of these various converging trends in enterprise working, as the latest advanced networking technology integration into hardware and software, as more functionality gets crammed into smaller and yet more powerful containers, the high-speed wireless industry is following the exact same technological track. In fact, as exemplified by Avaya and Cisco Systems, the lines between the two industries are blurring greatly.
Major corporations rarely move their headquarters, but Avaya did so because "over time, we will become a middleware layer for the communication stacks for the world," Kennedy said. "If you want to acquire great talent that moves you to an application software world, this is where you hire the leadership and the technical talent. It's not much more complicated than that."