Avaya Brings Communications to the Cloud With Zang

The new subsidiary is rolling out a platform that can be used for cloud-based collaboration and for building communications apps.

cloud communications

Avaya is moving deeper into the cloud with a new communications platform that not only offers customers ways to more easily collaborate but also enables developers to quickly develop collaboration applications.

In addition, the company has expanded and rebranded its DevConnect development platform for building unified communications (UC)-enabled apps and is launching an online store for business communications apps.

Avaya officials announced the moves this week during the Enterprise Connect 2016 conference in Orlando, Fla., saying the announcement of the Zang cloud communications platform and Breeze development solution are part of a larger push by the company to rapidly expand the capabilities and reach of its collaboration technologies.

"This marks an important milestone in the execution of Avaya's vision and strategy," Gary Barnett, senior vice president and general manager of Avaya Engagement Solutions, wrote about Zang in a post on the company's blog. "Our vision is of Avaya Everywhere: embedding communications capabilities into as many apps and mobile devices as we can."

UC and collaboration technologies continue to move into the cloud as businesses demand more flexibility, scalability and cost efficiency in their environments, and most vendors are making pushes into the cloud to meet those demands. Synergy Research Group analysts in a recent report said that in the fourth quarter of 2015, revenues from hosted and cloud solutions grew 10 percent over the same period last year, while revenues from on-premises-based systems fell 3 percent.

With Zang, Avaya not only is rolling out a cloud-based platform, but also is making it easier to create the apps for the platform or that can be embedded into other applications.

The last part is particularly interesting, according to Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research.

"It's my firm belief that users do not want more UC applications," Kerravala wrote in a post on the No Jitter blog site. "Everyone has enough of them, and switching between business and UC applications is frustrating on a desktop but completely untenable on a mobile device. UC needs to evolve into a platform that enables companies to drop UC functions into the applications we already use. Picture a retail application in which I could click to call, message, or video directly from the application instead of having to leave the application, go to a dialer, initiate a call ... and then go back to the application when the call is done."

Avaya is making Zang a subsidiary of the larger company, with the key application components being the communications platform-as-a-service, application development environments, embedded applications and persistent spaces application, Avaya's Barnett wrote in his blog.

"Smart apps built on Zang allow people to define how they want to work and connect," he wrote, noting click-to-connect communications that includes video, chat, SMS, voice and document sharing from mobile devices, desktops or the Web. "Unlike other solutions that offer rudimentary APIs, Zang's highly interoperable platform provides complete workflow automation and sophisticated application development capabilities."

Through those features, developers and users can run Zang apps with communications apps like those from Spark from Cisco Systems, Microsoft's Skype for Business and Google Hangouts, he wrote. While the apps can be embedded into other applications, they also can be used stand-alone. The platform also comes with software development kits (SDKs), sample apps and the ability to use third-party communications apps.

With Breeze, Avaya is rolling out the next generation of its Avaya Engagement Development Platform that makes app development easy to use. In addition, the company's Snapp Store will be a marketplace for communications apps built by third parties for Breeze.

Breeze includes an open framework, a development platform that can help drive down the amount of time needed to build new workflow-based applications from months to hours or days, and open connectors and APIs for easier integration with existing enterprise communications services.