Avaya is taking its multiple unified communications and conferencing products and putting them onto a single collaboration platform.
The move to consolidate the vendor's various communications applications and interfaces—including the Scopia video conferencing technology inherited when Avaya bought Radvision four years ago and its Aura audio and web conferencing capabilities—onto a single platform called Avaya Equinox is designed to solve the ongoing challenge facing employees have in juggling multiple applications for collaboration.
Equinox can be used on desktop PCs, laptops or other mobile devices and also is available on a new desktop device called Vantage. In addition, Avaya is hooking the platform into its Breeze development solution by enabling organizations to customize their Equinox platform based on vertical or employee needs via the Breeze Client software-development kit (SDK).
The new platform is designed to improve the user experience by enabling users to do what they want via a single click, said Laura Bassett, director of marketing, customer and team engagement solutions at Avaya.
"Not long ago, we had separate devices for voice calls (desktop or mobile phones), faxes (a box off in the corner), printing (possibly another box off in the corner), emailing and web searches (desktop or laptop), video conferencing (another room entirely), and the list goes on," Bassett wrote in a post on the company blog. "Want to call someone? Look them up in your Outlook Contacts, PDA or Rolodex, then dial 10 digits or maybe hit speed-dial. Want to share a document? Email it or overnight it by FedEx. A videoconference? Go down the hall and spend an hour getting set up."
With Equinox, "virtually every interaction is just one click away—on whatever device I choose. Want to contact someone? Click on her icon in the directory and IM her to see if she’s available," she wrote. "If so, <click>, moves from IM to a voice or video conversation. Want to add a colleague to the discussion? Drag his icon into the session to invite him to the conversation—'Press 1 if you’d like to join.'"
Unified communications (UC) vendors for years have been working to improve the user experience, saying that studies have shown that if employees find a collaboration or video conferencing difficult to use, overly complex or time-consuming, they won't return to it. In most instances now, employees have to use multiple applications that Avaya officials said usually takes two to three steps to get running and requires them to leave the business application they were working on.
Equinox is designed to merge those communication application infrastructures and cloud-based services, officials said. With the platform, workers have a single place to see what meetings are scheduled, any updated messages and the communications options. In addition, along with being available on multiple devices, users can leverage the WebRTC technology to access the technology via an HTML5 web browser, without the need of downloads or plug-ins. Equinox also can be embedded within business processes or applications.
The platform delivers high-definition video and voice communications, with one number that can be reached from any device. Users also can use multiple devices. Other capabilities include persistent, multimedia messaging for text, audio, video, images and files, so a communication started on a desktop device in the morning can be picked up again on a mobile device at lunch, officials said. Event streaming to 100,000 users also is possible.
"The vision for unified communications has always been a streamlined, user and IT-friendly experience that enables work to proceed without disruption," Gary Barnett, senior vice president and general manager for engagement solutions at Avaya, said in a statement. "Integrating the wide variety of forms and methods of communication into a single flow has been an unmet challenge—until now."
Equinox is slated to be generally available this quarter, with the advanced conferencing capability coming in the first quarter 2017.