The Integrated Roadmap from Avaya addresses Enterprise customers through 4 of their solution segments, namely; Unified Communications, Contact Center, Data and Services. The Unified Communications portfolio includes the Enterprise Voice solutions from both Avaya and Nortel as well as the Unified Communications solutions. Unified Communications has received a lot of attention over the past few years with Cisco and Microsoft positioned as widely accepted leaders. With the Unified Communications Integrated Roadmap, Avaya clearly needs to be included as a Unified Communications leader.
There are numerous definitions for Unified Communications but all have common ground in integrating multiple forms of communications into a common user experience resulting in productivity and business process improvements. The Avaya architecture for Unified Communications starts with the Avaya Aura Architecture.
Avaya Aura is comprised of a number of pieces coming from Avaya, Nortel as well as integration between the two solution families. (Red = Avaya, Blue = Nortel, Purple = Both)
The strategy revolves around the use of industry standards to create a multi-vendor Unified Communications system that can be deployed at different paces based on each customer’s specific needs and current infrastructures. Session Initiated Protocol (SIP), Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) are the 3 key standards enabled in the Unified Communications Roadmap. Why is this important when considering Unified Communications? Although this can lead to a very detailed conversation, let’s look at 4 key components of the solution.
Avaya Session Manager – is a core piece of the Avaya Aura Architecture. It essentially sits on top of a customer’s existing voice infrastructure and provides SIP services. If you are a current Nortel or Avaya PBX customer, you can upgrade to recent software releases that enable SIP to gain maximum benefit. To accommodate older voice infrastructures or other manufacturer systems, you can also deploy SIP Gateways between your PBX and Session Manager to enable SIP Services. Once Session Manager is deployed, you then have choice to deploy additional devices on your existing environment or SIP devices directly with Session Manager while preserving many features.
Avaya Agile Communications Environment – or ACE, comes from Nortel Enterprise and is a SOA platform that delivers communications capabilities to business systems. “Click-to-Communicate” is a term used to deliver communications controls within business applications and business processes. “Click-to-Communicate” functions can work with directories eliminating the need to look up a person’s contact details then type their phone number of your telephone to initiate a call. You could simply hover your mouse over their name, right-click and choose how you want to establish a session with that person. This type of functionality can be extended to a wide variety of business applications.
Avaya Presence Server – leverages XMPP to interoperate with Microsoft OCS, IBM SameTime and other Presence Systems. It captures “On-the-Phone” status and shares that presence state with federated Presence Systems. It also allows for Instant Messaging to occur between Microsoft Office Communicator users and Avaya One-X users giving choice on how you can deploy the client interface.
Avaya One-X Clients – Much work is planned for the Avaya One-X Client for 2010 to extend its capabilities across the integrated roadmap. I believe it will be very important to watch for these developments and if/how the One-X Clients can be extended out to mobile devices including Blackberry, iPhone, Palm Pre and Android. A key Return on Investment (ROI) with Unified Communications is simplification and cost reductions for the mobile user. A consistent user interface regardless of the user device will be a key step in achieving a strong Mobile UC ROI.
Unified Communications will remain a very popular topic over coming years and the Avaya UC Roadmap has them well positioned to satisfy the needs of their install base customers while also providing value and choice for new customers that desire an open standards-based approach. Lots of work will be done by all UC market participants so it should be another interesting year for Unified Communications.
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