Avaya Partner Event

by Dave Michels

Last week, Avaya held its Partner event in Las Vegas. There was surprisingly little coverage of the Avaya event, but here is what I’ve pieced together.

  • New Channel Chief Karl Soderlund, appointed last month, of course he wants a new channel. Avaya told CRN that it believes it is under distributed. The remedy involves plans to cut 1,000 under-performing channel partners (1,200 cut last year) and mount a big recruitment effort for new partners. Nothing really new here – if the channel would do their job sales would be higher. It’s a familiar tune being sung by most of the industry. Of course there is merit to this strategy, but I think there is some confusion around cause and symptoms. Nortel dealers watch out for the cleansing.
  • Recently, Avaya acquired Aurix, Sipera, and Konftel. It is good to see these acquisitions, but there seems to be a disconnect between what Avaya is doing and what Avaya is saying. Aurix brings speech analytic capabilities presumably geared at contact centers. Aurix allows a user to type text to trigger the playback of a specific recording. Sipera is SBC technology which is a bit late for a company that has been positioning around SIP for three plus years now. Konftel brings audio conferencing technology that Avaya intends to incorporate across its endpoint portfolio. However, when you listen to Avaya, the messaging is about call control and video.   Kevin Kennedy said “real time call control has evolved, it is no longer just a function for voice media; video and text also now require realtime call control.”  I am hearing, but not seeing what the company is saying. What’s the strategy around SOA and WOA? Where’s the consumerization? What’s happening with DevConnect? They may indeed be talking about these things…but I can’t tell.
  • Flare? The Flare experience has been a big part of Avaya’s user experience story for over a year now. The last time I was in Vegas, at Interop Spring, Avaya announced its Flare experience was soon coming to the iPhone and iPad. The company’s Desktop Video Device is the only endpoint Avaya offers that supports video. Since the company is talking up video and consumer devices – I foolishly expected some visible progress at last week’s event. Microsoft, Polycom, Cisco, are rapidly progressing their video stories. Yet, there is not much to see in Avaya’s video story. Still no iPhone client, still no Android client, and still no additional video endpoints. At that same Interop, I did a video session on an iPhone in the SEN booth. Radvision also has a nice IOS offer, and of course Skype and Apple have nice mobile video solutions. Polycom, just last month announced (and this really surprised me), the first HD video solution on an Android consumer device. Avaya claims its Flare experience for the iPhone is in process at Apple.
Currently in UC, the operative word is ‘ecosystem.’ And Avaya was there early with it DevConnect program. Usually the key messaging around partner events is the ecosystem, its importance and path. Did I miss it?