As part of the CTO’s Innovation team at ConvergeOne I get to look at a lot of new technologies, and in turn, often get asked questions about what’s new from Avaya. With Aura 8 debuting last year it’s often the topic of conversation, and I hear opinions that are sometimes at the two extreme’s – some folks only seeing more of the same with no compelling need to upgrade while others are excited about new features and possibilities. As usual, I find the truth somewhere in the middle. I think that the reasons for different perspectives are found in the priorities and challenges unique to each organization. I also find that most folks can find common ground in several areas.
- More of the same can be good
Among phone system vendors Avaya has an unmatched history and heritage. From ATT to Bell Labs to the present Avaya badge, there is a continuity and reliability that we Avaya users have come to expect, and Aura 8 brings incremental improvements to existing products. For instance, CM gets expanded trunk sizing to accommodate the scale offered by SIP, as well as the ability for a signaling group to reference multiple far end IP destinations to simplify and enhance failover.
- Application refreshes bring new options
While the core upgrades focus on continuing to increase and refine reliability, resiliency, and capacity, a significant change has taken place around the edges.
The ESNA/OfficeLinx acquisition has completed its migration into the Aura portfolio with WebLM licensing, System Manager provisioning, and product integrations across the board. This feature-rich messaging platform will be replacing Aura Messaging on Avaya’s future roadmaps under the name IX Messaging.
IM and presence, once separate entities with an “add on” feel are now brought together on the common Breeze platform along with a Breeze based Attendant console that takes an entirely new approach to enterprise incoming call handling.
The desktop has been revamped as well with the new J and K series hardphones, and softphones offers have truly converged on SIP with the UC Equinox client using a common code base across Microsoft, Apple, IOS, and Android operating systems. Contact Center soft clients have lagged in the past forcing many companies to maintain legacy H.322 endpoints, but with Aura 8 the Avaya Agent for Desktop (AAfD) brings full-featured SIP to the CC side as well.
- Strategic change – focus on deliverability and Cloud
While core feature and adjunct updates may be impactful to the enterprise, I feel that the third and perhaps least visible area of Avaya’s focus may, in the long run, encourage the greatest industry transformation.
With the release of Aura 8, Avaya has made two critical strategic decisions to facilitate the movement of premise-based systems to the Cloud. Firstly, applications which have long been deployable only on proprietary Avaya Platforms (System Platform and Avaya Virtualization Platform) have suddenly been certified to run on Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Cloud architecture as well as enterprise level platforms such as Nutanix and KVM. Secondly, along with these infrastructure changes Avaya has provided partners with the ability to license the Aura 8 Suite in real time based on usage rather than traditional purchase and support model. The combination of these two capabilities enables partners to move to the next level in providing cloud services, and both Avaya and other business partners are stepping up their game. From my experience, our ConvergeOne Customer Experience (C1CX) Cloud offerings have significantly benefited – a low cost, feature-rich POC or small Aura 8 deployment can now be completed in weeks. This allows customers to experience the new features and capabilities of the latest Avaya release without drawn-out implementations or long term commitments.