Avaya Unveils Solution Roadmaps for 2021

Avaya is planning new features and availability for its cloud, collaboration and contact center solutions in 2021. “Our goal is to help your organization thrive in the new unscripted and unscheduled economy,” said Steve Forcum, Avaya chief technologist, in his keynote talk, “Driving Customer Support and Success,” at IAUG WIRED, the association’s May 20 virtual conference.

Forcum said Avaya is addressing three challenges facing enterprises around the world: moving the workforce from offices to homes, maintaining connectivity and meeting unprecedented levels of demand on contact centers.  “We worked with a regional grocery store that was flooded with calls from customers, asking about hours, facemasks and other questions,” Forcum said. “We built an IVR in the cloud that let consumers get answers without a live agent. That cut call volume to the stores by 30 percent, freeing up their employees to assist customers and keep the shelves stocked.”

Looking to the coming months, Forcum provided WIRED attendees with a briefing on the roadmaps for Avaya Cloud Office, Avaya Spaces and Avaya Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS).

Avaya Cloud Office, developed with RingCentral, makes it easy and fast for users to communicate on their terms, said Forcum. Users can call, chat, meet, and collaborate from anywhere using any device with one app.  “Currently, email is the default channel for communications, just because it’s easy,” he said. “Deskphones have many features, but aren’t mobile like cellphones – plus every device has its own number. So, we make collaboration as easy as email.”

With Avaya Could Office, which went live on March 31, users have a single phone number and voice mailbox, synchronized across all devices. Users can set up a video conference bridge, sharing desktops and recording video calls for future playback, he said. 

“Avaya Cloud Office can reduce total cost of ownership, and boost workforce productivity, while eliminating the business risk of shifting from on-premise to the cloud,” Forcum added. “We have an aggressive roadmap for this platform.”

This summer, Avaya plans to expand availability to Canada, the UK and Australia, and continue its global rollout later in the year. It will support new devices and features like “call park & page.”  The roadmap includes private lines, shared lines and visual voicemail planned for winter 2020.

Avaya Spaces is the cornerstone of Avaya’s response to the global pandemic, said Forcum “It works like other videoconferencing solutions, with streamlined tools to conduct meetings and drive projects,” he said. “It’s a business-grade tool with strong security features that make it nearly impossible for someone to crash your meeting.”

Currently, Avaya Spaces supports up to 500 participants and includes features like synching to individual calendars.  “It’s a virtual meeting platform that lets you integrate the front office with knowledge workers and your customers to get the work done,” he said.

Enhancements coming this summer include virtual and blurred backgrounds, noise mitigation, virtual assistants and enhanced APIs and application integrations.  Later in the year, Avaya Spaces will expand video meeting capacity to 1,000 parties and offer in-app dialing, among other features.

Avaya Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) is a cloud-based customer engagement platform that incorporates voice as well as all the digital channels. It supports skill-based routing and other features to support agents and customers, with a consumption-based model so organizations only pay for the agents they use.

“We have embedded Avaya Conversational Intelligence (ACI) in this platform,” Forcum said. “ACI detects questions and suggests answers to the agents, saving time and improving service. It allows agents to bring in supervisors in real time and solve customer issues when they’re happening. After the call, ACI delivers transcripts to your CRM, making agents happier because they don’t have to type in their notes.”

Avaya’s roadmap for CCaaS includes new digital channels, leaderboards, chatbots, multi-device supports, call flow designer, expanded CRM integrations and availability to the UK and Ireland. “We want to provide a consistent agent experience on premise or in the cloud,” he added.

Summing up these offerings, Forcum said Avaya gives organizations a choice of on-premise and cloud models, adding, “We can help you take the next steps in your journey.”

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