Category Archives: Avaya

Make Calling as Easy as Email

My office is wherever I setup my laptop, and many times I skip the laptop and depend solely on my mobile phone. This video shows how Avaya mobility solutions make it easy to keep your mobile workforce engaged.

Make Calling As Easy as Email from Steve Forcum on Vimeo.

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Santa on Security

One of the most overlooked aspects of Santa’s operation doesn’t happen on the 25th of December. While delivering millions of gifts to the good little boys and girls of the world is an amazing feat, the real work happens year round. What, do you ask, am I speaking of?

If you’ve ever listened closely to the Christmas Carol “Santa Claus is Coming To Town”, you know exactly what I mean.

You better watch out

You better not cry

Better not pout

I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town

 

He’s making a list

And checking it twice

Gonna find out Who’s naughty and nice

Santa Claus is coming to town

 

He sees you when you’re sleeping

He knows when you’re awake

He knows if you’ve been bad or good

So be good for goodness sake!

 

O! You better watch out!

You better not cry

Better not pout

I’m telling you why

Santa Claus is coming to town

Santa Claus is coming to town

Security is paramount to Santa’s operation. How does Santa monitor the behavior of all of the world’s children, not to mention protect the Secret of Santa as he navigates living rooms in the dark?

Let me introduce you to SantaNET. SantaNET is a network of IP Video Surveillance cameras which allow’s Santa’s security team to monitor the behavior of every child around the world. Exhibiting good manners at the dinner table can help a child find their way onto the nice list. If you break the rules however, and you’ll end up with coal in your stocking.

The Little Billy Incident of 2016

If it was going to happen, of course it would happen in 2016. Santa has already had his hands full, reviewing the naughty and nice list. While Santa was in his workshop, little Billy Jones purposefully put chewing gum in his sister Molly’s hair. What should have resulted in an instant ticket to the naughty list was missed because SantaNET was off-line. Unable to properly evaluate the evidence of Billy’s intent, Santa had no recourse but to put Billy on the check twice list for next year.

After a thorough investigation, the elves discovered the outage was a result of a Spanning Tree convergence on SantaNET, which resulted in the video surveillance cameras missing Billy’s transgression. As the network began to heal itself, with each protocol re-assembling itself, Billy was able to get away. The entire outage cost the Santa organization almost 30 minutes of coverage, and earned Billy an ill-gotten holiday gift.

With his busy season over, Santa began looking for a solution to ensure this never happened again.

More Than Just a Utility

As it turns out, flying a magical sleigh around the world overnight is easier than running video surveillance on an IP based network. Video Surveillance is a very heavy application which wreaks havoc on traditional networks using stacks of protocols. As Santa met with different vendors, he quickly found that almost everyone’s answer to the “Billy problem” included adding more ports and bandwidth to the existing network—which did little more than add expense to Santa’s operation.

Santa then contacted his Video Surveillance provider, who recommended an SDNfx networking solution from Avaya. They explained that Avaya’s approach was different than the other network providers, which would deliver benefits to Santa’s operation. Instead of building networks using the unreliable protocols, which caused the network outage, Avaya developed a new, standards based protocol called Shortest Path Bridging. Shortest Path Bridging creates a network fabric, which meant changes to the network became automated. This meant adding cameras to the network was faster than ever, and elf error would never again miss a single moment. The “Flight Recorder” function documented any unexpected errors, which would help Santa’s helpers to react, respond and prevent repeated issues. While his deliveries were completed on the 25th, Santa couldn’t afford downtime during implementation. Since Avaya could deploy SDNfx on top of the existing SantaNET, the elves could deliver reliability to the video surveillance application without ripping and replacing their network.

Santa’s operation reaped the benefits of sophisticated simplicity, unrivaled stability and flexible deployment options by choosing Avaya Networking. Santa marked Avaya on the nice list, while Billy found himself with an overdue delivery of coal.

Want to learn more? Contact your Avaya business partner or leave a comment below..

Equinox…Assemble!

In the movie Iron Man, Tony Stark struggled against his former friend and business partner, Obadiah Stain, as the Iron Monger, to save the world from a hostile force equipped with his armor. At the end of the film, Nick Fury visited Tony and informed him of “the Avengers Initiative.” Over the course of multiple films, Nick Fury’s organization, S.H.I.E.L.D, began assembling a collection of super heroes with specific talents.

Individually these super heroes could fight their own battles, against enemies who their skill set aligned with*. Iron Man defeated Iron Monger, who tried to replicate his armor for evil purposes. Captain America fought the Red Skull, who like Steve Rogers was enhanced with the Super Soldier serum. Thor learned humility from Earth, and was rewarded with renewed access to Mjolnir to defeat Asgardian technology. Bruce Banner, as the Hulk, was able to defeat the Abomination, who also was given super strength from Gamma radiation.

Each hero defeated an enemy whose power matched their own. Nick Fury envisioned a time when an enemy would be too strong, or incompatible for one superhero’s powers. To solve this challenge, the strengths of multiple heroes would be required. In the movie the Avengers, we learned how a team of superheroes with specific skills could come together and blend those powers to beat an undefeatable enemy from the far reaches of the universe.

In the Avaya universe, we’ve had a string of superhero stories. Let me introduce you to them.

Scopia Desktop, a superhero video conferencing application whose superpower is the ability to instantly teleport teammates, suppliers and customers to a face to face meeting. Scopia Desktop defeated its hated rival, Budget Buster who’s evil powers made expense budgets explode.

Avaya Aura Conferencing, with it’s super strength to support hundreds of people talking and collaborating on documents with a single bridge was legendary. With that kind of power, it’s no wonder the nefarious TimeWaster couldn’t keep slowing down productivity and decision making.

When Captain Complexity and the Inbox Attachment Assassins, whose evil led to different apps and inboxes stuffed to the gills with shared files. The dynamic duo of Avaya Communicator, whose simple and consistent user interface made communicating easy, and its trusty sidekick Avaya MutliMedia Messaging, who’s Workstream collaboration capability fought off this threat to make team communications easy while reducing the amount of confusing emails sent among team members.

The newest superhero on the team, Esna Communicator had the most amazing superpower of all…invisibility. Hiding in plain sight in the web browser, Esna Communicator was able to stop its fierce rival Doctor Client Configurator, by embedding communications that work automatically into the Internet Browser.

Equinox…Assemble!

While these superhero applications fought specific challenges to getting work done, the time has come for our heroes to assemble. More than just a new name for our team of superhero apps, Avaya Equinox represents the merger of our apps where each strength is blended to produce a seamless user experience that solves the challenges your business faces.

In today’s post, I’ll touch on three areas where Equinox is different than anything you’ve seen from Avaya.

A Focus on the User

At it’s core, Avaya Equinox is an application which provides simplicity and consistency. It doesn’t matter whether you use an iPad, a Samsung GS7, a new MacBook Pro, or the new Avaya Vantage desktop device**, Equinox looks, feels and functions the same, which means less user training and faster adoption. This means lower travel and global roaming expenses, increased speed in decision making, and a more successful workforce.

A New Way to Work

In today’s smartphone equipped world, most conversations start silently. Messaging has overtaken voice as the starting point for almost all communications. Avaya Equinox was built to support this change.

Equinox Messaging delivers simple Instant Messaging and Presence (IM&P) between users. Chats can be promoted to a voice or video call with a single click. This means if you are driving, and text messaging isn’t appropriate, one click allows you to continue the conversation. There isn’t much magic there, most IM&P solutions can do this. Equinox Messaging really stands out for team based messaging.

Create a new chat room for your team to discuss a project. Invite additional members as necessary. Instead of clogging up everyone’s inbox with endless emails and attachments, upload files associated with the project to the chat room. This means if you need to reference these files again, they’re right at your fingertips in the project chat room, synchronized to all of your devices. If one member of the team can’t chat, one click builds a voice and video conference for all team members.

Conferencing Made Easy

Equinox Conferencing dramatically reduces travel costs with it’s easy to use audio & video conferencing. With Equinox Conferencing, your users can build a conference call on demand, or send a meeting invitation to participants. With a single click, participants can join using their Equinox enabled mobile phones, tablets, computers, or Avaya Vantage desktop device. If some users gather in a video enabled conference room, they simply dial the extension number for the Equinox Conference. External users can join using just their web browser with the Equinox Portal, powered by WebRTC.

Once the team is together, members can share documents, applications or a full computer desktop. This instant access to relevant information is the key towards faster decision making, improved performance, and increased customer service scores.

One Last Thing

Avaya Equinox is a product that has the power to rapidly and dramatically lower travel & global roaming expenses. Equinox brings teams together with the content that matters, improving decision making speed. Equinox also dramatically lowers the amount of email employees must deal with on a daily basis, improving employee engagement. All of these benefits can be potentially realized without additional software licensing costs.

Avaya Equinox is included with your Avaya Aura core & power user license bundles! Simply setup Equinox applications in your data center, on virtual or physical servers, and reap the benefits of this powerful solution.

Want to learn more? Contact your Avaya Representative or leave me a comment below.

Equinox…Assemble!


* There’s an interesting debate in the comic world that Marvel’s Achilles Heel is the lack of a strong and diverse set of villains. The villain each super hero fights against generally has super powers that mirrors the hero’s power. In DC terms, Batman is as popular as he is due in no small part to his diverse set of villains. 

** It’s really hard to describe the Vantage endpoint. Is it a phone, because it makes great phone calls with it’s DECT wireless handset? Is it a tablet, because it’s got a billboard sized screen, runs on Android, and has Equinox embedded into it? Is it a video conferencing unit, since you can jump into a video call with a single click? The answer is D, all of the above.  If you haven’t seen one yet, be sure to check them out here.

Follow the clues to find more sales

I’m a nerd. There I said it. And I absolutely love my Apple products. I’m typing this post on my 13″ iPad Pro, glancing at my AppleWatch for notifications, all while my iPhone sits loyally by my side. With this admission, it should be no surprise that I was very interested in the new iPhone. And luckily, my cell phone provider, T-Mobile, allows me to upgrade three times a year¹! It’s a match made in geek heaven— new devices, great cell phone service, and I save a ton of money!

This week, I saw a tweet from T-Mobile CEO John Ledger² announcing a sweet deal on the new iPhone. “Upgrade to the iPhone7, and you receive a free storage upgrade.” So I click on the link in his tweet, which leads to the iPhone7 page on their website. Since I’m logged in, the promotional pricing is displayed. But I’m not sure if I want the smaller, easier to handle iPhone7, or the larger iPhone 7 Plus with the amazing camera, so I visit the iPhone 7 Plus page to learn more. After comparing the two devices, I’ve decided to upgrade. While I could possibly upgrade through the website, I’m concerned about making a mistake. Instead, I call to call into customer service.

Let’s pause for a second, and think about all of the bread crumbs I’ve left:

  1. I follow their CEO on Twitter
  2. I responded to an advertisement by clicking on a custom link.
  3. When I landed at the T-Mobile website, my account was logged in.
  4. I looked at sales information for two new devices which do not match any in use on my account.
  5. After browsing their online store for 10 minutes, I called into customer service.

Unfortunately, most contact centers can’t see the clues. They simply receive a call and offer a self-service option, which I cannot bypass fast enough by dialing zero. Then I wait, and I wait, and I wait. I wait while I repeatedly hear how important my call is³, all the while wondering if my old iPhone is good enough. I mean the new one looks just like the old one, right? I begin worry that I’ll miss my headphone port. And if I wait until the iPhone 8, which I hear will be awesome, my phone will be paid off. So I talk myself out of the latest and greatest and hang up.4

Imagine the impact be to your business if your Customer Engagement software could follow the clues and react to them? Based on the bits of info above, it is likely that I am going to make a purchase decision. Wouldn’t it make sense to prioritize this type of call over others, to minimize the change for second thoughts? How about routing my call to a specialist who also loves Apple products? I believe each suggestion could help close the deal faster, create more customer loyalty, and make me more likely to share the experience with my social networks.

If you’re tired of missing the clues, it’s time for an upgrade. Avaya Oceana can identify your customer, deduce the reason for their interaction with your brand, and provide you with the tools to measure the customer experience.

Want to learn more? Visit avaya.com/oceana or leave me a comment.


1 Seriously, the Jump on Demand deal is the greatest thing going for a nerd like me. I lease my phone, I can upgrade three times a year, all while I save tons of cash on my monthly plan. If you haven’t checked out T-Mobile, do it. You’ll thank me later.

2 For a masters class on using Social Media to create brand awareness and increase sales, do yourself a favor and follow John Ledger on Twitter.

3 The greatest disservice customer service groups do is mis-use the apology / your call is important to us announcement. When you tell me after 15 seconds how important my call is, and then continue to repeat that same recording every 15 seconds, I think you’re lying to me.

4 Work with me here. You all know that I’d walk over hot coals, jump out of an airplane and climb up a mountain to get the newest gadget. And for those curious, I have an iPhone 7 Plus, and the camera is outstanding.

Teach your business software new skills

If you’ve ever seen the Iron Man movies you’ve met JARVIS, Tony Stark’s Artificial Intelligence, who’s always present to control the smart home, power Tony’s armor, or provide a sarcastic comment. From the moment I walked out of the movie theater years ago, I wanted to bring JARVIS to my home.

Fast forward eight years, and that wish has begun to come true. Leading in this space is Amazon, with their Echo line of products which bring their Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution, Alexa, to your home. You can ask Alexa for information, such as “what’s the weather in Seattle?”, or “What’s my commute?”, or “What’s on my calendar today?”. You can also ask Alexa to help with tasks such as “re-order Paper Towels”, “Set a Timer for 20 minutes”, or “Play music”.

If Artificial Intelligence could only tell you the time, or set a timer, it isn’t what I would call intelligent. Amazon agreed, and developed a Software Developer Kit (SDK) for Alexa. This toolkit for developers enabled Alexa to learn new “skills” such as ordering a pizza from Dominos, fetching the headlines from Huffington Post, or asking Automatic if you need more gas. These “skills” are integrations between two systems which delivers real value.

Now think about what Artificial Intelligence, and more specifically the “skills” you can teach it, could do for your business. Imagine the growth in customer loyalty, if Artificial Intelligence could react to a maintenance alert from a customer’s vehicle by conferencing in service technicians, ordering the necessary parts, and building a conference call with the customer to discuss the situation and schedule an appointment. What would the impact be to patient experience, if a change in health captured by monitoring equipment resulted in a video conference with the patient care team, with all relative records included in the conference?

Only Avaya can empower your business software to achieve these results. You can teach your existing communications solution new “skills” using Avaya Breeze, or leverage the power of the cloud with Zang, our Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS).

Want to learn more? Visit our website (click here) or contact your Avaya Business Partner.

I’ll have the Cloud, with a side order of expertise.

Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer. Born as a bookseller, Amazon quickly diversified into other product lines including movies (DVD& BlueRay), toys, and pretty much everything in between. Amazon further adjusted to the growing conversion from physical consumption to virtual delivery. Products such as MP3 music files and later streaming video keep Amazon at the top of the e-commerce pile. (Source)

As you would imagine, like any other retailer, Amazon must deal with peaks and valleys of demand throughout the year. Consumers scour the stores and sites for the hottest toy, gadget or gizmo at the end of the year, but in the dog days of summer, those consumers are more likely to be on a beach than in front of their computer.  Amazon had to build their infrastructure as if every month was December, leaving excess capacity for the remainder of the year. Out of this glut of computing power, a brilliant idea was hatched…what if Amazon could sell the idle computing power in their data center to increase the profitability of idle resources. Enterprise customers could leverage the expertise and scale of Amazon’s data centers at a cost much more attractive than building it themselves. This product, Amazon Web Services (AWS), enables an enterprise to quickly build an application server in the Amazon cloud and only pay for the resources served by that application. The product has been a runaway success for Amazon, doubling revenue over the past two years while being forecast to become a $10B business in it’s own right. (Source)

The only problem? This origin story is a myth. Then CTO for Amazon, Werner Vogels, wrote about Amazon Web Services, and it’s history, on Quora: (Source)

The excess capacity story is a myth. It was never a matter of selling excess capacity, actually within 2 months after launch AWS would have already burned through the excess Amazon.com capacity.  Amazon Web Services was always considered a business by itself, with the expectation that it could even grow as big as the Amazon.com retail operation.”

While the origin of Amazon Web Services is built on a myth, it is undeniable that the appeal of a product built using the expertise and infrastructure which powers the world’s largest retailer, is desirable.

A similar product story is emerging in the Unified Communications and Customer Engagement industry. TeleTech, a leader in the Business Process Outsourcing industry, handles over 1 Billion customer interactions per year. Serving that level of traffic in 80 countries around the world requires robust investments in infrastructure and expertise. In fact TeleTech operates one of the largest and most reliable Avaya Aura Unified Communications and Customer Engagement deployments around the world to support their business.

Leveraging their investments in infrastructure and expertise, TeleTech now offers a cloud solution which enables enterprises to migrate their on-premise PBX to the cloud, all while minimizing business risk. The TeleTech cloud is powered by Avaya Aura, meaning your existing call flows, business intelligence and historical data all migrate to the cloud without loss. Your front line teams do not waste time learning the basics of a new tool, and your business continues to measure itself on the metrics you already understand. As Avaya delivers new innovations such as Breeze, Real Time Speech Analytics, Context Store and OmniChannel solutions, they are available for your business to deploy. Add the benefits of a pay as you go billing model, and your total cost of ownership goes down while your customer satisfaction scores go up.

If you’re struggling to serve your customers with an old PBX, take a look at the TeleTech Cloud solution, powered by Avaya. The reliability of world class infrastructure and expertise from TeleTech paired with the innovations from the leader in Customer Engagement.