I’m posting this from the Avaya Evolutions event in San Francisco, where we’ve made a number of important announcements about our Unified Communications and Collaboration portfolio. Avaya is driving toward enabling the mobile enterprise with easy-to-use, open collaboration solutions that work anywhere, anytime. You can read all about that in the press release, available here, but I thought it might be valuable to offer some perspective on the features we’ve just announced.
So, what did we announce? A lot! For the sake of clarity, I think it makes sense to break the announcements down into two categories: unified communications (UC) and video conferencing. Avaya provides the best of both worlds when it comes to UC and video. We are also making good progress toward the integration of these two worlds: For example, Scopia interoperability with Avaya Aura and integration with Avaya IP Office, the Scopia Gateway, and Avaya Client Applications (ACA) for Microsoft Lync.
The reality is that most businesses today have two separate networks–newer UC SIP-based technologies and separate H.323-based video networks. The good news is that Avaya offers investment protection regardless of which migration path a customer is pursuing–whether it’s moving from video to fully integrated UC or adding video to its existing UC solution. With this in mind, here’s a recap of the news under these two banners (for pricing and availability, refer to the press release):
- Scopia Mobile is now available for Android devices (in addition to supporting Apple iPhones and iPad tablets), and you can download it in the Google Play store. Scopia Mobile is awesome — it was the first publicly announced full-featured mobile video solution, and now these capabilities are also available for a number of Android devices. I highly encourage you to try it out — in fact, you can sign up for a free demo of Scopia Desktop and Mobile. If we don’t have you up and running in 10 minutes, we’ll buy you coffee.
- The Scopia XT Executive 240 is a brand new desktop system that — in terms of price/performance ratio — blows away the competition. The XT Executive 240 offers simultaneous high-definition live video and content sharing with H.264 SVC and H.264 High Profile. H.264 SVC offers network error resiliency, and H.264 High Profile provides ultimate bandwidth efficiency. What’s more, this desktop system will come with an optional embedded MCU. I don’t think anyone else in the market offers this feature.
- Scopia XT5000 enhancements. To be honest, I had trouble categorizing this one because I think it demonstrates some of the UC and video integration I mention above… but for now, I’ll classify it under video conferencing.
There’s now direct integration between Scopia XT5000 and IP Office, which expands upon the video conferencing capabilities already included in IP Office. Previously, IP Office video softphone users could participate in point-to-point calls within the company. Now, with the integration of Scopia XT5000, any IP Office user (audio or video) can participate in multipoint calls with room-based systems, customers and partners outside of the company, remote workers, and mobile workers. This lets IP Office users take advantage of the powerful videoconferencing benefits in nearly any situation.
The XT5000 now also offers an embedded four or nine-port MCU plus a small/medium-sized enterprise (SME) package that supports both Scopia Desktop and Scopia Mobile. This might not sound like a big deal, but to get the same offering through our competitors, a customer would need to deploy multiple servers, an MCU, a gateway, etc. I think the XT5000 SME is the ultimate all-in-one video conferencing solution. .
- The Scopia TIP Gateway enables three-screen support for audio, video and data-sharing in a Cisco telepresence environment. What this means is that if you’re in a multiparty conference that includes someone dialing in from a Cisco telepresence room, they’ll look just like they should – as one consistent image rather than three separate windows. We’ve offered this feature with LifeSize, Polycom and Tandberg telepresence systems, and the addition of Cisco rounds out our telepresence interoperability solution.
- Lastly, we made the Scopia Management System even better than it already was. It now features a simple browser-based interface that incorporates Google Maps. This provides a global geographic view of the collaboration topology of your video network. Additionally, we beefed up our multi-tenancy capabilities, concierge services, and scalability (up to 400,000 users for service providers and large enterprises).
- We also announced that Avaya Aura Conferencing with Avaya Flare Experience will now incorporate video conferencing capabilities. We already had video on the Avaya Desktop Video Device (ADVD), and now we are expanding it to Apple iPad, Windows PCs, tablets, and smartphones. But wait… there’s more… the cost per user remains unchanged when you add video to your Avaya Aura session. I think that’s pretty cool. And because Aura is a distributed SVC-based switched architecture for very high scale video collaboration, it utilizes up to 25 percent less bandwidth than solutions from other vendors.
- Last but not least, we announced the Avaya Client Applications (ACA) with Microsoft Lync, Outlook and Office integration. ACA basically adds an overlay to Microsoft Lync and other systems, which enables customers to use their preferred user interface while connecting various platforms for point-to-point and multipoint video as well as other applications.
So that’s our news in a nutshell. We are enhancing our collaboration portfolio to simplify video conferencing, making it easy for people to collaborate by video virtually anywhere, anytime, using any device and over any platform.
I’d love to hear your thoughts around Avaya’s announcements today. And last but not least, thanks for taking the time to read this post!