The Times They Keep A-Changing

The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus has been credited with a translated statement that “the only thing that is constant is change,” to which the science fiction writer Issac Asimov later added “…, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.

And almost 50 years ago Bob Dylan (you know… Jakob’s dad) penned The Times They Are a-Changing, his “hippie anthem” (as one of my co-workers referred to it).”

It sure seems that all have been right, as this sentiment still rings true today. Economic uncertainty demands that businesses wrangle the most of out every investment in order to remain successful. Expenditures are evaluated for rapid ROI and longevity. Will the investment improve performance effectiveness and efficiency? Will it reduce overall operating costs? Will it help the business become more competitive? Will it integrate and work with existing infrastructure?

The bright spot is that, with the help of our DevConnect Technology Partners, you and your business are more easily able to answer these questions, and keep ahead of these ongoing and ever-evolving challenges and changes.

Our Technology Partners offer a wide range of products and price points, compliance-tested by Avaya to ensure interoperability with our platforms and products. Through our DevConnect Facebook page, we’ve been highlighting partners with solutions that range from Network Security to Cloud Services, to Contact Center Solutions and more. We’ve been asking them, through our “Meet the Partner” interviews, to tell us about themselves, but more importantly, to highlight keep technological and business challenges that they see changing the communication, collaboration and contact center landscape in the next few years.

We invite you to read more about what these (and other) companies have to say, and to add your comments, opinions and questions for each to respond to:

  • ION Networks, a trusted name in remote device management and secure access technology, see a big shift occurring in the remote services industry. Their solutions enable businesses to remotely manage, monitor and secure critical voice and data networks.
  • OnviSource sees multi-media collaboration and exchange between calls, video, email, SMS, text and social media ahead in the coming years. They offer affordable, integrated solutions as software, cloud services & business process outsourcing worldwide to a broad range of industries.
  • Cofely Quentris – This Belgian partner developed a screen-based console for use with Communication Server 1000. Their focus on delivering information and communication technology for medium to large enterprises as a partnership allows customers to more easily focus on their core business objectives.
  • Komutel specializes in the development and marketing of open-ended and innovative solutions for enterprises, healthcare, finance and insurance markets. Their portfolio includes applications that can be deployed in the cloud or in the customer environment.
  • Veramark expects to see increased pressure for enterprises to unify diverse communication and collaboration tools. Their solutions help simplify telecom usage and expense reporting so managers can quickly answer questions about their company infrastructure and mobile device usage patterns and costs.
  • RedSky Technologies sees the technologies having the biggest impact in the future as cloud computing, WebRTC, and SIP, with cloud-based communications challenging existing delivery and operational models. They provides enhanced 911 software and services, which they believe will need to account for an increased integration between unified communications and mobile platforms.
  • 911 Enable is dedicated to providing E911 solutions for VoIP and UC. They focus exclusively on IP-based E911 for IP communication systems. They believe the signs point to cloud-based UC solution (UCaaS) gaining popularity as well as hybrid cloud/premise solutions.

To learn more about these and other DevConnect Technology Partners, be sure to visit the DevConnect Marketplace at

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2015: The Year of Power to the Consumer

2014 has been the first full year of my current job. It’s been a time of rapid change, not just for me, but for the tech industry as a whole.

Wearable technology, for example, started to make its mark, cloud computing became the norm and software-defined everything became a hot topic. Most of these trends were driven by consumer behavior and the enormous changes that have occurred in the relationship between customers and organizations over the past few years.

The impact of these changes will become unavoidable in 2015, making it, I believe, the year of the customer. Consumers will continue to gain power, forcing companies that haven’t caught on yet to adapt rapidly.

Here are a few examples:

In the past couple of years, consumers have become accustomed to watching and communicating via video. The annual Ofcom Communications Report showed that for the first time, parents are watching more TV than their children, as younger generations switch to YouTube and catch-up services.

When it comes to engaging with brands, research shows that Generation Y typically prefers not to use the phone, while Generation Z shies away from email too, making video often a Millennial’s first-choice communication method.

With every passing year, more Millennials join the workforce. I believe that in 2015, their growing spending power will continue to fuel the video trend, prompting companies to respond by offering more video chat to their customers.

A new technology called WebRTC is making it possible for consumers to use video directly through a Web or mobile browser, without the need to download video-conferencing software.

Imagine shopping online, and you had a question about delivery costs. In the near future, instead of trying to hunt down the information yourself on an FAQ, asking your question over webchat or abandoning your shopping cart altogether, you could click a button and instantly connect to a video call with a customer service rep.

Innovations like this, coupled with consumer demand, will really drive the use of video in customer service in 2015.

As of early 2015, there are more than 1.3 billion active Facebook users and 280 million Twitter accounts, creating billions of conversations daily. Reflecting this, social media engagement between companies and their customers seems to have become a numbers game, as businesses have focused on growing the size of their following.

For consumers, just following a company or being ‘friends’ with it does not mean they necessarily feel strong loyalty or will make a purchase. Consumer-brand social media engagement is likely to shift to a quality-first approach, as companies try to woo consumers into not just ‘liking’ them, but making actual purchases.

For customers, this should also mean a better overall experience when they deal with these organizations, as social media should feed seamlessly into other methods of company-customer communication.

This year, wearable device launches have continued to gain momentum, from the hype around the iWatch announcement to test-case uses in healthcare.

Wearables provide a fresh means for consumers to interface with brands that, in turn, can offer a whole new level of customer engagement. I believe we will start to see an increasing number of organizations offering customers the ability to interact with them via their wearable devices.

For example, banks might offer video chat via Google Glass or another wearable device to customers who are having trouble using an ATM.

In 2015, customers will continue to take center stage as they push to engage with brands in myriad ways, from video and social media to wearables and good old phone and email. The companies that are able to do this in the most unified, yet interesting way, will be the ones that consumers prefer this year.

Bringing "No Bullet Point" Presentations to IAUG Converge

Let’s face it… While conferences can be fun, there’s only so many presentations you can sit through before you start to see bullet points floating before your eyes, even when you look at the dinner menu for your evening meal.

So we’re gonna try to change that at the IAUG Converge 2013 conference, with IAUG Ignite!, sponsored by Avaya DevConnect.

We’ve invited some of our leading DevConnect partners to share their passion on topics that span UC & Collaboration, Customer Service, Big Data and more through a series of 5-minute talks, presented in a Pecha Chuka-style format. That means each talk is 10 slides, and they automatically advance every 30 seconds.

Join us at IAUG Converge2013 on Monday, 3 June at 1pm for IAUG Ignite!, and hear all these these talks all in a single 1-hour session:

  • Mine Your Motivator – Clouds To Rainbows, Paul Leatherman, Chief Technology Officer, CRI
  • Delighted Customers And Self Service: 5 Ways To A Perfect Match, Gary Van Gordon, Vice President, Interactive Northwest, Inc. (INI)
  • What your PBX Can Learn From Your Car, Paul Davis, Channel Account Manager, Metropolis
  • Don’t be Crippled By The High Infrastructure Costs of VoIP!, John Croce, CEO, Phybridge
  • Why The World Won’t Let Fax Die, Dan Aronson, Channel Development Manager, Sagemcom
  • Turn An Under-staffed, Over-worked And Stressful Environment Into An Enjoyable Work Life, Detta Donahue, Manager, Marketing and Communications, Starfish Associates
  • Amazing Things You Can Do With Avaya Experience Portal, Bob Cooper, CEO, Swampfox Technology
  • Metrics Mash-up: Breaking Down The Barriers Between Real-Time, Historical And Call-Detail Reporting, Chris Rouse, Director of Marketing and Product Management, Symmetrics
  • The Face Of Big Data, Steve McCullough, SVP of Sales, RMG Networks (formerly Symon)

Think of this as bringing a little bit of TEDx to IAUG – a chance to spend 5 minutes hearing from leading technology companies on ways that can help transform your business, change the way you think of day to day challenges, and create new opportunities to make the most of your existing UC, Collaboration and Contact Center investments.

As they say about the weather in Chicago (“Give it 5 minutes and it’ll change…“), even if every topic isn’t exactly your interest a 5-minute investment of your time may be well worth it after all, as you come away with some new insight or idea into many of the challenges facing your company today.

Getting to know our DevConnect Tech Partners

Many of our DevConnect Technology Partners are well known to the Avaya customer and channel partner community. Other names are not as familiar. To help our online community to get to know our DevConnect Technology Partners more personally, we recently launched a “Meet the Partner” interview series on Facebook. Starting with those involved in our DevConnect Select Product Program, we posed six questions ranging from their business history to a look ten years into the future. While the questions are the same, the answers varied widely and are both insightful and thought provoking.

Last month we featured the four partners highlighted below. Here’s a sample of their responses. Read the full interviews by following the links to our Facebook page.

NetIQ – a global enterprise software company offering UC and VoIP management solutions. Their AppManager, Vivinet Assessor and Vivinet Diagnostics provide a complete lifecycle management solution for enterprises. Cloud-based UC platforms plus smarter mobile devices and adoption of BYOD policies are expected as part of the future of communications. NetIQ is eager to partner with service providers as they evolve their UCaaS offerings. Read more

Mutare – Often associated with voicemail to email and IVR solutions, today their portfolio has expanded and now includes specialized messaging, mobile apps, self-service IVR, and notification systems as well as speech technology solutions. They see a fundamental shift for the future as companies move away from a cost cutting mindset to revenue growth with cloud, mobile apps and Software as a Service (SaaS) leading the way. Mutare is an agile organization poised to help their partners close more business. Find out more

DuVoice – as one of the early DevConnect members, DuVoice provides solutions that enhance Avaya’s offering in the hospitality vertical as well as the residential health care and emergency notification markets. They foresee more scenarios where resources are shared between multiple locations and SIP and IP trunking continue to be significant technologies in their segments. Of course, BYOD will continue to grow and impact their hospitality vertical for many years, as well. Learn more

Symmetrics – makes business intelligence and data warehousing software for the contact center industry. Used by contact centers of all sizes around the world, Symmetrics customers represent most major verticals, with finance, insurance, health care and government services most prominent. They also see cloud as the biggest shift on the horizon and are focused on how this shift will change the contact center customer needs and how they support them in making this transition. Read more

Stay tuned each week for additional insights from another DevConnect Technology Partner. Just go ahead and “Like” Avaya DevConnect on Facebook, learn more about our Technology Partners, and join in the conversation!