We’re Opening Up (Nearly) Everything We Do. Here’s Why.

Technology wants to be open. This concept—giving people the tools and freedom to build new applications, based on open APIs—is disrupting every corner of technology.

It’s time to open up enterprise communications.

To illustrate the disruptive nature of openness, consider the iPhone. The original iPhone launched on June 29, 2007, preloaded with apps that Apple programmers built themselves—email, a notepad, a weather app, a text messaging app, a calculator, etc. Pretty dry stuff.

251 days later, Apple released a software development platform, giving people the tools to build their own apps for the iPhone.

Overnight, quirky little apps started popping up in the App Store. Today, there are more than 1.3 million iPhone apps in the market—from mega-games like Candy Crush and Angry Birds, to cultural phenomena like Instagram, Tinder and Snapchat.

It would have been impossible for Apple to develop 1.3 million apps in 6.5 years (more than 500 new apps per day) and even if they could, those apps wouldn’t be nearly as creative as the software that people dreamt up and built on their own.

The concept of openness isn’t isolated to mobile phones—it’s disrupted networking, personal computing, the Web, wearable devices, and many other sectors.

Enterprise communications is next, and Avaya is leading the way.

For most of our industry’s history, enterprise-grade communication products have largely been closed, proprietary systems, due to the hardware-centric nature of what we sell. In the past, if you needed a custom application built—for example, software that allowed your contact center to send customer data to the home office—the development process could be slow and expensive.

As we virtualize significant pieces of our product portfolio, opening up the technical backend of those products has become increasingly feasible. Our customers want faster software development times, they want the ability to do it themselves, and they want greater control over their enterprise communications experience.

Today, we’re excited to highlight the new Avaya Engagement Development Platform, a software development platform that gives people the tools to build their own communication apps on our infrastructure.

To make software development even easier, the Avaya Engagement Development Platform features something we’re calling Snap-ins—modular, reusable pieces of code that connect, enable or facilitate desired application outcomes.

With Snap-ins, programmers can quickly and cost-effectively select popular communication features and integrate them into business processes and functions.

Earlier this year, we saw an innovative application of this new, open development platform out of Michigan State University. The school had a problem: People sometimes got stuck in the elevators, and when they picked up the phone inside the elevator, they got connected to someone who had no idea where they were.

Using the Avaya Engagement Development Platform, a small group of programmers at MSU created an app that automatically identifies the stuck elevator’s location and floor, and sends that data simultaneously to the school’s contact center and on-call maintenance staff.

MSU’s elevator app didn’t take a year to write, either—the team built it at a weekend hackathon. Fast, iterative development cycles will become the norm for people building software on the Avaya Engagement Development Platform.

Another example comes from a manufacturing company with 160,000 employees worldwide. Collectively, those employees dialed into tens of thousands of conference calls each day—oftentimes from the road. Each conference call required employees to get a calendar notification, write down the conference call number and PIN and dial in manually.

Using the Avaya Engagement Development Platform and Snap-ins, the company was able to develop a completely hands-free conferencing solution in less than 2 weeks. No more conference call numbers to remember—a single touch from the calendar notification, and you’re connected.

These are two successful use cases driven by real-world customer needs. We designed the Avaya Engagement Development Platform to give programmers the tools to build everything from simple elevator apps to sophisticated, scalable, global software solutions.

Openness is fundamentally good for the industry, our customers, and ultimately—the hundreds of millions of knowledge workers worldwide who rely on high-quality, enterprise-grade communications every day.

We’re looking forward to seeing what gets built.