ZANG IT! And Other Awesomely Simple Communication Ideas at Avaya Engage 2016

The 2016 International Avaya Users Group (IAUG) Summit, “Avaya Engage,” is this week in Orlando, Florida. Communications technology professionals from around the world will join together to learn from each other and catch up on the latest industry news and announcements. Avaya’s newest division, Zang Inc., will be there (in the Avaya Booth) to showcase its 100 percent cloud communications platform that makes it easy for anyone to build communication apps. Zang customer and Avaya developer partner Mutare Inc. will also be in attendance (Booth 135), not only to participate in the Zang session but to announce its own innovative new product, SAM, or Smart Assist by Mutare.

See Zang in Action!

At a session titled “ZANG IT” at 2:30 p.m. Monday (in 1315B), Bryan Dingwall, senior product manager at Avaya, will present Zang—a new offer in cloud communications. The Zang environment combines easy-to-use Zang Cloud APIs for quick use case resolution, pre-built Zang Apps that seamlessly communication-enable work experiences, and Zang Access with Avaya Breeze for robust and secure connectivity to all your back-office data and workflows. Mutare’s vice president of business development Rich Quattrocchi will share the stage to demonstrate his company’s Zang use cases. We spoke with Quattrocchi this week to get a preview of Zang capabilities.

All in good fun, but also a testament to Zang’s functionality, Quattrocchi described an application—built on the Zang platform in just two days—that he uses at trade shows and other events to engage and educate attendees. It’s a game of sorts that encompasses players’ cellphones, and a whole host of app tools, including animation, a Web browser, an active directory and other “really cool things” in the background.

Participants (who are usually lining up and jostling each other for game time) text a phone number presented on the computer screen; their phone numbers then pop up on the spokes of a “Wheel of Fortune”-like wheel on the display. Once full of numbers, the wheel is spun electronically (sound effects and all) until it slows to just one spoke, which belongs to the winner, who receives a text notification they’ve won a prize.

Zang is responsible for the portion of the game where an interactive voice response (IVR) system responds to callers with a “win” or “lose” message. It also provides a button to allow users to set up a conference call. Everybody enjoys the competition while learning how the Zang platform’s all-in-one environment—including SMS, phone calls, IVR and conference calls—can be used to develop apps.

As Quattrocchi explained, “Ten years ago, an application like this would’ve taken six months to develop and deploy.”

Meet SAM: A Voicemail Replacement App for Businesses

Those annoying voicemail message waiting lights? GONE! Listening to the equally annoying voice messages themselves? NEVER AGAIN! That’s all in the past. SAM replaces your voicemail system. The application automatically answers your phone for you—like an assistant would—and offers the caller the option to have his message converted into text for a faster response.

SAM then takes that transcribed message and sends it to the recipient via email or instant message using Microsoft Lync. The recipient’s notification includes the caller’s ID, the time that the person called, whether a message was left and, of course, the message. Additionally, even hang ups are included in notifications.

According to Quattrocchi, depending on the organization, SAM is up to 90 percent less expensive than voicemail. Plus, there’s no voicemail greeting to manage and no voicemail box to check.

What’s more, critical voicemail messages don’t languish in your voicemail box and sales calls are clearly differentiated from personal mail. And those millennials you employ? Now your messages to them won’t be ignored! Most people, said Quattrocchi, will look at a text message within 30 seconds of receipt.

Zang works in the background, delivering SAM’s text message alerts.

“This is the best way to manage messaging for phone calls,” Quattrocchi stressed. “It just is.”

If you want to catch more of Quattrocchi’s insights, he’ll be speaking at four different sessions about various software solutions that work within the Avaya ecosystem. These include “Maximizing Mobility for Enterprise Collaboration and Customer Responsiveness” at 4:35 p.m. Monday in 1000B, and “Voicemail: Love It or Leave It? How to Cut Costs, Thrill Your Employees and Serve Your Callers” at 10 a.m. Tuesday in 1507B.

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