Customer Experience is Everything

Do you remember when you were young, the anticipation in walking up to your favorite theme park? Thrills and adventure awaited. And you just couldn’t wait to see and experience what was coming. Theme parks know: experience is everything. The best parks evolve year over year, adding little touches and big enhancements. Lately, this includes interactive social, mobile, touch-enabled experiences that add a touch of sparkle to a visitor’s journey. You want to deliver the same surprise, amazement, and contentment in your customer journey, but it’s easier said than done when it comes to an enterprise business.

At Avaya, we can start showing you how to master adding some magic to your customer journey by showing you our customer journey. In our Executive Briefing Center (EBC) you can be awed and amazed, and find something new around every corner.

The communication experience is driving every major business decision for most enterprises, and for good reason. A modern, friendly, easy customer experience is crucial to acquiring new customers, driving revenue, increasing customer lifetime value, and growing retention rates.

Transform your old day—coffee, customer meeting, sales pitch, lunch, and back to the office with little more takeaway than questions and a business card—by creating better in-person experiences with meaningful takeaways. Our EBC visitors leave with knowledge about hot communication trends. Thought-provoking, imagination-stirring concepts and ideas. An understanding of how to apply them to their businesses. Excitement about digital transformation. New and existing customers see the possibilities. Our partners gain deep confidence in our capabilities.

In our EBC, we’ve crafted a personalized, informative, collaborative environment rooted in multi-dimensional, multi-way communications. Let me roll out the red carpet to a behind-the-scenes tour of the Avaya Executive Briefing Center. Let’s see what it means to create experience-driven business solutions.

Inside the Avaya EBC: Content is King

Designed content lets you better control your destiny. We’ve got a best-in-class content portfolio that has been meticulously designed to align with your business needs. We have made our own digital transformation (DX) that allows companies to respond to their customers’ and employees’ new terms for on-demand information.

We’ve explored, experienced, and researched the Future of Customer and Team Experience. Our extensive content includes industry insights and real-world applications, interwoven with info on hyper-continuity. We explain how it all applies at all stages of the customer journey.

We’re giving you a glimpse of your future. We’ve carefully crafted advanced performance demonstrations that illustrate just what it means to perform at the speed of engagement in digital world. This impacts your customers, your employees, and your teams.

Just as we want to provide world-class customer experience journeys, we think you should too. That’s why we’ve built a suite of solutions around intelligent and anticipatory technology that help you help your customers. Our executive briefing demonstrations build out sensible, relatable, forward-thinking customer journeys that show our technology in action. We bring our solutions to life with hands-on demonstrations, collaborative presentations, and stimulating discussions.

The EBC’s Digital Installations

Most of us are visual learners. Infusing the right amount of strategy, substance and spark into the customer experience journey creates a fun and lasting impression. We’re not only sharing our center with you, but asking you to engage with it.

Part of our DX is evident through our hi-def, multi-media experiences. We recently installed our customer engagement wall technology that shares social media feeds with #digitaltransformation social feeds, customer experience content feeds, personalized content, promotional material, and even more content into a visually spectacular installation. It’s spectacular!

The customer engagement wall is a scalable, extensible, customizable platform that ensures the customer journey is personalized with configurable content and data that allows us to fully immerse visitors into our on-site briefing production.

The Avaya Customer Experience Mobile App

We live in a multi-device world, and that’s why we’ve built mobile into our customer experience journey. Our mobile app is a pièce de résistance, with a mobile-first mindset, aggregating all aspects of the customer experience into a holistic journey. The mobile app serves as a key driver for customer engagement before, during, and after your briefing.

Managing a positive end-to-end experience is a critical component of overall visitor or customer satisfaction. Because customers are demanding anticipatory personalization, we’ve incorporated more white-glove service touchpoints with a mobile-first mindset.

The Avaya Customer Experience app (Avaya CX App) surfaces necessary logistics, important content, timely messages, and informative data in real-time so that customers, partners, subject matter experts, and executive sponsors are all cued into the same program for a more connected experience. This ensures concierge-level service for each touchpoint of the customer journey through the mobile app that begins before they even step foot inside the building and follows through with takeaways that extend business reach beyond the walls of the EBC.

Real-World Experience: Avaya Stadium

Fans have clapped and cheered! At Avaya stadium that is. Avaya Stadium, home to Major League Soccer team the San Jose Earthquakes, is our masterpiece showcase experience, extending the customer journey into another world entirely. The world of sports and entertainment to be precise.

At Avaya Stadium, we’ve outfitted the entire arena with our technology to show how our solutions can create an immersive customer or fan experience in any setting.

Book Your EBC Visit Today

Our briefing program offers integrated touchpoints that enable the customer to make an informed decision more effectively based on meaningful corporate information, successful demonstrations, and first-hand peer and executive dialog, all backed by Avaya’s core technology offerings. See what we do in our business—and what we can do for yours—through a unified experience across all channels.

Book your Avaya EBC visit now. Contact us at or visit

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Kari’s Law: An Emotional Journey Leads to a Bittersweet Ending

Our long journey leading up to the presidential signing of Kari’s Law began well before the precious life of Kari Hunt tragically ended on Dec. 1, 2013. (Learn about Kari’s story.)

For me, it actually began in the spring of 2013 when I noticed a sign on my hotel door, which read: “In case of an emergency, dial 0 for the operator.” I remember thinking, “The operator isn’t trained to handle an emergency. I should be able to dial 9-1-1 from my room phone.”

Sadly, this occurrence wasn’t an anomaly. I found it to be a common bad practice adopted by too many hotels across the United States.

There’s no doubt their intentions were good. Hotels were looking to be proactive, and they wanted to expedite not delay emergency response times. To make matters worse, direct access to 9-1-1 from Multi Line Telephone System (MLTS) was flawed because guests couldn’t dial 9-1-1 directly. They needed to dial an extra 9 just to get an outside line. That proved to be a fatal flaw in Kari’s case because her 9-year-old daughter couldn’t get through to 9-1-1. MLTS legislation also didn’t exist or, if it did, it was limited to a handful of states, and much of that dealt with the reporting location. It didn’t address the issue of access and notification.

Throughout the year, I used social media to increase awareness and drive meaningful change. I spoke at conferences and even began a podcast series dedicated to this very topic.

Then one day in December 2013, everything changed. My Google Alerts for 9-1-1 came up with a petition that was raised by Hank Hunt after his daughter Kari was brutally murdered in her hotel room.

I reached out to Hank on Facebook and offered to help him in his cause. Having an innovative tech leader like Avaya backing me increased Hank’s confidence in my ability to help him bring about the changes he sought.

My previous experience immediately proved useful, and we were able to go straight to the top at the FCC. (I had served on the Emergency Access Advisory Committee under Chairman Julius Genechowski, who had just turned the agency over to Chairman Tom Wheeler. Talk about timing!)

Following a number of tweets and letters, including an Open Letter to the FCC Chairman Wheeler, we received a call from Commissioner Ajit Pai’s office and a meeting was scheduled for Jan. 10, 2014. That meeting turned into a 45-minute discussion on the issues, the fix, and the challenges we faced.

Over the next several months, Hank and I garnered the interest of legislators in cities and states across the country: Suffolk County in Long Island, the state of Illinois, Maryland, et al.

In Texas, Avaya participated in hearings, and offered our unique expertise. We introduced the idea of a “Waiver Clause,” which stated that a business could obtain an exemption if they showed financial hardship. With the exemption was the requirement to register the make and model number of the system. This uncovered many systems that were actually capable of being compliant, and eased the adoption of the new law.

More states followed embraced the legislation—it was a full-on domino effect—except at the federal level where every attempt to bring a bill to life stalled. But then in 2018, that changed too.

After an all-night session ending on Feb. 9 on what would have been Kari’s 36th birthday, the House of Representatives passed the Senate amendment of H.R. 582, and it was officially on the way to the president of the U.S. for signature.

We quietly celebrated, knowing Kari’s murder would not be in vain.

The cherry on the cake was being invited by Hank, Kari’s father, to witness the president sign the bill into law on Feb. 16, 2018. I was both humbled and honored, and invited my former colleague Avaya Sales Engineer Dan Wilson to enjoy the moment with us. Dan had worked tirelessly on this legislation, clocking 12 miles of walking in the Maryland House and Senate.

The West Wing is everything you’d imagine: intimidating, wonderful and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was a pleasure to not only stand beside Hank and witness the signing, but to also be in the company of people who supported our endeavor since day one: Ajit Pai, my good friend and now Chairman of the FCC, Congressman Louie Gohmert who introduced the bill, as well as other Congressional reps with interest in public safety. After reading a prepared statement, President Trump uncapped the ceremonial pen and placed it on the paper. As it started to move, we were overcome with emotion. To think, 50 years to the day, and quite nearly the minute, following the first ever 9-1-1 call, Kari’s Law had become the “Law of the Land.”

Transforming Online Meetings for Team Collaboration

I find it interesting how companies choose to measure team collaboration. Most use surveys, some productivity data, and others standard review processes. Yet team collaboration is about so much more than all of this. If you ask us, it’s about putting people first.

We mean this quite literally. It’s important to provide employees with a suite of face-to-face collaboration capabilities that enable dynamic, real-time team collaboration. Communication staples like voice and chat are surely important, along with the endless other tools teams use to connect and share information. Meeting via video, however, is arguably the best way to collaborate, build relationships, create momentum and build morale. Face-to-face collaboration may not always be needed, but companies will want to make sure they have the best tools in place for when it is.

When done right, online meetings enhance team collaboration in several ways. Consider the most basic of them all: a good part of communication is non-verbal. Being able to observe team members’ body language can help prevent miscommunication and connect across languages and cultures. The technology has also evolved to the point where teams can flexibly share data, documents and other project details via screen sharing or virtual whiteboards. All the while, there’s the opportunity to initiate private chat sessions between team members to discuss simultaneously.

The bottom line: online meetings enable authentic human interaction that delivers real value, time and cost savings, and better business outcomes.

Now, imagine being able to quickly implement an easy-to-use, cost-effective service that skips the capital investment and technical hassle of a traditional video solution. This is exactly what Avaya Equinox Meetings Online offers: a cloud-delivered application that allows users—both employees and outside contacts—to connect with their browsers (no plug-ins required) or mobile apps to effortlessly initiate and/or participate in online meetings. The service places priority back on people, which is where it belongs. Simple as that.

Don’t believe us? Read Nemertes Q4 2017 Enterprise Business Value Matrix for Unified Communications and Collaboration to see what they had to say. If you like what you see, or if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our team for more information via our webchat.

The Easy Button for IoT

I am sure that I don’t have to tell you how the Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing our world. Stop by any electronics retailer and you will find smart TVs, smart lights, smart refrigerators, and smart thermostats. Open up the brochure for a new car and you will find more space dedicated to intelligent sensors than horsepower. Tour a modern manufacturing plant and you will quickly discover that nearly every machine used in production has been equipped with an IP address. From the consumer to the enterprise, IoT is the driving force of innovation.

Of course, there is a dark side to this revolutionary technology: It’s not all that easy. As a consumer, it’s not a big deal to have one smart dryer that sends a text message when your clothes are dry. It’s also pretty simple to have your refrigerator email you a photo of its contents. In these cases, it’s just you and your machine.

However, what if you had a thousand dryers and ten thousand refrigerators. Let’s take it further. What if you were American Airlines and your fleet of airplanes had five hundred thousand different sensors reporting information every second. Now, imagine that some devices reported data using Bluetooth while others used Zigbee, WiMAX, LTE, WiFi, and NFC. Want to make it even more challenging? These different sensors report data reading using SOAP, REST, WebSockets, and a myriad of proprietary protocols. It quickly becomes an engineering nightmare to collect, store, and take the appropriate actions on this constant stream of data.

One Bite at a Time

Question. How do you eat an elephant? Answer. One bite at a time.

As with an elephant, the best way to conquer the IoT problem is to break it down into bite-sized pieces. Instead of trying to directly deal with all those different sensors and their unique forms of communication, have those sensors talk to gateways that understand multiple IoT dialects. Those gateways could then normalize the data before sending it off to a central cloud repository. Next, wrap the IoT cloud with web services that allow for a consistent and uniform way to access IoT data. Finally, use those web services to create a suite of applications for data visualization, event processing, analytics, etc.

Now, instead of being inundated with terabytes of data that may or may not be important, you only see what you need to see and only when you need to see it. You also have a scalable platform that allows you to add new sensors without having to constantly redesign and redeploy your business applications.

At Arrow Systems Integration (ASI), an Avaya A.I.Connect partner, we call this distributed architecture of sensors, gateways, and cloud services Arrow Connect™.

Arrow Connect

Arrow Connect is a software architecture that connects any device over any protocol to any cloud. Designed and developed by Arrow with security, scale, flexibility, device management, multi-tenancy, hierarchy, open APIs, and extensibility as its core principles, Arrow Connect is helping customers across multiple industries bring their products to market faster.

The Arrow Connect software development kit (SDK) helps enterprises leverage the full capabilities of any device while an extensible software gateway allows developers to add support for protocols and sensors not currently supported by Arrow Connect.

The Arrow Connect cloud platform enables secure provisioning and management of all its devices. It runs on multiple public cloud platforms and seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Azure, IBM Watson Bluemix/Softlayer, Amazon Web Services, and private data center solutions.

Breeze and Zang Workflows

While support for RESTful web services is essential to being an open and secure cloud solution, this comes with a price and that price is complexity. Despite being an open standard understood by most software developers, the fact that you must be a developer to use web services confines them to a very select group of people.

In our quest to find every possible way to simplify IoT, ASI has partnered with Avaya to add support for Arrow Connect IoT devices, sensors, and gateways into Avaya Breeze and the Zang Workflow Designer. With both of these platforms, access to IoT data and Arrow Connect services becomes as simple as drag and drop and non-developers can create powerful IoT solutions in a matter of minutes. Better still, this simplification does not come at the cost of accuracy, reliability, speed, security, or scalability. The visual tasks embedded in these workflow tools employ the same Arrow Connect web services a skilled software developer would use. The difference is that there is no need to learn Java, .Net, Python, or any other programming language.


The Easy Button for IoT

With integrated workflow technology, you can quickly turn an idea on a whiteboard into a fully functional and easily deployable solution.

Next Steps

McKinsey recently said that “Any business that fails to invest heavily in the IoT in the next 10 years is unlikely to be able to remain competitive.” While these may seem like strong words, industry after industry has taken them to heart and the IoT revolution is everywhere. As I stated at the beginning of this article, IoT is becoming pervasive for both consumers and businesses.

The simplification, scalability, and security of IoT offered by Avaya and Arrow Systems Integration helps an enterprise to create the solutions it needs to enhance its business, grow its customer base, and stay competitive.

Andrew Prokop is the Director of Emerging Technologies at Arrow Systems Integration. Andrew is an active blogger and his widely-read blog, SIP Adventures, discusses every imaginable topic in the world of unified communications. Follow Andrew on Twitter at @ajprokop, and read his blog, SIP Adventures.