Vandana BrarDecember 14, 2018

Avaya Devices for Diversity: My Perspective

There are only a few weeks left in Avaya’s Devices for Diversity campaign.  If you are not familiar with this opportunity – Avaya is donating a portion of the proceeds for every Avaya Vantage™ sold until the end of 2018 to Save the Children’s girls educational programming.  It’s our effort to leverage the industry’s most diverse portfolio of business desktop experiences to promote awareness of the importance of diversity – and to improve the world one desktop at a time:  in both education and in business.

My Perspective

I’d like to share why I believe this effort to be so important. 

I have been very lucky.  My family was in the diplomatic service, and I grew up in an environment with international exposure not just to places and events, but also to people, ideas, cultures and mindsets.  I was luckier still to have had access to education and opportunities in the engineering field, and to now work in an area that I feel so passionate about. 

One of my idols growing up was (and still is) Anandi Gopal Joshi — one the earliest Indian female physicians.  Born and raised in a poor background in colonized India, in an orthodox time and place where there was no room for education for women, she graduated with a medical degree in 1885 from Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.  As a teenager, I marveled at all the odds Anandi Gopal Joshi fought to obtain the education she wanted. I thought about how different that made my world, and it confirmed my belief that girls could do anything. 

More To Be Done

I was right in this belief, but I was wrong to assume that the world agreed.  According to UNICEF, 10% of primary-aged girls are still out of school today!  Over the next decade, of the 600 million adolescent girls entering the workforce, more than 90% of those living in developing countries will work in the informal sector, in jobs that are not regulated or protected.  This is primarily due to lack of access to education.  Education is the necessary bridge to enable a sustainable livelihood, and with STEM initiatives, these girls can do more than sustain – they can thrive, contribute and be partners in changing the world.  For me, these stats recently provided a hard realization that we still have a long way to go. 

We need change drivers and thought leadership to enable this metamorphosis.  We need solutions and initiatives that enable collaboration bringing excitement to something as basic as education, information, data sharing. We need tools that provide everyone with access to everything that the cloud has to offer.

I am proud to be in a leadership position at Avaya. And as the product manager for the Avaya Vantage™ portfolio, on the forefront of the cloud experience, I can see how what I do daily has ties into the principles of STEM: Collaborate, Explore, Pursue, Engage, Challenge! 

Unlimited Communication Experiences

As a woman in engineering, I thrive on the capabilities we have built into the Avaya Vantage™ – enabling seamless access to the collaboration experience at a whole new level — with quality engagement being the baseline.  But we did not stop there – this portfolio allows each individual to customize and personalize, evolving the Unified Communications (UC) endpoint to become an access point to a whole eco-system of possibilities

My Avaya Vantage™ looks like me! My colleague sitting in the next office, has a completely different looking Avaya Vantage™ — giving her the same access and quality, but delivering experiences designed just for her. 

Someone recently shared a very interesting observation about the Avaya Vantage™ with me: “It is not just a logical extension of the cloud, but a logical extension of the individual”.  This resonated with me. 

As an Android device, with the inherent flexibility of the mobile environment and therefore the access to a vast ecosystem, I now realize that we have created a portal that allows each individual access to what they need.  Yes it is a portal to the cloud — But it is not just a generic portal, it is MY doorway to that cloud, showing me the colors I want to see, the pathways I want to traverse, the journeys I want to experience.  Having a tool like the Avaya Vantage™ empowers me with the ability to completely control my collaboration experience – for every call, message, engagement, click.  This is my world and having a doorway that looks like my doorway makes that world more accessible, friendlier.  “Hey Vantage” for the Avaya Vantage™ Voice Assistant can be “Hey Billie-Jean” if that is what I want!

If every girl could have this similar power to control her engagement experience as she pursues her education, would the UNICEF statistics improve? I think so.  But the first step is to ensure that every girl has the opportunity to be in the classroom, with the required support and a quality experience that encourages continued educational pursuit.  

This makes me more determined to ensure that we steer the Avaya Vantage™ roadmap on a track that ensures continued quality, humanized smart guiding, complete connectedness, and keeps the focus on the user experience ahead of the technology.  The ultimate use case is delivering a more diverse and inclusive world!

Avaya Vantage� Devices for Diversity

Vandana Brar

Vandana Brar is Senior Product Manager at Avaya, leading new video desktop device innovation as part of the Endpoints portfolio. Vandana is responsible for the introduction and go-to-market initiatives of the Avaya Vantage Franchise. With an engineering background, Vandana has over 20 years experience in telecommunications hardware, software, and cloud product management.

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