(pictured above: Yogen Patel, Avaya’s vice president and general manager of solutions and technology, on stage at Avaya Engage on Jan. 30.)
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AVAYA ENGAGE — Avaya kicked off day two of its Engage conference in New Orleans by rolling out new technologies, including a cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) offering and enhancements to its Equinox UC applications.
The conference, Avaya’s biggest Engage ever, has drawn more than 3,000 partners and customers. Last month, Avaya emerged from chapter 11 bankruptcy with about $350 million in cash and a little less than half of the debt it had when it filed last January. And earlier this month, it officially became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.
Yogen Patel, Avaya’s vice president and general manager of solutions and technology, said his company’s technology strategy is focused on three areas: automation and intelligence, cloud-first architectures and adoptable innovation.
“We’ll be innovating in our portfolio in layers and components, allowing you to absorb at your own pace,” he said. “This will be a significant theme for us going forward.”
Avaya Ava, a new AI architecture including natural language processing, machine learning and analytics, allows customer engagement through social media and messaging platforms. Ava originally was introduced as part of Avaya’s online support community, and now has evolved to include AI capabilities.
Avaya Equinox now delivers a fully integrated user experience that is connected across the Avaya portfolio and all deployment models, including on-premises, hybrid and cloud. Updates to Equinox include: enhancements to Equinox Meetings Online, a cloud-based meeting and conferencing service; the extension of Equinox benefits to midmarket IP Office users; and the addition of Equinox Attendant, a PC-based software application that allows attendants and receptionists to manage inbound calls.
Avaya also announced that its A.I.Connect initiative has expanded with three new partners. Salesforce, eGain and Sabio are among the first companies offering or integrating third-party AI solutions for this initiative, a growing Avaya community of companies collaborating on the use of AI and machine learning technologies in enterprise communications.
Gary Levy, Avaya’s vice president of U.S. channels, tells Channel Partners both Ava and the Equinox enhancements will drive more business for partners.
“The partner community is so close to the day-to-day customer and the customer interactions, and anything that they can use and have enhancements for in providing that digital experience to the customers is certainly going to help,” he said. “It expands our partners’ portfolio so it provides additional value for the partner through the customer, and that translates to value for Avaya. So we’re excited.”
When it comes to AI and the associated interactions, Ava “brings that simplicity for somebody to be able to speak what they’re looking to do, have that intelligence embedded, and then our partnerships with other vendors will expand on that,” Levy said.
“The creativity that our partner community as VARs and integrators will bring is so important to this,” he said. “Their creativity, their ability to develop on our platforms using these technologies, will only expand our ecosystem in touch with the customers.”
This week, Avaya executives have hammered home the message that Avaya is focused on cloud.
“I think that our partners have been waiting to hear that and waiting to see that commitment for some time now, and are thrilled that we’re able to expand the cloud portfolio,” Levy said. “As you know, we already have over 3 million seats, so the cloud has been here. It’s just that partners needed to see that we were stepping up to the next level, and it [was] exciting. “