Do you see a transition from TDM to VoIP networks in this region? Do you think enterprise networks here are mature enough to handle collaborative apps?
There is no doubt that the move to VOIP is happening. We see certain enterprises moving more aggressively to VOIP, not only to cut costs in certain cases but also to improve the customer services and customer response times. As far as the networks are concerned, we see most countries in the region ready to roll out VOIP though they are concerned about inter-country regulations.
How does your definition of UC differ from others in the industry such as Cisco and Microsoft?
Avaya Unified Communications has the potential to transform the way people work and communicate by embedding the act of communicating into what people do instead. Avaya Unified Communications solutions are integrated, multi-vendor business communications applications, coupled with systems and services that work together in a reliable and secure fashion. They are able to work through a seamless user interface that is device-agnostic. The result is a superior, seamless user experience across all enterprise communication solutions regardless of location, network, or device. Avaya integrates with most major vendors. A case in point is our collaboration with Microsoft in the area of unified messaging. The Unified Access approach allows Microsoft Outlook to access e-mail messages from Microsoft Exchange Server as well as fax and voice messages stored on the Avaya Modular Messaging Message Storage Server. Unified Access can also provide additional security for voice messages by using the Modular Messaging Restricted Outlook Client. In the Unified Message Store approach, Outlook again is used to access e-mail, fax, and voice mail. Unified Message Store is an excellent example of how to reduce IT expenses by establishing a single solution to operate and maintain directories, message store, back-up procedures, administration, and servers. Unified Message Store solution also leverages the investment, operations, and business practices associated with Microsoft Exchange.
Will the future of enterprise telephony focused more on solutions through software rather than proprietary hardware? What is the direction Avaya is taking?
Communications applications are on the rise. However, that doesn’t mean the proprietary hardware is going away soon. A lot of existing telephony vendors are still using legacy hardware for certain market segments and are finding it difficult in this competitive era to invest in open platforms. At Avaya, we have adopted open platforms few years back and have most of our products already running on operating systems like Linux.
What are your practical tips for mitigating VoIP risks?
Most organizations today have one or more traditional telephony system models in place, or they have entirely or partially migrated to IP Telephony and VoIP to support their enterprise. If you have existing digital equipment (such as PBX with digital telephone stations), you can protect your investment by reusing most, if not all, of your equipment with VoIP.
We offer a platform that eradicates duplication and redundant information systems, which in turn makes the major tasks of installing and managing IP telephony and VoIP more cohesive. Managers have more effective and direct applications to support their many challenges. They can manage not only computer data applications, but IP-based telephony and videoconferencing systems, as well. Unified database applications running over the network provide real-time, seamless access to all information needed to maintain the VoIP network.
Moves, adds, and changes, which warranted highly complex and costly resources and changes earlier, do not require the manager to do anything. The VoIP network automatically adjusts itself to accommodate the user’s new location. Usage, accounting, and other metrics data are available to the manager through any computer device attached to the network. With IP-based converged communications, managing and maintaining the network become cost-effective and seamless. Staff do not get caught up in problems and stay focused on business deliverables.
What role does SIP play in your plans? Is SIP interoperability still a major concern?
For Avaya, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a catalyst for the next phase of open communications using not only IP Telephony and VoIP, but also the full suite of IP-related protocols. SIP is an interoperable protocol in a multi-vendor environment that enables mobility and systems flexibility in multi-service networks.
A user with multiple endpoint devices such as a cell phone, desk phone, PC client, and PDA can rely on SIP to permit such devices to operate as a single system to meet changing needs for real-time communications. SIP brings about increased efficiency and productivity. SIP provides a practical means of multi-vendor integration at the highest and most diverse communication levels. In a VoIP converged network with SIP, organizations can pick the best of breed from a variety of vendors to create a seamless converged communication network.
Do you think soft phones will replace desk phones in the near future?
IP Softphone makes it easy to place and receive phone calls on your PC or laptop, making it ideal for working from any location with an internet connection – such as home office, a hotel, coffee shop, or even an airport. As information workers become more mobile or “virtual” the need for virtual communications like video conferencing on demand and IP soft phones will arise.