This week the International Avaya Users Group (IAUG) is holding its annual event in Orlando. The IAUG is an independent user community, so even though the event was centered on Avaya, it was run by a group of customers and not the vendor. The theme of the event, “Engage” has been Avaya’s theme for many of its events over the past year, and it carried over into the user event.
Gary Barnett, Avaya’s senior vice president and general manager of Engagement Solutions gave the day one keynote. In case you’re wondering what Engagement Solutions are, it’s really Avaya’s entire collaboration suite, which includes customer and team “engagement” solutions, as well as mobile application.
The keynote this year was filled with new products, all designed to help Avaya customers develop new, faster ways of engaging with workers or customers. All of the announcements were centered on Avaya’s Breeze platform, the company’s development environment.
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Earlier this year, Avaya launched Breeze and is now eating its own dog food by using it to build new features and products using the platform. I’ve talked to a number of customers that use Breeze, and they say it’s easy to use, requires very little telephony knowledge and enables developers to quickly build omni-channel, multi-touch solutions.
Highlights of the new Breeze products:
- Breeze Client SDK. This is a single client SDK to build both customer- and employee-facing applications. The client can be used in standalone mode or embedded into business applications such as SAP and Salesforce.
- Oceana. Built on Breeze, this is Avaya’s next-generation contact solution. It has support for all digital channels, including text chat, SMS, web, social, voice, video and co-browsing. The product has visual workflow automation, is connected to analytics, understands customer context and is built for extensibility. The product works with existing Avaya products, such as Aura CC Elite, IVR, CRM and ERP systems.
- Oceana Workspaces. This is a revamped client built using the Breeze client SDK. It provides a roles-based desktop that gives call center agents and supervisors a single place for all customer interactions. Since all the data is stored here, the tool can be used to quickly visualize the customer journey and then provide insights on how to streamline and improve it.
- Oceanalytics. As the name suggests, this is an analytics package. Also built on Breeze, the product is a modular reporting platform that provides a single view of customer events across Avaya and non-Avaya systems. Most analytics tools are limited to a single vendor, but this product offers flexible collection, processing and analysis of real-time and historical information for a rich set of data. This information can be exported into third-party visualization platforms such as Infobuild, Oracle, Tableau, Microstrategy and SAP.
- Vantage. This is an interesting device. It’s an all-glass, touchscreen device that looks like a tablet that has an optional docking station to add a handset. It’s a very slick looking device and is meant for the development of vertical applications. I asked an Avaya spokesperson why they didn’t just build a docking station for an existing tablet, and the person said they can have much tighter control over the quality of experience if they build it. Given Avaya’s obsession with providing the best possible quality, the design decisions make sense.
- Communicator 3.0. This is Avaya’s next-generation client. Existing customers should think of it as the coming together of the existing Communicator product with its Scopia video product. As was the case with other new products, this too was built using the Client SDK.
The vision of building custom communications-enabled applications has been around for well over a decade, and Avaya was the first vendor to aggressively push this concept. However, the developer tools required to do this were hard to use and required a significant amount of telecom knowledge. This limited the addressable market to a handful of very niche use cases.
Avaya’s Breeze developer environment was designed to bring the concept to the masses and enable rapid development. The large number of applications Avaya was able to build in a short period of time is a good proof point that Breeze is ready for prime time.