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For Avaya, there's a lot riding on its new Cloud Office offer in partnership with RingCentral. Meantime, Poly just unveiled a new cloud-based management service and Telinta added more features to its softphones. The world of unified communications never slows down.
February 12, 2020
The big news at last week’s Avaya Engage conference was the upcoming launch of Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral, which will provide new opportunities for partners, master agents and agents. Avaya Cloud Office combines RingCentral’s UCaaS platform with Avaya phones, services and migration capabilities for businesses of all sizes.
Big news in cloud contact center also will come from Avaya later this year.
To find out more about Avaya’s overall cloud strategy, we spoke with Steve Forcum, Avaya technologist.
Channel Partners: So the big push right now is Avaya Cloud Office?
Avaya’s Steve Forcum
Steve Forcum: The biggest thing that our partners are going to benefit from with Avaya Cloud Office is the fact that they’re not going to have to be trying to convince customers of a road map. In every single one of these deals our customers are looking at other vendor solutions, and they’re asking, “Where’s text messaging,” and our partners would have to sit there, and try and sell a vision — “It’s coming, it’s coming.” Right out of the chute, it’s not coming, it’s here. And then the secondary benefit that our partners are going to realize is a lot of them might have tried to sell RingCentral’s product before and there were certain things that were missing from it that we have and our customers demand. As part of this partnership … we’re taking our features from our on-premises PBXes and porting it to their platform, so this way customers won’t have to make that compromise to switch between one to another. So for our partners, it’s what they know. They know bridged appearances, they know call park and page for retail, they know a lot of those IP Office- and Aura-based features, and now they actually have a UC platform that’s really robust, available internationally and they’ve got those features on that same platform. So for them it’s a home run because they’re not selling road map; they have those features that nobody else has been able to create in this market so they’ll be able to service customers better, which will lead to increased revenues for our partners and it will give them easier sales.
CP: How much is riding on the success of Avaya Cloud Office?
SF: Everything. I say that jokingly, but it is going to be one of the growth pillars of the company. The stock market has responded extremely favorably to Avaya Cloud Office, we’ve had some upgrades because of what the brokerage firms see as potential future earnings from selling Avaya Cloud Office. At the time of the deal, [Avaya CEO Jim Chirico] announced we have like 200 million sets and only a third of those are monetized by us right now, so even if we just find a way to monetize another third of our existing base – never mind net new logos or everything else we can do – that is a massive, massive bump in revenue for our company, for RingCentral, and it’s better for the end customers because the cloud solutions can deliver real cost savings while delivering even more functionality.
CP: What’s going to be coming up as far as contact center?
SF: We are developing our own next-generation CCaaS. The tag name to it is IX CC, it’s available overseas right now and it’s coming to the United States. It will be voice only in its first release and augmenting our …
… current voice-only product, and then by the end of this calendar year we’ll also have a full ominchannel array, so that way we can execute on that multiexperience vision that we demonstrated at Engage by having all of the channels flowing into this one CCaaS, but then also pairing it with our CPaaS product and our [professional] services organization to deliver real value across the entirety of the stack. That is going to be extremely unique for us.
CP: Will there be big partner opportunities from that?
SF: Absolutely. Digital transformation is not a technology and most digital-transformation initiatives that customers fail is because they see it as a technology buy, and in reality, it’s a different mindset. It’s a consulting practice first, because you’ve got to look at your business process and how you make transactional things simpler and empower your customers to do that, but also have this realization that there’s still a lot of stuff that’s going to be complicated that the consumer doesn’t want to deal with. That means a call in to the contact center and how you do that in a way that’s efficient so you’re handing your customers without making them … jump through interactive voice response (IVRs) and wait forever in queue, but also how you empower the agents so they’re not forcing a smile onto their face after every bad interaction, to take it to their next interaction and dreading their workday. That’s really where our partners can add a ton of value because they can be that consultative arm in conjunction with what we do with professional services to help our customers understand the changes that need to happen to their business and then where the technology comes behind that to empower those changes. Our partners are second to none in helping our customers understand the different things they can hit, what the low-hanging fruit is to start with, and then creating that three-to five-year road map of this is, what we’re going to do, and this is where we’re going to get you, and then the technology comes behind it.
CP: Let’s flash-forward to Avaya Engage 2021. What are we likely to see with all of that in place?
SF: It’s going to be a continuing clarity. If you think back over where we’ve been over the last couple of years, I was on stage at Engage in New Orleans in 2018 where we first demonstrated the speech analytics product we acquired when we bought Spoken, and last year we talked about the paths to cloud and some of the work that we were doing with partners like Afiniti. So this is just a continuing story, the next chapter on what we’re changing from on-prem to cloud, and next year will be the grand chapter, the big reveal of all of that work that went into that.
At this week’s Integrated Systems Europe, Poly is unveiling a new cloud-based management service that will provide insights in the adoption and usage of its devices and meeting rooms. This offering is designed to help businesses better understand collaboration and become more strategic with their tools and resources.
Poly Lens combines management and updating tools with insight into how Poly devices are actually being used to offer more control and simplicity to IT departments, according to the company.
Beau Wilder, Poly‘s vice president of innovation waves and new products, tells us Poly Lens creates an additional opportunity for partners to …
… add value for their customers.
Poly’s Beau Wilder
“As businesses continue to move their operations to cloud-based technology, Poly Lens delivers a flexible and secure solution that allows them to be more agile and innovative,” he said. “Customers can also easily migrate between video-as-a-service providers without losing valuable and historical insights, making Poly Lens a flexible offering for partners.”
Because of the “high proliferation” of devices needed for the digital workplace, the rise of a multigenerational workforce, and increasing costs of real estate, businesses “must optimize shared workspaces and tools to stay competitive,” Wilder said. Poly Lens provides “data-driven, actionable insights” and can be deployed in an “easy and scalable way,” he said.
“Poly Lens is the company’s first step toward unifying Poly management tools in one powerful cloud solution,” he said. “Poly will continue to update the commercial preview of Poly Lens to add new capabilities, ultimately converging Poly’s endpoint-management solutions into one convenient service. Poly Lens will introduce management and updating capabilities to the new Poly Studio X family of video bars as well as the Poly G7500 now, and over time evolve to support Poly headsets and phone offerings in addition to an ever-increasing array of new insights.”
Telinta, the global provider of cloud-based switching and billing services, has added several new capabilities to its brandable solutions for mobile and desktop softphones.
Telinta customers and their resellers can offer VoIP services to end users by customizing Telinta’s brandable mobile softphone and desktop softphone applications with their own logo, brand name, clickable website URL, language options and other details. The app can present an optional menu of capabilities that promotes the Telinta customer’s business, while enhancing the end user’s experience, the company said.
These new features include: a brandable prepaid balance indicator, a rate calculator, an invite friends and family function, and about us and contact us screens. Telinta customers have the option to include an email form, contact information and phone number to better serve their users.
Telinta’s Anthony Stiso
Antony Stiso, Telinta’s vice president of marketing and sales, tells us softphones are part of the “new wave we are seeing in many aspects of VoIP.”
“Our softphones enable our customers, their partners and resellers to turn any Android or iOS mobile device, or virtually any Windows or Mac computer into a VoIP endpoint,” he said. “Service providers can meet user needs whether in the office, at home or on the go.”
In the past, when a business or residential user is away from their home or office phone, minutes of use would be lost or shifted to cellular, Stiso said. Now, users no longer are tethered to their IP phone to receive the benefits of VoIP, and can both make and receive calls via Telinta’s mobile, desktop and …
… web-based softphones via a variety of devices, he said.
“Because the solutions are white-label, it opens up new ways to serve resellers who want to build their own brand,” he said. “If you focus on geographic or ethnic target markets (something quite common in the VoIP world) you can have separate brands, multilanguage portals and even multiple currencies to target your users. For example, companies focusing on Latin American users can have one brand in Portuguese for Brazilians, and another in Spanish for Argentina, Mexico or anywhere they choose.”
In addition to VoIP calling, Telinta’s platform allows service providers, their resellers and partners to also provide mobile top-up services. That allows service providers to sell prepaid airtime (cellular credit) for mobile phones in more than 150 countries served by more than 500 mobile operators.
Telinta’s Mobile Top-Up is brandable, and it can support an unlimited number of resellers, distributors, retailers and agents.
Telinta recently integrated Ding ‘s mobile top-up service into its platform via API. Since many of the same service providers and end users who are interested in VoIP calling are also interested in prepaid cellular, Telinta said the solution is the perfect complement.
An end user can go into a retail location to purchase prepaid cellular credits, for example, for a relative living in another country. The retailer uses Telinta’s brandable portal to process the transaction via Ding’s global coverage. The Telinta customer can serve the retailer directly or via resellers. Resellers also have brandable portals and can make payments to the Telinta customer via credit/debit cards using and PayPal.
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