According to Avaya, with more than two-thirds of IT executives planning to increase spending on mobile, customer-facing and cloud migration applications over the next two years as part of digital transformation initiatives, the opportunities for developers continue to expand.
Where is the regional Enterprise Communication market standing now and what would be the 2017 trends?
According to the latest forecast by Gartner, Middle East and North Africa IT spending is projected to reach $155.8 billion in 2017 a 2.4 percent increase from 2016. According to analysts a key vertical segment driving this growth is communication. Organisations are turning to innovative and capable unified communications and collaboration solutions seeking productivity for their increasingly mobile workforce. The continuing digitisation of the workplace puts the experience of the consumer and the employee in the spotlight.
Mobility, globalization and collaboration are increasingly influencing how people live, work and play. The rise of Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) in recent years is enabling businesses to utilize the cloud to embed foundational team engagement functions such as IM, presence, and click-to-call into cloud applications. The CPaaS market in 2015 was valued at $400 million and is expected to reach $8.1 billion in 2019. The one-and-done, click-to-collaborate generation of mobile employees is here to stay.
Apart from these, there are other critical trends that are disrupting the market today that enterprises can’t afford to ignore. These are already disrupting our technologies and roadmaps, with more disruption expected as the network and the networked grow.
The first one is the Internet of Things (IOT). Whether it’s smart cities or sensors, all of these today are getting connected to the Internet. Current estimates are that there will be 30 billion connected devices by 2020 – which means around 200,000 devices connecting to the Internet every day. The next is Artificial Intelligence. While human-to-human interaction is still topmost, AI-to-machine and human-to-machine are becoming increasingly key to business. Automation and work flows delivering relevant vertical solutions where there is no human interaction are actually beginning to take precedence over normal human interactions, and we are already seeing the growth of AI in the banking sector. Finally, we have Blockchain, which is the new distributed peer-to-peer delivery of monetary transactions where anything of value will be transferred through this disruptive protocol, and it has the potential to completely transform the traditional transaction and contracting models.
What should be 2017 CIO agenda for enterprise unified communication infrastructure?
The CIO agenda for enterprise unified communication infrastructure must be the move from a pipe-based model to platforms. A flexible platform to build something valuable to take to market that is stronger and more relevant to customers cannot be achieved with a very linear approach and requires a networked digital ecosystem. This platform model ensures the delivery of the required agility expected from a continually connected business. The value creation is no longer the function or the product, the value is in the agility of the platform and the ecosystem that works on top of the platform.
The key focus would be around agility and security. The more you open up the platform the more you need to have the ability to control access and content.
IoT is changing the landscape of Unified communications, what is your strategy to help partners get ready for that?
There are tremendous opportunities in digital transformation and delivering “smart” solutions if partners grasp them. The increasing volume of data and bandwidth utilization from the burgeoning number of IoT sensors and smart, connected devices such as healthcare devices, home security systems and appliances, vending machines, check-out stands, etc. are driving traditional networks to the breaking point.
Partners are capitalising on this by providing an answer with cost-effective solutions that can accommodate the capacity needed and flexibility required for the constant changes in network traffic. Avaya solutions also prepares partners for the growing concerns of security, with a fabric networking technology which provides a layer that seamlessly manages segmentation, stealth and elasticity across the organization.
Partners who also work as developers continue to capitalize on the numerous opportunities available in providing value through innovative solutions. In order to fuel this innovation within a supportive structure, Avaya introduced Avaya Breeze, Avaya’s next-generation development platform developers to design, create and deploy advanced team and customer engagement services without having to acquire specialized communications expertise. With more than two-thirds of IT executives planning to increase spending on mobile, customer-facing and cloud migration applications over the next two years as part of digital transformation initiatives, the opportunities for developers continue to expand.
With the mobile workforce increasing like never before, security is a threat. How do your solutions take care of this?
While Mobility has gone mainstream in the enterprise business, the security threat on mobile devices is still under estimated, with a majority of enterprises not running MDM or threat analysis on BYOD Devices.
With our Avaya Platforms, we inherently encrypt all our media and signaling channels of communication and we secure the edge access with our award winning Session Border controllers that can provide deep packet inspection functionality as well, and authenticate user registrations.
Gartner predicts that 80% of key business processes will include exchange of real-time information involving mobile workers. Not being able to use employee-owned devices slows business down. Avaya enterprise-grade solutions for mobile devices directly address the concerns that customers and others often express: a significant amount of flexibility for employees, security and privacy for everyone involved, and a measure of control over processes, policies, and data. Avaya mobility solutions are open, so they are adaptable to different devices and platforms. They capture important information that can lead to faster, more informed decisions and, ultimately, better outcomes. In short, they enable companies to operate at the speed of their customers.
Avaya introduced Avaya Equinox to fulfil the long promised benefits of enterprise communications by delivering simple, mobile-first communications on devices, and embedded into the applications and browsers that employees use on a daily basis. With this solution, companies and employees within any vertical and geography can experience the benefits of 1-click, contextual interaction, collaboration and conferencing from any browser or device. The solution eliminates migration challenges for companies in the process of moving to web or cloud-based applications by enabling UC capabilities via WebRTC or HTML5. The consolidation of real-time and non-real-time multimedia communications methods coupled with persistent messaging enables faster responsiveness, increased productivity, and more informed decision-making while reducing IT management and operating costs.
How should workspaces evolve to support new collaboration techniques?
Businesses need to break the barriers of siloed interactions and must look at a UC experience that enables communications experiences that fit how users individually work best. In order to provide a next generation business ecosystem, the workplace must consider a holistic solution that includes several key capabilities including:
- The ability to seamlessly integrate UC capabilities into existing collaboration tools and third-party apps
- Complete mobile compatibility which would mean ubiquitous access regardless of the device being used.
- Faster responsiveness across the entire enterprise in order to make better informed decisions that accelerate operations and positively impact the customer lifecycle at every touch point.
UCC vendors are expected to allocate more resources to the optimization of communications and collaboration capabilities they deliver on mobile devices. Where do you stand?
With the public cloud services market in the Middle East and North Africa region, projected to grow to a total $1.2billion in 2017 according to Gartner, Avaya sees significant potential for channel partners that want to offer the same rich communications experiences customers expect from Avaya solutions delivered on-premises as cloud-based offerings.
Avaya Equinox, which has just been released during GITEX last year delivers a pure Mobile first environment. The Equinox core servers are now pure software based MCU with WebRTC and multi-vendor support. On the mobile application the Equinox client is delivering a truly transformational experience.
With our Client SDK, we also have the ability to embed voice, Video & chat into any mobile customer application. This is unique to the industry today.
Avaya is also working with key wholesale distribution partners to deliver a complete cloud solution for partners – including billing, provisioning, and other back-end systems. Channel partners will be able to focus on building innovative solutions for their end-user customers and deliver future-proof communications experiences.
By 2025, Frost & Sullivan estimates millennials to make up 75.0 percent of the U.S. workforce. How are you preparing yourself for the Gen Y?
Oceana, Equinox & Breeze are transformational product portfolios that will all address the abilities to provide future proof, forward thinking communications. This would include the integration of Bots, Automated Workflows without human latency and the ability to deliver on any device, application or process.
Gen Y is a digital native generation and in a recent survey conducted by flexjobs.com, 84% of Gen Y-ers polled said they would prefer to work remotely full time. Having technology in place that allows people to maintain flexibility in their lives while still producing quality work is a necessary step for any business that wants to retain young talent and maximize results. As the workplace is becoming more mobile, and productivity is not limited to a desk in an office building, cloud-enabled unified communications and collaboration tools are becoming the norm and it is definitely something that Avaya excels at.
What is the competitive edge/ value proposition of your solution over the other all-in-one UC solutions in the market?
Avaya has been a leader in this space for the last decade and continues to innovate at this pace. Looking at UCC as a core part of our DNA, our teams, technology and Sales understand what Unified communication & collaboration is and where it is heading.
Equinox and Aura as a combination provide a resilient, scalable and secure architecture with a rich open communications interface, where customers can define the application they would like to communicate with on the device of choice and the functionality they would like to integrate with to deliver the right experience and business outcome.
In the Middle East and Africa region, Avaya is helping public and private-sector organisations achieve their digital transformation objectives, while cutting expenditure. The company today provides superior communications experiences with the most complete portfolio of software and services for contact center and unified communications with integrated, secure networking— offered on premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid.
Avaya’s cloud solutions are built on a fully open architecture that supports true compatibility and limitless interoperability—with a clear focus on the reliability and security you need. The company delivers cloud services for every enterprise size.