Last Wednesday, Avaya made a splash in New York City with a portfolio of new collaboration products, including the Flare Experience multimedia conferencing system, a new tablet designed to support the Flare software, and the web.alive virtual reality meeting service, among other offerings.
In the latest installment of the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, IDGE Chief Content Officer John Gallant talked with Avaya leader Kevin Kennedy about the company's collaboration strategy, how the new products change the competitive battle with Microsoft and Cisco Systems, and what it's going to take to make video a part of everyday life for business users.
[ Read more from the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, including Q&As with BMC CEO Bob Beauchamp, Cisco CEO John Chambers, Riverbed CEO Jerry Kennelly, and SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. | Get sage advice on IT careers and management from Bob Lewis in InfoWorld's Advice Line blog and newsletter. ]
IDGE: A lot of the pre-launch buzz about your announcements centered on Avaya developing a tablet in a market that already has a variety of tablet options. But that wasn't really the focus here, was it? How would you encapsulate the key news of the rollout?
Kennedy: Today, the fact is that people buy isolated high-def video for enterprises and they probably spend $5,000-$6,000 to put that on their desks. The second fact is that most desktop video consumes a lot of bandwidth, 1.5Mbps to 2Mbps. That's limiting for global companies that want to go to Asia, South America, and so forth. It's a boundary that can't be crossed at that level. Third, these are disparate systems, so it's hard to do things like forward an unanswered video call into voicemail. Integration is poor because [systems are] isolated.
Today was about accessible videoconferencing collaboration, meaning it's a lower acquisition cost and lower bandwidth, so your operating cost is less. We tried to put a fun user interface on this and we called it Flare. It's a user experience that features a lot of integration, whether it's directories from the consumer or the enterprise world, or it's making use of SIP infrastructure. So, number one is innovation; number two is execution for over a year on innovation; number three is a new set of devices that solve a real problem in the enterprise; then lastly a software experience that we can put on any device. We just happened to introduce one [the tablet] today.
IDGE: You made some big claims about the improvements that this brings, one of them being a 10X productivity improvement. How do you support that? Where does that number come from?