Kennedy: Hard to say. The best way for me to answer that is how I think about it in our own company. Today, I have a $6,000 device in my office, I have a conference room with a device that's bigger and even more expensive, and at home I have no video. Would I be inclined to have a device that we shared today with the Flare experience on my desktop, in my conference room, as well as at my home, all for the price of what I have paid just for that one device? You bet I would. Of course, the goal is over the next 18 months to provide that same user experience frankly on almost any device that you want. A big piece of this is the recognition that our business model is about the software and the experience.
IDGE: How does this change the competitive landscape versus Cisco or Microsoft?
Kennedy: There was a point in time where Microsoft's architecture and the premise was that everyone would want all capabilities to be convergent on a single device that was Windows-based. I believe that that has less momentum today than it had a year ago. I don't believe that has anything to do with Avaya, by the way, with all humility. [That has to do with] the advent of social networking and the fact that directories other than Active directory are important. [It has to do with] the advent of new devices which people just fall in love with, like the iPad. The consumer world cannot be bounded and [it's] coming into the enterprise. As that has happened, this premise that there is only one device that's the convergence point for all is less strong.
Also, the cost for those desktops and operational upgrades is becoming too prohibitive, so people want to centralize that capability, again giving the opportunity for devices other than the laptop to be the convergence point. My belief is that this is a great time for a new device, but an even better time for a user experience that makes people more productive. That's what we're doing.
IDGE: Avaya has strong customer loyalty, Nortel has strong customer loyalty, but how do these announcements open you up to a new customer set?
Kennedy: They actually do two things. One is [generate] new sales motion with our existing customers. At the end of the day, people absolutely have budgets for video, whether it's their motivation is to save travel cost, or motivation for collaboration -- this now allows us to have a different conversation. I know that you have a video budget; I now have a user experience that you've never seen before. In terms of new customers, absolutely. By reducing the cost of the infrastructure, reducing the cost of the WAN facility, and reducing the cost of the device, and actually taking it to software, a small business can put it on any device. That has to open up the market.
IDGE: Are there plans to work with application vendors to integrate some of these collaboration capabilities into the more widely used applications?
Kennedy: Yes, absolutely. Obviously ERP systems and tighter integration with our own call-center capability are all going to be opportunities for us.
IDGE: Talk about web.alive. How do you see people using it? People experimented with Second Life for business and it never really hit the potential that they hoped for. Will they find it here?