Avaya has announced Equinox, a new platform that becomes part of Avaya Aura. It combines traditional unified communications [UC] with elements of messaging and conferencing, as well as an improved client experience. While at this point, it’s purely an enterprise play, Avaya is stressing that it can be a game changer for partners because it allows them to change the conversation with customers.
“In our view, this brings about the fulfilment of the promise of UC that has long eluded both the industry and our customers,” said Scott Hanwell, Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Avaya Team Engagement.
Hanwell said the announcement combines three cornerstones of what Avaya is calling a new UC experience.
“First is Equinox itself, a single and integrated UC experience that cuts across all devices and platforms,” he stated. “It includes a client experience based on a mobile first-based paradigm. It combines UC, plus collaboration, plus conferencing, to enhance the client experience. In the past we had both Scopia, from our Radvision acquisition, and Aura Conferencing, providing two alternatives for customers. Now we have taken the best of both worlds and consolidated them into a single experience, unified in Avaya Equinox.”
Hanwell said the really exhilarating element here is the way Equinox combines UC, conferencing and collaboration with an extremely deep level of integration.
“It takes but one click to share a document, or to pass control over, so another person can work on a document,” he indicated. “It’s a simple way of accessing a messaging stream. The deep level of unified experience makes it simple for the user to keep track of what’s on their agenda, and to take action on those.”
Equinox will come out of the box with an Aura suite license.
“If you are an Aura user, you now get this,” Hanwell noted. “There’s an upper level of licensing that is required to allow someone to host, but anyone can join as a participant.”
The roadmap calls for Equinox to ultimately be extended into the Avaya IP Office space.
“The plans are to extend it into the midmarket in the future, but right now, it’s just for Aura, just for the enterprise,” Hanwell said.
“This greatly extends opportunities for customers and partners to create new experiences,” Hanwell noted. “The Client SDK can extend these into the user interfaces, allowing for a great degree for customization that puts a face on those experiences.”
Hanwell said the third element of the announcement was the new Avaya Vantage, a new elegant, all-glass device that runs Equinox out of the box.
“Avaya Vantage is a very cost effective all glass device, which gives customers and partners the ability to place these unique experiences into whatever context they want – on a desk, in a hotel room, kiosk or other deployments,” Hanwell stated. “It’s highly customizable, and provides a secure, flexible Android-based platform.
Hanwell said that total package around Avaya Equinox will be a game changer for partners who sell Avaya Aura.
“We see this as fundamental to the channel partner play, creating a different relationship with the customer,” he stated. “We have emphasized that Avaya itself is evolving, becoming a software and services company. This means that instead of just selling off the shelf capabilities –selling off the rack – partners have the opportunity to sell the spoke. With this they can create unique experiences that allow customers to project the differentiation they have into the marketplace.
“We’ve been saying that the paradigm is changing-since we launched Avaya Breeze,” Hanwell continued. “Off the rack doesn’t cut it any more. You need to differentiate. The combination of Equinox, Breeze SDK and Vantage lets partners do that, providing a much tighter level of value-add.”
Because Equinox is now a part of the Aura platform, partners selling Aura must leverage Equinox’s capabilities, Hanwell stressed.
“Any partner using Aura is de facto positioning Equinox. It needs to be part of every conversation the partner has with their customer. It would be crazy for them not to be positioning the value of the conferencing and collaboration as part of the solution they are providing to the end customer.”
Finally, Hanwell emphasized that Avaya sees these new capabilities as changing the conversation the channel partner has with the customer.
“In the past, the partner has gone to the customer and said, ’our solution can do this for you,’” he said. “Now Equinox, Breeze and Vantage lets the partner change the conversation. It becomes ‘what do you want your communications solution to do for you?’
Avaya Equinox will be generally available globally this calendar quarter, with the advance conferencing capability coming in the first quarter of 2017.