D'Ambrosio prepped the audience by making a bold statement that intelligent communications, a term Avaya uses to describe converged IP telephony networks designed for communications that go beyond voice, is happening today and is not a vision of the future. "We're not talking roadmaps here. Intelligent communications is a reality," he said.
Avaya wants to be the leader in that market. It's teaming up with Lenovo to pre-load advanced IP telephony features on Lenovo's ThinkPad notebooks in hopes of enhancing the communications experience for business professionals as they place and receive phone calls from their computers. The offering will include biometric login and authentication, enabling Lenovo's fingerprint reader and Password Manager to work with Avaya's IP Softphone to improve user authentication. The combination is meant to prevent unauthorized calls from computers. The ThinkPads also will come with a message waiting light, transforming the keyboard illumination function into a visual alert to check voicemail.
In a separate announcement, D'Ambrosio said Avaya will begin offering a suite of six services to support communications-enabled business processes, which refers to embedding communications within a business process that doesn't itself have detailed telephony knowledge. "We're been talking about it for a while, but now it's possible," said D'Ambrosio.
The news comes on the heels of Avaya's leap into service-oriented architecture, or SOA. The company said on Monday it will start offering new capabilities that extend SOA to telephony, as part of its Solution for Communications Enabled Business Processes. "We think this is a radical new level in IP telephony," says Lawrence Byrd, director of Communications Enabled Business Processes at Avaya. The new offering is a combination of software and services, Byrd says. The software, which includes the Avaya Communications Process Manager and the Event Processor, run on a Linux server and use Web services standards.
As D'Ambrosio concluded his keynote, he made a point that Avaya is serious about growing its software business. "Seventy-five percent of Avaya's R&D budget is devoted to software," he said. About 4,000 independent software vendors and 16,000 developers are writing applications for Avaya. The company is definitely making big strides to advance IP telephony. Healthcare companies and schools are some of the early adopters, but the question remains whether more businesses are ready to embrace it.