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Avaya's Aura Conferencing Gets a Mobility and Collaboration Boost

Avaya's Aura Conferencing Gets a Mobility and Collaboration Boost
By Barry Levine

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We spoke with Jorge Blanco, Avaya VP for Marketing of Contact Center Solutions, about new features in Aura Conferencing. Version 7.0 enhancements include one-stop access to Aura conferencing from the Flare Experience, a Collaboration Agent client for access via any Web browser or iPhone, plus new controls to improve operation.
 


The new version of Avaya's conferencing solution is now available. Aura Conferencing 7.0 provides session-based, unified voice and Web collaboration for Macs, PCs, tablets and smartphones. Version 7.0 features added flexibility for mobile devices and conference calls of all sizes -- making it well-suited for sales presentations and sales meetings, as well as customer service training, partner meetings, and other business collaborations.

The company also unveiled a new version of its Aura unified communications platform for the Avaya Communication Server 1000, and its Flare Experience for Apple iPad tablets and Windows PCs.

Few to a Few Thousand

Aura Conferencing 7.0 is supported by the open, standards-based SIP architecture featured in Avaya 6.2. The company said the new version provides the flexibility companies need in the era of mobile collaboration and bring-your-own-device, offering the ability to video and voice conference between a few co-workers for an impromptu meeting, or a few thousand for a companywide occasion.

Version 7.0's enhancements include one-stop access to Aura conferencing from the Flare Experience, a Collaboration Agent client for access via any Web browser or from Apple's iPhone, and visual and contextual controls for improving the operation of conference sessions. The controls include streamlined ways of announcing or identifying attendees, dealing with background noise, and speaker identification.

Aura allows a conference organizer to scroll through contacts and, via a green dot, see who is participating. Additional participants can be added to the conference by drag-and-dropping their contact info into the conference spotlight. Web-based sharing of content can be enabled for any participant, or via a whiteboard feature.

Flare provides access to companywide communications and collaboration tools, offering a single interface and directory for a variety of communication tools. The tools include conferencing, Web collaboration, directories, contextual history, social media, presence and instant messaging.

On an Avaya Desktop Video Device, which is a multi-touch piece of equipment combining a desk phone, speakerphone, and video endpoint, Flare also offers access to video conferencing.

Bandwidth Management

The new Aura Conferencing also can scale to handle up to 7,500 active conferencing sessions, which can be located almost anywhere. This is accomplished via a distributed open architecture and onboard intelligence to reduce and manage bandwidth usage and consolidate media streams, all of which Avaya said lowers costs.

We asked Jorge Blanco, Avaya vice president for Marketing of Contact Center Solutions, what the company sees as the key enhancements for 7.0.

From the IT department's perspective, he cited the cascading architecture, which creates "a very low impact" on the wide area network. Blanco pointed out that the previous version of Aura "still depended on a hardware-based, multipoint architecture," which relied very heavily on the network.

By contrast, he said, 7.0 leverages the cascading technique to move the "hard work," such as transcoding, "as close to the end user as possible."

From the end user's perspective, Blanco pointed to the integration of collaboration and communication needs "all into one environment," as opposed to, say, the collaboration-only environment of a WebEx.
 

Tell Us What You Think
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Tobbe Andersson:

Posted: 2012-08-14 @ 4:43pm PT
I think our biggest concern is having a secure environment that will prevent other people from gaining access. I think Oracle and Microsoft Live have good options if you have your own equipment. RHUB has what they call an appliance that I think is a server. So these three can essentially be behind our firewall. Does Avaya work the same way? They have a lot of information on their site. That's good but it takes time to get through it.



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