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Avaya pins its future on IP technology

Having completed the sale of its structured cabling business to CommScope Inc., Avaya Inc. will now concentrate on driving its voice and data communications convergence strategy.One day after the US$2...


January 1, 2004  


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Having completed the sale of its structured cabling business to CommScope Inc., Avaya Inc. will now concentrate on driving its voice and data communications convergence strategy.

One day after the US$250 million sale was finalized on Feb. 2, senior executives held a press and analyst briefing at the company’s Canadian head office in Markham, Ont. to discuss current and future development plans.

“Everything is going down the convergence path,” said John Papadakis, senior VP of Avaya Canada Global Services. “IP is not something that’s coming down the pipe and may happen.”

Mario Belanger, president of Avaya Canada, said all the technology the company delivers will be Internet Protocol (IP)-enabled.

“Most CIOs and CFOs that Avaya does business with are looking for the payback of what IP will bring to their respective companies,” he said in an interview. “They’ve all invested in analog phones, TDM and a digital infrastructure and they want to leverage that as long as they can. Part of our job is to demonstrate the business value of the technology.”

Belanger, who was appointed to the position in October, predicted that the majority of companies will avoid a “rip and replace” when it comes to moving to IP, but instead will migrate slowly over time.

Mack Leathurby, Avaya’s director of portfolio communications and alliance marketing, said that organizations should not shortcut the planning process.

“You have to look at what’s the best place to deploy IP telephony, where am I going to get the best business benefits and how can I do this cost-effectively,” he said. “It’s not about convergence, but having access to applications that make workers more powerful and productive. You have to pick specific areas where IP telephony makes sense.

“The devil is in the detail. SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) presence starts to usher in a new era. Think of the ability to set up collaborative conversations in a more robust and responsive way. Without being obtrusive, think about having more control over your communications.”

Dan MacLean, director of strategic partners and alliances with IDC Canada in Toronto, said there remains confusion in the marketplace because of differing approaches to IP from the vendor community.

“This is an important investment decision and a lot of it is strategic,” he said. “If I buy into an Avaya solution, for example, I have to understand where the company is going strategically. The same applies to Cisco, Nortel, 3Com or whomever.”


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