Avaya has just released it's latest major release of it's mega-selling communications platform for SMEs, Avaya IP Office. Here I pick out what I think are the 5 best new features from an end-user's perspective.
It's probably fair to say that Avaya IP Office (in all it's historical guises) is a bit of a legend in our industry, and as the 10th major release approaches it's now way past 500,000 units sold worldwide. As such, a new major release is big news not just for the industry, but also for it's many thousands of business users in the UK.
As an Avaya Partner we were invited to an in-depth briefing recently in Manchester where we were given the lowdown on a whole host of upgrades, improvements and feature enhancements that will be coming out in Release 10 (R10), but it's fair to say a lot of them were a bit 'techhie' and behind-the-scenes, so I wanted to focus in on why this latest release is important to end-users, and why you should make the effort to upgrade from your earlier version of IP Office on to R10.
Here is a video I did straight away after the briefing on my initial thoughts, and underneath I've focused in even further and picked out the Top 5 features of Avaya IP Office R10 that will be of interest to end-users.
Top 5 new end-user features in Avaya IP Office R10.
1. Workforce Optimization Select
This is number one because it has the power to revolutionise the right type of business. Any company with a heavy-traffic customer contact centre who is committed to giving the very best customer experience should take a look at Avaya's Workforce Optimisation Select. This was developed first for Avaya's larger Aura platform, and is now available to SMEs via IP Office.
It's way too deep a solution (it's really platform a a suite of features) to cover here, but the things that jumped out at me were:
- PCI Compliant Voice AND Screen recording
Centrally record and playback an agent call and see what they were doing on screen at the same time. A powerful way to quality check agent performance and compliance.
- Speech analytics
Allows you to search for certain words within recorded speech audio. An incredibly powerful tool saving time searching for specific calls, and allowing you to ensure your agents are using the right kind of language with your customers.
- Forecasting analytics
By monitoring and learning your call patterns, staffing patterns, peaks and troughs, this powerful software can help you plan your business more efficiently, ensuring agents are deployed where they will be needed, as well as where they are needed.
Workforce Optimization Select really is a powerful suite of programs for the modern contact centre, so if you're interested I urge you to find our more.
2. Fewer Restarts
Currently there are lots of areas within IP Office where changes to the programming requires a system restart to apply. This is annoying for end-users who risk full system downtime, and it's annoying for us service providers because we can't just make necessary changes whenever we need to!
Not only have Avaya reduced the number of instances whereby a system reset is required, they have also committed to moving towards a zero restart system, so there should be fewer and fewer restart instances with each new software upgrade.
3. Webmeeting via WebRTC
WebRTC is still a relatively new technology but has the ability to revolutionise the telecommunications world over time.
It essentially is a method which allows web browsers to connect to each other directly for voice and video calls, with no fiddly and potentially dangerous little bits of software to install. Basically, it makes initiating a web conference much smoother and more reliable, and will also over time be platform agnostic (eg/ it already works on almost any device you can have a Chrome browser on).
In R10 WebRTC can be used to conect to collaboration calls via Avaya Communicator, but for internal calls only at this stage. Eventually, though, it is expected to be rolled ot to external users too.
4. More diagnostic tools
This may seem like something more for the engineer than the end users, but anything that helps your support service provider diagnose issues more quickly also gets your system running more smoothly more quickly.
The key new tools added to R10 are:
- More line diagnostics
Added diagnostic tools to test voltage and return loss can help your support engineer dive deeper into line issues and get a more detailed idea of exactly where the issue lies.
- Voice Quality Monitoring
Based on software supplied by VOIP monitoring specialists Prognosis, these additional tools should help support engineers investigate call quality issues more thoroughly, and without necessarily having to recreate what may have been an intermittent fault. Call quality is a common pain point for end-users so any extra tools to fix these issues are welcome.
5. New top-of-the-range handset
Well, we say handset, Avaya say "Video Collaboration Station", and for once I think that's not just marketing bull!
Here's what makes this more than just a handset with a screen:
- The HD 1080p camera is detachable, allowing for greater 'show and tell' in web meetings
- HDMI output allows for meetings to be 'cast' to a large TV screen when several people are present.
- Several connection options - built- in WiFI, dual Gigabit Ethernet and HDMI input allows almost any device to be connected.
- Cordless handset and USB and bluetooth peripheral support means you can be truly free to roam if need be!
So, that's my Top 5 anyway. There's lots more than that on offer, this is just a snapshot!
Please take a look at the video above and leave me any comments you have and I'll answer them when I can.
If you're interested in moving your business to IP Office or upgrading your existing installation to R10, please get in touch.
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