Wednesday Keynote: Avaya's Lawrence Byrd

Greg Galitzine : Greg Galitzine's VoIP Authority Blog
Greg Galitzine

Wednesday Keynote: Avaya's Lawrence Byrd

Wednesday morning, and the cavalcade of compelling keynotes continues. This morning’s session began with Avaya’s Lawrence Byrd. Lawrence is Director of IP Telephony and Mobility Solutions, Avaya, and helps drive the definition and communication of Avaya’s solution strategy.

Byrd spoke of the ongoing Evolution in communications and how it affects everyone, be it vendors, developers, customers, consumers, etc… and how telecommunications has been a force for market transformation throughout history.

He gave some specific examples, such as:

* The telegraph’s impact on transportation;

* The stock ticker’s impact on capital markets;

* The telephone’s impact on mass production (specifically as a supply chain facilitator); and

* IP Telephony’s impact on…?

What will the impact of IP telephony be?

Paraphrasing from Thomas Frideman’s book "The World is Flat," Byrd pointed out that... "the introduction of new technology alone is never enough. The spurts in productivity come when a new technology comes along, and is combined with new ways of doing business."

Byrd went on to tell that audience that there is a dividing line between two camps regarding VoIP. There’s the camp that sees VoIP as simply facilitating the way we’ve always done things and then there’s those who look to VoIP to rethink the way we do business, and "to fundamentally change things going forward."

With eight percent of global enterprise telephony lines utilizing IP in 2004 (Byrd said that Avaya’s 2005 numbers were not yet released, but probably would be around 10-12% IP) moving to 35 percent of all lines being IP by 2008 the projection is for a CAGR of 47%.

"We are at the beginning of the road," Byrd said. "In order to grow we need to change the way we approach the way we do business."

We already work differently, through telecommuting, virtual offices, home offices, and we are of course increasingly mobile. IP Telephony can facilitate the bringing together of these various modes of communicating.

Continuing on a common thread across many of the speeches here at the show, Byrd went on to say that we need to look to convergence, for having multiple e-mail stores, office voice mail, home voice mail, cell voice mail,… etc… is really unacceptable. Integration, convergence, that’s where we are headed.

We are witnessing the evolution to intelligent communications with TDM moving to IP moving to SIP, or otherwise stated, traditional communications moving to converged communications (offering cost reduction and operational efficiency) moving to communications embedded within the fabric of our business (offering business agility competitive differentiation, and customer loyalty). How does all of this help us with our customers, asked Byrd. Communications has to make this work better.

He gave a great example of an insurance company that rather than missing calls and losing money, can utilize IP telephony to link together various resources, leveraging the power of IP to bring assets together, bringing resolution to the customer’s requests/needs.

Human latency slows processes, but IP telephony-based communications integrated into the way we run our businesses can help to speed up the process.

The real challenge, Byrd said inclosing is this: "How on earth do we get from here to there? We must take practical evolutionary steps, leverage existing infrastructure and investment, while adding on mobility, presence, collaboration, and video. And we can’t forget security, high availability, open standards, and of course business process integration."

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