Avaya and Vonage strange bedfellows

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Avaya and Vonage strange bedfellows

Today Vonage, along with three other companies, was recognized by Avaya with the new Avaya Intelligent Communications Innovation Award "for their innovative approaches to weave communications into the fabric of their business". Maybe it's just me, but Avaya and Vonage seems like strange bedfellows. Just wait till Vonage finally targets the SMB market and competes with an Avaya IP-PBX, then we'll see if Avaya gives Vonage any future Innovation awards.

Actually, you can get Vonage lines with a business VoIP account using a few standard ATAs, but you still don't get advanced PBX functionality such as 3-digit extension-to-extension dialing and transfers. Although, I suppose an Avaya IP-PBX could use Vonage for the IP-trunking, so maybe they're not competitive after all. Anyway, here's the news they sent me.

Avaya Inaugurates Innovation Award for Companies Using Intelligent Communications to Improving Business Processes

--Vonage; the Wynn Las Vegas Resort; Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP; and The Visiting Nurse Service of New York First Recipients

Companies use voice and other business communications applications to increase customer service and satisfaction and gain competitive edge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Thursday, January 12, 2006

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - Rapid technology changes, increasing customer demands and the need to provide 24/7 customer service are driving companies to re-examine the way they do business. Four companies, Vonage; the Wynn Las Vegas Resort; Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP; and the Visiting Nurse Service of New York,have been recognized by Avaya (NYSE: AV), a leading global provider of business communications applications, systems and services, with the new Avaya Intelligent Communications Innovation Award for their innovative approaches to weave communications into the fabric of their business.

The awards were presented November 30, 2005 at a special forum entitled, Innovation is Everybody's Business,in New York City, hosted by Lou D'Ambrosio, senior vice president and president, global sales and marketing, and Avaya's "chief innovator," Ravi Sethi, President of Avaya Labs.

Intelligent Communications seamlessly connects communications applications and business applications, giving workers, customers and processes the ability to be linked to the right person, at the right time, by the right medium - voice, text and video - over any network.This right-time, right-choice communications gives businesses and workers increased agility through greater speed, responsiveness to customers and control over communications.

Avaya, the global market leader in IP telephony according to Synergy Research[1] and itself an innovator with Intelligent Communications, used the awards to highlight what's possible with IP Telephony for business and their customers.IP Telephony or VoIP can help a business improve customer's experience, increase business continuity and security, provide greater mobility for workers and enable better business performance.

"Innovation is particularly important for businesses now because performing well means managing operations to respond to the instant-gratification, multi-channel, distributed world where competition is a click away," said Lou D'Ambrosio, senior vice president and president, Global Sales and Marketing,."Companies must effectively use every means of communication with customers and make their increasingly mobile workers connected and empowered, everywhere they go. The company that does the best job of building a loyal customer base wins."

The four award winners and their innovations include:


Vonage is a pioneer in the broadband phone industry, setting the standard for pricing, features, call quality and reliability for the entire VoIP category.Its former contact-center system was challenged by increasing call volume.In March, it replaced that system with an Avaya Contact Center Solution.All of its agents now use Avaya IP Agent SoftPhone to handle its daily call volume.Like its customers, Vonage is an early technology adopter, using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) to make it easier to add and move agents, relocate its headquarters and make seamless handoffs between New Jersey and its growing contact center in Canada.
"Customer service is paramount to Vonage.Vonage's alliance with Avaya helps the company be more responsive to our customers' needs and embodies the company's commitment to utilize innovative technologies to improve customer service," stated Dan Bemis, senior vice president of Customer Operations for Vonage America.
Avaya DeveloperConnection member, Witness Systems, also provided workforce management software to help strategically manage and forecast staffing needs.The award was presented to Dan Bemis, senior vice president, Customer Operations, Vonage.

The Wynn Las Vegas Resort

When Wynn Las Vegas Resort and Country Club opened last April, the 60-story property set a new benchmark for customer service and convenience with an Internet Protocol (IP) telephony solution from Avaya and Avaya's strategic alliance partner Extreme Networks.The fully integrated voice and data network solution enables Wynn Las Vegas to provide a host of communications capabilities, from centralized guest service functions to in-room communications, throughout the hotel and its more than 2,700 guest rooms.

In addition to providing high-speed Internet access in guest rooms, the hotel uses 4,000 color Avaya IP screen phones throughout the hotel, guest rooms and its customer service facilities to deliver a variety of services.The new IP phones are rich with information about the hotel's services such as guest services, room occupancy status and event information right on the guest room phones and enable the guests to seamlessly access the hotel staff. The resort staff also uses Avaya Extension-to-Cellular, enabling the user's cellular phone to ring simultaneously when their office extension is dialed, for fewer missed calls and prompt guest service.

Avaya Unified Communication Center software provides the resort's highly mobile professional hospitality staff with speech access to their unified voice and email box enabling workers to use simple speech commands to manage messages by phone and perform communication functions such as conferencing, directory access and calendar management, for more efficient responses to guest requirements.

The award was presented to J.P. Ayache, telecommunications manager, Wynn Las Vegas Resort.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, based in Washington, D.C., is a national law firm with more than 425 lawyers in six cities. The firm is known for solving challenging business problems and resolving unique legal issues for many of the nation's largest companies, including Ford, The Home Depot, First Data and Westinghouse.

Sutherland serves clients across the nation and internationally, and understands the importance of technology as an integral part of their services. In addition to the standard modes of communication, we recently installed state-of-the-art voice and video-conferencing in all of our offices to further enhance communication abilities.

In December, 2004, the firm replaced its existing system in Washington with an Avaya IP system, including IP soft phones and Avaya Extension to Cellular.Client calls now connect with the lawyers whether they are on the road or at the courthouse.Additionally, they can monitor incoming voicemails on their PDAs. This has greatly increased their productivity and client responsiveness and centralized management ensures accurate client billing.IP Telephony also provides Sutherland with cost-effective business continuity by allowing the firm to locate survivable servers in multiple cities.

The award was presented to two Sutherland innovators, David McLean, director, Technology Services, and Dan Boling, Network/Telecommunications Manager.

The Visiting Nurse Service of New York.

The Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNS) is the largest not-for-profit home-healthcare agency in the nation and for the past century has been an integral part of keeping New York on its feet. VNS delivers the entire range of healthcare services throughout all five boroughs and Nassau and Westchester counties.Its 9,000-plus care workers see more than 26,000 patients a day. VNS is a critical responder in times of crisis, and its workers must be able to communicate with the people they serve at all times. VNS cannot afford to miss a call.

After a network assessment performed by Avaya Global Services, implementation began in 2003, with completion in February 2004.The organization now has almost 3,000 IP endpoints across 10 locations.In the contact center, about 300 agents take calls, all on IP, supported by the Avaya Call Management System.VNS's road warriors use Avaya Unified Messaging to stay in constant contact and minimize phone tag.

By moving to Avaya, VNS has improved agent productivity, increased responsiveness to incoming callers, and allowed for greater internal collaboration. VNS is saving more than $250,000 a year in communications costs.

The award was presented to Randy Cleghorne, director, IT Planning and Management, the Visiting Nurse Services of New York.

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