Definition

Avaya

Contributor(s): Wesley Chai

Avaya is an American technology company that specializes in business communications services, such as unified communications (UC), and contact center (CC).

Along with on-premises services, Avaya also provides unified communications as a service (UCaaS), contact center as a service (CCaaS), and communications platform as a service (CPaaS). Furthermore, Avaya produces and sells its own devices, such as desktop phones, headsets, conference phones and all-in-one video conferencing devices. Being a business communications service provider, Avaya's product offerings are marketed toward companies of all sizes, in all industries.

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Avaya emerged as a spin-off company from Lucent Technologies in 2000, and is currently headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. Since the company's birth, it has acquired a number of companies with communications technology assets.

What type of products does Avaya offer?

Avaya offers a portfolio of services and products that revolve around business communications. According to Avaya's website, offerings include cloud services, contact center, unified communications, phones and other devices. Avaya's unified communications, contact center and communications platform products are available on premises, or in the public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud.

Contact center. Contact centers manage customer interactions across various channels of communications, such as call centers, emails, social media and webchats. Contact centers focus on customer interactions, tracking engagements and interaction data. Artificial intelligence (AI) functionality, such as voice-to-text conversion, is included.

Unified communications. Enterprise communications features such as telephony, video conferencing, emails, instant messaging and presence technology are offered through a single, integrated platform.

Phones and devices. These include desktop phones, touchscreen SIP phone systems that can access cloud-based apps (Vantage series), mobile devices, conference phones, web conference cameras (Avaya Collaboration Unit, Huddle Camera series), webcam-and-screen video conference room systems (Avaya Executive, Avaya Room System) and headsets.

Cloud services. Avaya's cloud communications services can be hosted in the public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud. Services offered under the Avaya OneCloud brand include unified communications as a service, contact center as a service and communications platform as a service.

What type of businesses does Avaya serve?

As the need for communications is ubiquitous regardless of company size or industry, the market for Avaya's products and services can include any given organization. As a result, Avaya's customers include healthcare organizations, banks, corporations and small to midsize businesses. Purchasing plans for physical devices, on-premises services and cloud services can be scaled to fit the needs of different-sized businesses. Avaya's website, however, does include a page for small to midsize business solutions, which lists UCaaS, CCaaS, and desktop/conference phones.

Who are Avaya's competitors?

Avaya's competitors include any companies that offer similar products. Avaya's main competitors are Cisco and Mitel, that are also leaders in voice over IP (VoIP) and other similar communications services. Additional competitors are as follows:

  • Among its unified communications products, Avaya's competitors include Cisco, Microsoft, Mitel, NEC, Unify and OneScreen.
  • For on-premises contact center and CCaaS products, Avaya's main competitor is Genesys.
  • For Avaya's phones and devices, competitors include Cisco, Microsoft, Logitech, Polycom and Yealink.

Avaya's history

Avaya was born in 2000, and was previously a unit of Lucent Technologies (which itself spun off from AT&T in 1995) that broke off into its own public company. In 2001, Avaya released a contact center customer relationship management (CRM) software called Avaya Interaction Center.

Avaya became a privately owned company in 2007, after being acquired by two private equity firms -- Silver Lake Partners and TPG Capital. In 2008, Avaya introduced its Avaya Speech to Text technology, which converts voicemails and other voice messages into readable text for computers and mobile devices. In the same year Avaya also introduced Avaya unified communications, and Kevin Kennedy became the new CEO and president. Avaya Aura, for integrated communications, was introduced in 2009. That year, Avaya also acquired Nortel's enterprise assets.

In 2010, Avaya was the contracted network equipment supplier for the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver. The Avaya Aura contact center was introduced in 2010 as well. In June 2011, Avaya filed for an IPO that would offer $1 billion in stocks. Shortly after in October 2011, Avaya announced that it would acquire Sipera Systems and Aurix. The purpose of acquiring Sipera was to obtain their unified communications security applications and its session border controller (SBC). The purchase of Aurix offered the U.K.-based company's speech analytics and audio data mining technologies. In June 2012, Avaya acquired Radvision, an Israeli company that offered VoIP video and teleconference technology.  

Avaya filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan. 19, 2017. The company said that its foreign operations would be unaffected. Furthermore, $5.5 billion in assets were listed, and $6.3 billion in debt. In July 2017, Avaya sold its networking business to Extreme Networks, for additional financial assets during bankruptcy.

In April 2019, Avaya announced a partnership with the U.K.-based Standard Chartered Bank, to provide the latter with a new customer experience (CX) through private cloud-based services.

In March 2020, Avaya released its UCaaS Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral, in a partnership.

Avaya Engage

Avaya Engage is a yearly conference hosted by Avaya, along with the International Avaya User Group (IAUG). Avaya Engage is a four-day event held every year, in multiple countries, with "the future of communications experience" being the main theme. Engage includes general sessions, workshops, guest speakers, solutions expos and other social networking opportunities for Avaya channel partners, affiliates and users.

Avaya Engage 2021 is planned to be held in Orlando, Fla., Feb. 7-10, 2021.

This was last updated in September 2020

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