The industry is moving into a new phase of cloud computing, one where cloud technology is used to deliver a more collaborative environment. Think of it as Cloud 2.0, says David Murashige, vice president of business development for Avaya, a key Carousel Industries partner.
Cloud’s first phase was all about cost reduction and simplification, he says, in that it freed companies from having to manage all of their own systems. “What has changed is that the level of capability that can be delivered in the cloud has increased significantly,” Murashige says. Now the cloud can deliver unified communications solutions including voice, video, instant messaging and more across various cloud models: public, private and hybrid.
Cloud-based UC for All
And it’s not just for big companies. At the recent Enterprise Connect event, Avaya announced the Avaya Collaborative Cloud framework, an overarching plan for how to use, build, deliver and enhance cloud-based collaboration solutions built using Avaya tools.
One of the new offerings under the framework is AvayaLive Connect, a cloud-based UC solution aimed at companies with 20 or fewer employees. These are companies that generally don’t have dedicated IT staff and thus can struggle to deliver the types of offerings that consumers have grown accustomed to. AvayaLive Connect changes that, giving small business access to voice calling, integrated email and voicemail, instant messaging and presence capabilities that work with a range of platforms, from including Macs, PCs, Android and IOS devices.
It’s all software-based and customers can get it online with a credit card, or at least they will be once it’s generally available this summer.
Cloud Delivers 3D Conferencing
Another that demonstrates just how far the cloud has come is AvayaLive Engage, which is an enhanced version of the previous web.alive offering. Engage is an immersive, web-based collaboration offering. It’s an environment where people have access to spatial audio and video and 3D avatars that can replicate various settings, such as a conference room. The system allows private sidebars, so you and a colleague can have a sidebar conversation separate from the others in the meeting. There’s also sharing capabilities, for things like video and whiteboards. “It’s a step up from web conferencing,” Murashige says. “It’s great for training scenarios, project teams or any kind of replication of a real-world conference environment. It’s much more immersive than a regular videoconference.”
Building a Cloud Foundation
In addition to the AvayaLive offerings, the Collaborative Cloud framework also includes a private hosted cloud offering and a public hosted offering that enables service providers to offer cloud services to their customers. Finally, the framework includes the Avaya Virtual Enterprise Network Architecture (VENA – which you can hear more about in this podcast) and Avaya Aura. VENA describes how to build a standards-based private cloud infrastructure that can deliver mission critical applications while Aura is the core communications platform for UC and contact center applications.
Taken together, the Collaborative Cloud components enable enterprises and service providers (such as Carousel) to build cloud offerings that fit the needs of a range of customers. “Avaya is all about integrating communications, the people and the data that reside within companies into a cohesive system,” Murashige says.
What do you think Cloud 2.0 is? How do you see cloud computing evolving as it offers more and more functionality for businesses. What aspects of your business are you using the cloud for?