Q&A: Avaya's CEO on how video will change business world

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Last Wednesday, Avaya, Inc. made a splash in New York City with a portfolio of new collaboration products, including the Flare Experience multimedia conferencing system, a new tablet designed to support the Flare software and the web.alive virtual reality meeting service, among other offerings. In the latest installment of the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, IDGE Chief Content Officer John Gallant talked with Avaya leader Kevin Kennedy about the company's collaboration strategy, how the new products change the competitive battle with Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems, Inc., and what it's going to take to make video a part of everyday life for business users.

A lot of the pre-launch buzz about your announcements centered on Avaya developing a tablet in a market that already has a variety of tablet options. But that wasn't really the focus here, was it? How would you encapsulate the key news of the rollout? Today, the fact is that people buy isolated high-def video for enterprises and they probably spend $5,000-$6,000 to put that on their desks. The second fact is that most desktop video consumes a lot of bandwidth, 1.5M to 2M [bit/sec]. That's limiting for global companies that want to go to Asia, South America, and so forth. It's a boundary that can't be crossed at that level. Third, these are disparate systems, so it's hard to do things like forward an unanswered video call into voicemail. Integration is poor because [systems are] isolated.

Avaya Flare videoconferencing device
The Avaya Desktop Video Device runs the company's Flare interface. (Photo courtesy of Avaya Inc.)
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