The Spirit of Nortel Networks Lives On In Avaya...

Had the opportunity this week to catch up with an old IT mate, Nigel Moulton – recently of D-Link, anciently of 3Com with several stops in between – now installed at Avaya,

Avaya, that is, who spent a few $ on the Nortel Networks Enterprise business at the beginning of the year. Given that I’ve got a corner of the lab which could easily double as a musuem of Nortel Networks/Bay/Wellfleet/Synoptics products over the past two decades, I have a genuine (and warm) interest in the future of these product lines. It was therefore reassuring to hear Nigel confirm that the old product lines are being maintained and progressed, so the future for enterprise customers is sorted (technical term), in which case, if you’re longstanding (or short, sitting) enterprise customers of Nortel, you don’t have to dash off to Cisco, HP etc… There is an alternative which is to not actually alternate at all.

Nigel also spoke about a new Avaya product for the call centre which is – sit down, buckled up with a stiff drink at this point – designed to make you, as the caller, the focal, centralised point of the conversation, so – instead of being passed around from one staff member to the next, or from one automated voice to another (are you listening Barclays?) and then being dropped somewhere along the line… Instead, you become the fixed point and stay put so, in theory, you don’t get dropped and the emphasis is on the call centre individuals instead in the form of a collaborative type session with you at the centre.

It might just work and here’s a sort of precedent. The Netevents – www.netevents.org – industry symposiums I regularly attend and speak at (there’s no escape!) originally had a series of round table interviews between vendors and press/analysts, whereby the vendors had individual tables and the press went round from one to t’other – with a timetable and agenda – except that they regularly failed to make several of the meetings, getting, er, “lost” along the way, especially if a bar was close enough at hand. So, this was solved quite simply by giving the press/analysts fixed table spots and the vendors moved around instead. Since the emphasis was very much on the vendors to attend the meetings and powerpoint people to death, making the meets press-centric did the trick. Spot the similarity between this successful about-turn and what Avaya is doing at the call centre?

Hoping to get my hands on some of the Avaya products for testing but, meantime, we did include an Avaya solution in a recent report on the HP ProCurve 2520 Switch, which is available (FOC of course) from the www.broadband-testing.co.uk website, as a wee taster.

Wine Tip: And talking of wee tastings, as is my secondary missive here, if any of you are heading to the Costa Brava this summer (there is one going on in Spain, honest and we won’t get into the Tossa de Mar jokes here) then do try the local Emporda D.O. wines, as they are excellent and have some whacky, old grape types in them too.I can especially recommend  – as a rosé wine author – the Espelt Lledoner Rosat, though they’re all worth a try, including some sweet reds.

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