July 22, 2015
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It’s been a month since I traveled to Denver to attend the IAUG (International Avaya Users Group) “Converge” conference in Denver, Colorado. This conference was one I used to go to every other year at most, but recently I’ve been attending every year… I think I’m on a three year streak. Plus, this year the conference was in Denver, hands down one of my favorite places to visit in the US.
This year I was asked to speak on two separate topics which changed the experience of the conference for me. It’s been nearly 10 years since I’ve spoken at an IAUG conference and this time I was speaking on two very diverse topics. I’ll be posting more details on what I spoke on in subsequent blog posts, but I did a joint presentation on the EDP (Avaya Engagement Development Platform) and the OSSI Administration protocol. Additionally I participated in the EDP meetup and presented some of MSU’s Telecom innovations during the Tuesday keynote.
This year the conference was in the Denver Convention Hall. The conference center is /huge/ and our conference managed to only fill 1/4 of it with our thousands of attendees. One of the things I like about the convention center is that there are lots of couches and places to get some quick work done between sessions or meet up with others without being in the way. Generally the A/V was pretty good which for the last few conferences I attended was a sticking point.
I wish I could have attended more sessions, but given my schedule I was pretty booked up. There was lots of buzz of a few topics (like the roadmaps) that sounded great. The few sessions I did get to attend were great — I think I only ended up leaving one without getting something out of it. The tradeshow floor was, as always, great. When you are at your home office you often forget about how large the ecosystem is around the simple telephone on your desk.
In the years I’ve been working with Avaya, it seems like they are finally starting to be able to realize their ‘dreams’ of how all the building blocks come together. This year there was much more cohesiveness between their products and seemingly less things being developed in silos. There was also much less “us vs. them” between the “red” Avaya customers and “blue” Nortel customers than last year. With Avaya a year into moving into a suite licensing where they can freely innovate products and worry less about separate licensing mechanisms for each one there is more and better innovation and alignment in them all.
It was neat watching the company promote the EDP (Avaya Engagement Platform, formerly Collaboration Environment) as heavily as they have. This is a development platform, similar in effect to Twilio, that really cracks open the internals of the enterprise phone system and allows companies that want to innovate with their communications infrastructure to do so. At Michigan State University we’ve been able to take advantage of the platform and push the boundaries of our capabilities to create some cool apps that are producing some real ROI. With Avaya pushing the platform company wide, I only see the toolbox getting bigger and more useful as more adjuncts plug into the platform and allow us to do even cooler things.
I’ll be back again next year — and hopefully will be selected to speak on some more cool topics and projects we are doing.