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Mid-East ‘leapfrogging’ legacy tech

Region deploying technologies that developed markets are only gearing up for, says Avaya exec.

Mid-East ‘leapfrogging’ legacy tech
Allard: It doesn't matter which entity, they're very innovative in the solution set

Customers in the Middle East region are leapfrogging legacy networking technologies and applying new techniques that developed markets are only just gearing up for, according to Pierre-Paul Allard, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Avaya.

Speaking to Network Middle East, Allard said that he was pleasantly surprised by the level of innovation that he'd seen among Middle Eastern customers, many of which he had lead conversations with at the vendor's PartnerConnect Summit in Dubai last month.

"Contact centres are in full multi-channel mode, they're deploying applications, they're running in a collaboration environment. And, for example, this is one of the regions that has the deepest penetrations of our Fabric Connect offering, looking to software-defined networking," he explained.

"You're talking with them, and it doesn't matter which entity, whether it's financial or government or whatever, they're very, very innovative in the solution set. It keeps you on your toes."

Allard said that he sees customers deploying full stacks of technologies in this region, as they hope to bring their unified communications and contact centre environments onto a single infrastructure. He also explained that customers in the Middle East are more willing to experiment with network fabric overlays for applications such as voice.

"A gentleman from Abu Dhabi Police told me that they found the network to be an integral part of the voice architecture. And so voice actually runs better in their environment on the fabric, which is why they've overlayed so many," he explained.

He said that, in the more developed markets, Avaya's customers ask for first- and second-level support when they have issues in their contact centres, and expect a new release or piece of code to alleviate the problem. However, he claimed that, 70% of the time, it turns out to be a network problem due to overlaying too many applications on a traditional architecture, causing intermittent problems. In the Middle East, however, he said that customers worked out this issue earlier than others.

Allard also spent time explaining Avaya's cloud computing play, which he said was borne out of the vendor's managed services offerings that it brought to market more than four years ago.

"That's evolved very rapidly to progressive companies, who are trying to deploy applications and are saying that the infrastructure component should be in a cloud. They don't want it to leave their premises, but they don't want to manage it, and they don't want an outsource function," he explained.

"So we go in, and we will typically take the infrastructure, we'll do a refresh, and then it's a rate-based strategy, so it's a private cloud offering on a rate per agent, rate per user, or rate per application. Overall, globally two years ago, that was about a $300 million business. It's now well over $1 billion in terms of contributions in bookings."

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