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Wainhouse and Jaclyn Allard on Avaya Web Alive

February 11, 2011 | Kendal Kirby
Avaya launched a new avatar collaboration tool, Web.Alive version 2.5.  The Editor of the Wainhouse Research Bulletin and Jacklyn Allard of TMCnet give their analysis.

Avaya_Web_Alive.jpgAvaya web.alive - Via the Wainhouse Researh Bulletin
Avaya announced the availability of web.alive version 2.5. According to the press release,
web.alive is a secure, immersive collaboration platform that uses personalized avatars and rich, spatial audio and visuals to expand on current modes of conferencing and collaboration.

Several WR analysts joined in briefing using web.alive. The spatial audio was very good, allowing participants to converse with those in close proximity using a computer mic and speakers. In a virtual meeting room, participants can display content like they would in a tradition web conference on one screen, co-browse the web on another, and display any content accessible through a web link on another. The graphic shows a screen shot of the
web.alive interface.

The environment is unusual and fun to work in. It was interesting to see who was in a meeting room and navigate the avatar close to them and begin a private voice conversation. This environment allows one to communicate person-to-person even in a room full of virtual people, much like we would do if were there in person. For example, web.alive could be effective for enabling people to meet and mingle after a formal web seminar. This type of meeting may not be for everyone, but the web.alive environment is a distinctly different way to communication and collaborate.

Telepresence - Avaya Expanding and Enriching Business via Telepresence and Avatars - By Jaclyn Allard via TMCnet
Today I was born once again into the world, more specifically, Avaya's web.alive 2.5 Web collaboration world. I had to learn all over again how to walk, talk and gesture. I was a newborn babe in a virtual world of other newcomers, Avaya (News - Alert) personnel and enterprise execs. I think that is exactly the point Avaya is trying to get across with their newest innovation - collaboration is possible. Whether I'm collaborating with an in-house or international team from my organization, or even meeting new faces and networking with new contacts in a more public forum, web.alive 2.5 can make it happen.

"Meetings, seminars, classes, and even hallway conversations over the Web can now be more social and truly engaging with Avaya web.alive," said Brett Shockley (News - Alert), vice president of Emerging Products and Technologies, in a statement.

Avaya web.alive, a secure, immersive collaboration platform, allows users to log on and interact with others via a personalized avatar, while utilizing spatial audio and visuals. For instance, it is only in Avaya's web.alive that I came face to face with Dave Michels, Principal at Verge1 and a frequent attendee and moderator at TMC's ITEXPO events, for the first time. Since I was unable to attend the recent conference, it was nice to see we could all come together in other ways.

Avaya's plan to launch its immersive Web collaboration platform, Avaya web.alive 2.5, via the new platform proved to be a success. The best way to learn about the new product was to experience it, and luckily for me it was easier to catch on to all the functions of the avatar than it was for me to learn to take my first steps as a toddler in the real world.

As TMC's CEO, Rich Tehrani (News - Alert), noted in a recent blog posting, "In certain rooms there are omnivoice areas meaning when you stand there, your voice gets amplified to all people in the room." Showing off these omnivoice areas, Brett Shockley and a couple guest speakers conducted today's event discussing the possibilities of the Avaya's virtual world and the benefit of both formal and informal meetings, the cost-effective solution of running leadership and team building meetings via the virtual world, and as one guest speaker and Director of IT at Carol University, John Arechavala, mentioned, the web.alive platform can even be implemented with successful results in an education environment.

Shockley took a moment during the web.alive presentation to unveil the new purchasing options for Avaya's web.alive, making it available as a software as a service through a monthly subscription for individual hosts or via annual concurrent user based pricing. Customers can also opt to install and manage the software on their own servers, hosting up to 150 users, and even possibly connecting servers to host more users. The flexibility of purchase options enables any size business or organization to use Avaya web.alive for meetings, training, or sales and service opportunities involving both internal and external participants. Avaya web.alive will be available from beginning March 1, 2011 in the U.S. via credit card purchase for $49/month for a single, named host that allows up to eight participants per session. MasterCard, Visa or American Express (News - Alert) will be accepted online for monthly subscriptions. Annual concurrent user subscriptions are also available via purchase order.

Now I think the question all attendees were asking themselves, and perhaps those of you reading this article: Will virtual worlds become more popular in business? Tehrani answered this question with confidence, saying, "I have to say yes. I see penetration growing among millennials and these people will soon be in the workforce. Besides, it is just so easy to see this environment popping up on your computer when you receive a call - CTI or Screen Pop 2.0 anyone? From there, you will get used to seeing it and then start exploring and inviting others to join. I really feel like Nortel is onto something here. This could just be a short-lived fad but it just seems like there is just so much productivity boosting that can be done with virtual business worlds - it just has to happen."

One thing is for certain, many of those just entering the business world and soon-to-be future execs have grown up in an increasingly available virtual world. Take for instance, the popularity of Second Life and video games such as World of Warcraft. Or perhaps the fact that social networking sites such as Facebook (News - Alert) see growth every day. We are all trying to connect, reconnect and find new ways of communication. Perhaps Tehrani is correct, Nortel-Avaya is on to something.

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