What is Avaya?

Avaya is an American technology company that specializes in business communications services such as unified communications (UC) and contact center (CC). Along with on-premises services, Avaya provides unified communications as a service (UCaaS), contact center as a service (CCaaS) and communications platform as a service (CPaaS).

Avaya produces and sells its own devices, such as desktop phones, headsets, conference phones and all-in-one video conferencing devices. Avaya is a business communications service provider whose product offerings are marketed toward companies of all sizes, in all industries.

What type of products does Avaya offer?

Avaya offers a portfolio of services and products that revolve around business communications. According to Avaya's website, offerings include the following:

  • Unified communications. Enterprise communications features such as telephony, video conferencing, emails, instant messaging and presence technology are offered through a single, integrated platform.
  • Contact center. Contact centers manage customer interactions across various channels of communications, such as call centers, emails, social media and webchats. Contact centers focus on customer interactions, tracking engagements and interaction data. Artificial intelligence (AI) functionality, such as voice-to-text conversion, is included.
  • Phones and devices. These include desktop phones, touchscreen session initiation protocol (SIP) phone systems that can access cloud-based apps (Vantage series), mobile devices, conference phones, web conference cameras (Avaya Collaboration Unit, Huddle Camera series), webcam-and-screen video conference room systems (Avaya Executive, Avaya Room System) and headsets.
  • Cloud services.Avaya's cloud communications services can be hosted in the public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud. Services offered under the Avaya OneCloud brand include UCaaS, CCaaS and CPaaS.

Avaya's unified communications, contact center and communications platform products are also available on premises or in the public cloud, private cloud or hybrid cloud.

What type of businesses does Avaya serve?

The need for communications is ubiquitous regardless of company size or industry, so the market for Avaya's products and services can include any given organization. Avaya's customers include healthcare organizations, banks, corporations and small to midsize businesses.

Purchasing plans for physical devices, on-premises services and cloud services can be scaled to fit the needs of different-sized businesses. Avaya's website, however, does include a page for small to midsize business solutions, which lists UCaaS, CCaaS and desktop/conference phones.

Who are Avaya's competitors?

Avaya's competitors include any companies that offer similar products. Its main competitors are companies that lead in VoIP and other similar communications services, such as Cisco and Mitel. Additional competitors include:

  • Microsoft, NEC, OneScreen and Unify, for unified communications products;
  • Genesys, for on-premises contact center and CCaaS products; and
  • Logitech and Yealink, for phones and devices.

Avaya's history

Avaya emerged as a spin-off company from Lucent Technologies in 2000 and is currently headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif. Since Avaya's birth, it has acquired several companies with communications technology assets.

In 2001, Avaya released a contact center customer relationship management (CRM) software called Avaya Interaction Center. Avaya became a privately owned company in 2007, after being acquired by private equity firms Silver Lake Partners and TPG Capital.

In 2008, Avaya introduced its Avaya Speech to Text technology, which converts voicemails and other voice messages into readable text for computers and mobile devices. In the same year, Avaya also introduced Avaya Unified Communications, and Kevin Kennedy became the new CEO and president. Avaya Aura, for integrated communications, was introduced in 2009. That year, Avaya also acquired Nortel's enterprise assets.

In 2010, Avaya was the contracted network equipment supplier for the 2010 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in Vancouver. The Avaya Aura contact center was introduced in 2010 as well. In June 2011, Avaya filed for an IPO that would offer $1 billion in stocks. Shortly after in October 2011, Avaya announced that it would acquire Sipera Systems and Aurix.

The acquisition of Sipera was to obtain its unified communications security applications and its session border controller (SBC). The purchase of Aurix offered the U.K.-based company's speech analytics and audio data mining technologies. In June 2012, Avaya acquired Radvision, an Israeli company that offered VoIP video and teleconference technology.  

Avaya filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan. 19, 2017. The company said that its foreign operations would be unaffected. Furthermore, $5.5 billion in assets were listed, and $6.3 billion in debt. In July 2017, Avaya sold its networking business to Extreme Networks for additional financial assets during bankruptcy.

In April 2019, the company announced a partnership with the U.K.-based Standard Chartered Bank to provide the latter with a new customer experience (CX) through private cloud-based services. In March 2020, Avaya partnered with RingCentral to release its UCaaS Avaya Cloud Office.

Avaya Engage

Avaya Engage is a yearly conference hosted by Avaya, along with the International Avaya User Group (IAUG). The conference is a four-day event held every year in multiple countries with "the future of communications experience" as the main theme. Engage includes general sessions, workshops, guest speakers, solutions expos and other social networking opportunities for Avaya channel partners, affiliates and users.

This was last updated in September 2021

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