Avaya Zang upgrades workflow, IoT tools

Avaya Zang has upgraded its CPaaS platform with new workflow and IoT tools. The vendor is also making it easier to integrate Zang apps with Avaya UC hardware.

Avaya has added features to Zang Cloud to help developers build custom workflows and pair communication platforms with IoT devices. The new tools also make it easier to integrate workflows in the Zang communication platform as a service, or CPaaS, with Avaya's on-premises software.

Zang Cloud has embedded workflow functions and APIs from the Arrow Connect IoT cloud, facilitating the integration of internet-of-things sensors with communication apps and real-time notification systems. Developers could use Arrow Connect's IoT tools to establish alerts for when a piece of equipment malfunctions, for example, with an IoT sensor triggering an automated call to a contact center or an SMS message to a team. 

Zang, an Avaya company, has also upgraded its drag-and-drop workflow tool to include predesigned templates that should make it easier for businesses with less coding experience to create and customize communication workflows. For example, developers could build interactive voice response applications and establish triggers for mass notification texts and calls within a contact center.

"These feature announcements improve both Avaya's ability to compete in the crowded CPaaS market, while also enabling Avaya partners like ConvergeOne to build new customized applications," said Irwin Lazar, an analyst with Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.

With this month's upgrades, developers are now able to layer more easily any Zang Cloud workflow onto any Avaya infrastructure, said Davide Petramala, senior director of sales for Avaya Zang. The layering creates a hybrid scenario for developers, allowing them to build workflows that start in the cloud and end in a contact center or unified communications (UC) suite, he said.

"Zang was [initially] somewhat limited in appeal because it had limited features, and it was really geared toward an Avaya customer. Now, with these additions, they are addressing both of those fronts," said independent UC analyst Dave Michels, the founder of TalkingPointz Research in Superior, Colo.

Avaya Zang complements vendor's cloud portfolio

Avaya launched Zang Inc. as an internal, startup-like offshoot two years ago, with the goal of developing multi-tenant public cloud services, which the legacy vendor lacked at the time.

Avaya Zang now has around 12,000 registered developers on its CPaaS platform. It also offers Zang Office, a UC-as-a-service voice platform for SMBs, and Zang Spaces, a hosted team collaboration app.

As it seeks to increase cloud revenue post-bankruptcy, Avaya should be able to use Zang's public cloud offerings to support hybrid deployments with its private cloud and on-premises platforms, said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst at ZK Research in Westminster, Mass.

"I look at Zang as a stopgap for Avaya on the way to a larger cloud strategy," Kerravala said, predicting that Avaya would eventually sell Zang's UCaaS technologies under its brand.

Avaya commits to CPaaS market

Last month, Avaya rolled Zang into its newly formed cloud business unit and announced that the offshoot would primarily focus on the CPaaS market moving forward, competing with the likes of Twilio and Vonage.

A 2017-2018 Nemertes Research survey of several hundred enterprises globally found 9.1% of companies are already building their unified communication and collaboration applications using APIs, and another 22.5% will do the same by the end of 2019, according to Lazar.

Avaya Zang's CPaaS offering should be a strategic asset for Avaya, as more enterprises undertake digital transformation projects in search of customizable services, said Michael Brandenburg, an analyst with Frost & Sullivan.

"The days of the cookie-cutter solution are nearing an end," Brandenburg said. "That's where something like a CPaaS is a great gap-filler."

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