Avaya Collaboration Pods are not exactly new, but the company is rolling out more models and functions for its portfolio of communications and collaboration solutions aimed at enterprises and cloud Relevant Products/Services service providers.

Specifically, Avaya is offering two new Collaboration Pod models that make it possible for cloud service providers to offer Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) to end customers.

Connex and ROI Networks, two cloud service providers, are among the first to leverage Avaya Collaboration Pod to offer UCaaS to clients.

"We understand that companies want to take advantage of advanced communications capabilities but may not have the resources or desire to manage the operation," said Sayan Navaratnam, CEO of Connex. Navaratnam said Avaya's Collaboration Pod lets Connex Cloud offer customers "multiple delivery options as part of a managed service, including per user/per month, cloud-based UC service."

What Is a Collaboration Pod?

In case you aren't familiar with Avaya Collaboration Pods, here's some background: The pods are based on technology from Avaya, EMC Relevant Products/Services and VMware Relevant Products/Services. The pods make it possible to deliver virtualized applications, computing, storage Relevant Products/Services and networking, with administrative and provisioning functions consolidated in what Avaya calls a "single orchestration system."

Avaya offers integrated support for Collaboration Pod components, which promises to make it easier to upgrade software Relevant Products/Services and do away with the need for support coverage from multiple vendors. Avaya also claims its Collaboration Pods can reduce the time to deploy virtualized real-time Relevant Products/Services applications from months to weeks. The company first announced the solution in April.

"Avaya Collaboration Pods are already proving their value to enterprises and cloud service providers who are accelerating time to service, reducing data Relevant Products/Services center complexity and improving application availability," said Marc Randall, senior vice president and general manager of Avaya Networking. "Working with EMC and VMware, this turnkey deployment model for Avaya Aura continues Avaya's strategy to provide high performance communications and collaboration applications that are easy to deploy, use and manage from data center to desktop and mobile Relevant Products/Services devices."

Cloud in a Box

On the enterprise Relevant Products/Services front, Avaya added customer Relevant Products/Services experience management functionality to the Collaboration Pod model. That means the technology now supports multichannel interactions through Avaya Elite Multichannel, self-service via the Avaya Experience Portal, and management through the Avaya Call Management System, as well as UC capabilities.

Avaya also improved the product with Fabric Connect networking. Fabric Connect is a standards-based network Relevant Products/Services virtualization Relevant Products/Services technology that works to better network performance of real-time applications, along with virtual Relevant Products/Services machine mobility, agility and faster time to service via end-point provisioning.

Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research, said the pods are highly useful.

"Unified Communications -- and I would put call centers in that category -- is moving to an as-a-service model. Unless you are a global telco, building out your own cloud product can be quite challenging," Kerravala told us.

"The easiest way to roll out cloud projects is to leverage a pre-configured, validated solution like Avaya's pods. For reseller partners, it offers an opportunity to build their own cloud without having to go through all the testing work. This concept of a 'cloud in a box' is becoming increasingly popular."

The new Avaya Collaboration Pods will be generally available in the third calendar quarter.