Avaya History

Old Analog Phone

Image Source: Flickr.com

Avaya Company is as old as Telephone sets

As I have been talking about the future of IP Telephony Market and the competition between Avaya and Cisco, I have decided to walk you through the History behind Avaya to better Understand the company capability, and later on give you a brief overview about their products and services.

Avaya as a name is really new name (founded in 2000), but as a technology is as old as the telephone sets, when Alexander Graham Bell Invented a device that could transmit speech electrically called telephone in 1876 at an age of 26.

Bell Has formed his own company Bell Telephone Company which developed over the years but the focus of it was experiments only. But Bells did participate in another company called American Telephone and Telegraph which became what is known now as AT&T. This company was established in 1885 to handle long distance customer Telephone services in started to operate in New York and reached Chicago 7 Years later (1892). 2 Years later Bell himself decided to quit working in the Telephone market, but American Telephone and Telegraph with their existing customer bases decided to move forward with their services, at 1899 American Telephone and Telegraph decided to buy the assets of American bell and became the parent of Bell Systems. American Telephone and Telegraph expanded their services and reached San Francisco in 1915.

Since American Telephone and Telegraph has started to offer their services widely they decided to make American Telephone and Telegraph provide one system for universal services and started to acquiring competitors starting from 1907, which made some regularity issues with the government, at 1913 American Telephone and Telegraph signed the Kingsbury commitment which forbade the company from buying any more independent company without government approval.

American Telephone and Telegraph till this point has offered a Telephone Sets services with wide infrastructure that covered the USA but its now the time for innovation and here starts the real history of Avaya, in 1925 Company decided to establish a new unit named after Bell and called Bell Telephone Laboratories or Bell Labs or what is known later research and development (R&D as mentioned in most documents) which continued developing phone systems. and AT&T started to play the monopoly game of controlling the market till 1934 where the government set AT&T up as a regulated monopoly under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission As result Bell System spin of AT&T and by 1940 Bell Systems owned back most telephone service in the United States, from local and long-distance service to the telephones themselves. Bell started to play the same monopoly game AT&T played which made the government in 1949 to limit AT&T to 85% of US National Telephone Network and precluding the Bell System from extending its reach into the fledgling computer industry and from continuing to hold interests in Canada and Caribbean (The Bell System’s Canadian operations included the Bell Canada and Northern Electric) which leads to spin-off Bell Canada from Northern Electric in 1956. but Bell existence has ended in 1974 and now Bell word mark and logo are hold concurrently by AT&T, Verizon, Qwest, and Cincinnati Bell in US and Bell IP Holdings outside US (Bell IP Holding represents AT&T, Verizon, Century Link and Cincinnati Bell).

Later on, the Telephone business in US has been sold to Lucent Technologies which then decided to spins off the Telephone business in 2000, and for the first time Avaya Name was formed.

in Canada Nortel Networks Corporation Known as Northern Telecoms Limited or Simply Nortel was the mechanical department which was created within Bell Telephone Company of Canada to manufacture telephones and telephone equipment for Canada in 1882, with the development made by mechanical department; Bell Telephone Company of Canada Spins off Northern Elecrtic from other business. Northern Electric developed to be Northern Telecom in 1970 and later developed to be Nortel in 1990.

Avaya Logo

Image Source: Avaya.com

Recent Days

Nortel with its headquarter in Canada started to expand their business to the world with lot of development made to their products into different market segments as Below:

1- Small to Medium Business: started with Norstar that developed later to support IP with BCM50/200/400 then later the product has developed more to become BCM50/450.

2- Enterprise Business: started with Meridian option 11C/61C/81C which later developed to be Communication Server 1000 E/M then later the product developed to be CS1000E.

3- Contact Center business: started with Symposium that developed later to be Contact center and later developed to be Next Generation Contact Center.

4- Hug Data portfolio: include most advanced data products that covered every aspect in Data communication Technology such as 2500, 4500,5000,8000 series of data switches, secure routers and wireless controllers.

Other Products that included Carrier equipment, Transmission equipment, VoIP provider equipment etc…

At the same time Avaya with its headquarter in US started to expand their business to the world with lot of development made to their products into different market segments as Below:

1- SMB: Avaya did not focus on SMB till 2004 when they acquired Tenovis for their IP Office which targeted SMB customer.

2- Enterprise: Avaya started with their Definity which developed later to become Communication Manager or Simply CM. the same CM supported call center functionality.

At 2007 Avaya has been acquired by two private equity firms TPG Capital and Silver lake partners

The acquisition

On Sep 14, 2009, Avaya was announced as the winner for the Nortel Enterprise Division sale, On Dec 21, 2009, Avaya and Nortel officially closed the sale.

Why the acquisition happened?

1- The original Plan for AT&T an Bell Systems is to operate in different regions of the world but due to some government regulations; same companies were not allowed to operate in US and Canada at the same time therefore American Bell developed o be Avaya in US and Bell Canada developed to be Nortel in Canada, and Now its time for those two companies to be back under the same umbrella which is Avaya for now.

2- Both companies almost shares the same strategies, visions, innovation and almost same products functionality (except Avaya didn’t have any Data Products).

3- Avaya Weakens in not having Data products affected the competition in the market as Avaya never been able to provide full end to end solutions and here where Nortel Acquisition mostly helped.

The Power of We

Image Source: Avaya.com

The New Avaya

After Nortel Acquisition Avaya had to review their products and decide on the roadmap for each single products. Avaya Product portfolio includes now:

1- SMB: IP Office

2- Unified Communication: Communication Manager, Communication Server, other unified application like Avaya Aura Messaging, Avaya Aura Conferencing, Avaya Aura Session Manger, etc..

3- Contact Center: Avaya Aura Contact Center which developed from Nortel Next Generation Contact Center.

4- Data Portfolio: includes Ethernet Switching, Unified Branch (Secure and VPN routers), Wireless Networking, Access Control, Unified Management, Avaya Virtual Enterprise Network.

Moreover, Avaya Recently introduced the Avaya Flare Experience which means no matter where you are, what device you use you still communicate and collaborate with your contacts the same way.


Image Source: Flickr.com

Back to the Competition
I know this was long hub, but this should give you a better understanding into why Avaya is going to beat their competitors and that is because Avaya is a company of History, Innovation and great products unlike their competitors; they just jumped into the Telephone Market.

About Qasim

Qasim Alhammad has written 48 post in this blog.

IP Telephony Engineer and blogger. Interested in IP Telephony, SEO, Social Media, Web traffic, Blogging tips, internet marketing and making money online. Founder and owner of MsocialH online Forum, blogging for ICCIEV IP Telephony blog and AliensMoney blogs.

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