I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about Avaya’s Multimedia Messaging (AMM) server. It’s quickly becoming a required component of the new generation of UC clients from Avaya. So, I thought it might be a good topic to cover today.
There are a couple of very interesting characteristics about this somewhat new addition to the Aura platform. First, it is Avaya’s going forward platform for handling Instant Messaging. In the past, we used the Avaya Presence Server (APS) to handle both Presence AND Instant Messaging. Avaya’s Presence server still exists and is not going away, but it will now focus on presence, and not Instant Messaging. Again, while these two concepts often are thought of together, they are wildly different in function and protocol.
The other interesting thing about AMM is that Avaya views this server more along the lines of a “voicemail” platform. It’s considered to be peers of the Avaya Aura Messaging server. Admittedly, calling AMM a voicemail platform needs some definite explaining.
What makes AMM so powerful is that it can be thought of as a “coverage” point for Instant Messaging. Just like in the voice world, everyone on the planet expects a phone to not ring forever. If you call someone and it rings more than 10 times, you will ALWAYS hang up and try it again because you assume you misdialed or something is broken. So, when your intended caller doesn’t answer, you expect it to “cover” to voicemail. That has definitely not been perceived to be the case with Instant messaging. If you IM someone, and they don’t respond, you generally assume that the person won’t ever see it. Or with most IM platforms, if you IM someone who isn’t logged in, you’ll usually get some error that the system couldn’t deliver it to the user. This is mainly because IM is somewhat of a peer to peer, or client to client, concept. Sure, there’s almost always a server in the middle handling the client registration and the IM routing, but those systems tend to be very transactional. It routed the IM to the client to intended it to go to and its job is done.
This is why a lot of worker types prefer SMS texting over IM, because even though we may think of SMS as real-time, like voicemail or email, I don’t have to respond to it in real time. It is sitting there waiting for me to respond. The biggest flaw of SMS texting though is the lack of offline receipt, meaning that if my phone isn’t connected to the SMS network, I’ll miss any attempted texting to me. Anyone with an iPhone knows that Apple fixed this problem by replacing SMS texting with iMessage. Any device with iMessage is connected to their system and bypasses all the flaws of SMS. I get multimedia. I get persistent sessions across all of my devices. I even get my missed sessions if I wasn’t logged into any device. So, that’s great if have 100% Apple products. But that represents a VERY small portion of the user base. Yes, there’s a TON of us with some Apple products, but very few with only Apple products. That is what makes iMessage pretty much a consumer solution. What about the rest? What about the enterprise?
You should think of Avaya Multimedia Messaging as the iMessage of the Avaya world. It is supported on all of Avaya’s UC softclients and devices. It supports text, audio, video, pictures, files, between individuals or groups. It has persistent conversations across clients. So, start a session on one device, continue it on another, regardless of whether the device was “turned on” when you started it somewhere else. Setting up staged “hang outs” and always-on chat rooms becomes a very powerful use case of this. Again, very common in the consumer world, not so common in the Enterprise world. All of a sudden, you’re really talking about “Voicemail” on steroids. The next step would be to give AMM the ability to be a telephony coverage point, answering the phone for you, when you don’t answer the phone. Old school voicemail officially dies. While that’s the vision, that’s still down the road a bit.
Hopefully, this helps explain what AMM is all about. It offers a mix of capabilities that very few of the other enterprise IM platforms have. The cool part is that the basic capabilities of Avaya Multimedia Messaging are an included “entitlement” with the entry-level “Core” suite licenses with Avaya Aura. As you can imagine, the you get the “enhanced” AMM features as an included entitlement with the “Power” suite licenses.
If you're serious about mobility, you should consider the scenario of how to receive full multimedia messaging regardless of whether you have a connected client or not. Avaya Multimedia Messaging could be the solution you're looking for.