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Avaya unifies comms with cloud

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Avaya Holdings has announced the addition of cloud-based team collaboration to the Avaya Equinox Experience, the company’s signature unified communications and collaboration user interface and cloud service.

It says the Avaya Equinox Experience delivers a deep level of integration between unified communications and the tools needed for seamless, simple, highly productive team collaboration.

Avaya provided the following information:

The Avaya Equinox Experience is a sleek, personal user interface for one-stop access to voice, video, chat communications channels, calendar, and meetings. Its “mobile-first” Top of Mind screen provides at-a-glance visibility to everything that a user needs in real time: schedule, contacts, messages, voice and video.

The new capabilities of Avaya Equinox Experience address the growing demand for easy-to-use, integrated, unified communication and team collaboration. According to Gartner, by year-end 2022, 70% of teams will rely on workstream collaboration as the primary means of communicating, coordinating and sharing information between team members, displacing email.

With the addition of team collaboration, Avaya Equinox users can create and enter team rooms organized by a variety of categories with members both inside and outside of the organization, essentially breaking down the boundaries of a company’s communications infrastructure. The enhanced Avaya Equinox Experience will provide and support persistent messaging, ad hoc and scheduled meetings, with audio and video conferencing, screen and file sharing and task assignment.

As an example, a sales team creating a proposal could use Avaya Equinox team collaboration and create rooms for customer presentation and demonstration planning, configuration and bill of materials, project pricing and discounts, contracts, installation planning and services. The sales team could invite both internal and external team members for an easy, persistent and trackable means of communicating, individual or group meetings, sharing presentations, spreadsheets, installation diagrams, and speeding decision-making.

An enterprise-grade solution, Avaya Equinox provides a higher level of security over consumer-grade messaging and applications. The cloud-based, team collaboration capabilities are available standalone and also easily integrate with on-premises deployments of Avaya Equinox supported by both Avaya Aura and Avaya IP Office, Avaya’s industry-leading communications platforms.

“The market is rife with applications claiming to enable employee productivity, but few deliver the level of integration that crosses communication channels and modes, context and contacts, workflow activities and infrastructure boundaries, says Laurent Philonenko, SVP and GM, Solutions and Technologies, Avaya. “That’s where the Avaya Equinox Experience stands out – and is why companies are coming back to Avaya for the communication and collaboration tools that get work done. Welcome to the Avaya Connected World – open, agile and secure.”

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ConceptD: Creatives get a tech brand of their own

The unveiling of a new brand by Acer recognises the massive computing power needed in creative professions, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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It’s a crisp Spring morning in Brooklyn. The regular water taxi from Manhattan pulls up at Duggal Greenhouse on the edge of the East River. It’s a building that symbolises the rejuvenation of Brooklyn as a hub of artistic and creative expression.

Inside the vast structure, global computer brand Acer is about to unveil its own tribute to creativity. Company CEO Jason Chen takes to the stage in faded blue jeans and brown t-shirt, underlining the connection of the event to the informality of the area.

“Brooklyn is become more and more diverse,” he tells a gathering of press from around the world, attending the Next@Acer media event. “It’s an area that is up and coming. It represents new lifestyles. And our theme today is turning a new chapter for creativity.”

Every year, Next@Acer is a parade of the cutting edge in gaming and educational laptops and computers. New devices from sub-brands like Predator, Helios and Nitro have gamers salivating. This year is no different, but there is a surprise in store, hinted in Chen’s introduction.

As a grand finale, he calls on stage Angelica Davila, whose day job is senior marketing manager for Acer Latin America. But she also happens to have a Masters degree in computer and electric engineering. A stint at Intel, where she joined a sales and marketing programme for engineers, set her on a new path.

Angelica Davila, marketing manager for Acer Latin America

For the last few months, she has been helping write Acer’s next chapter. She has shepherded into being nothing less than a new brand: ConceptD.

Click here to read more about ConceptD.

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Which voice assistant wins battle of translators?

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Take the most famous phrase from the Godfather – “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse” – or “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” from the inaugural address of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and see just how the virtual assistants do in translating them using their newly introduced Neural Machine Translation (NMT) capabilities. One Hour Translation (OHT), the world’s largest online translation service, conducted a study to find out just how accurate these new services are.

OHT used 60 sentences from movies and famous people ranging from the Godfather and Wizard of Oz to Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon, US presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John Fitzgerald Kennedy and historical figures like Leonardo da Vinci and Aesop. The sentences were translated by Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri from English to French, Spanish, Chinese and German and then given to five professional translators for their assessment on a scale of 1-6. 

Google Assistant scored highest in three of the four languages surveyed – English to French, English to German and English to Spanish and second in English to Chinese.  Amazon’s Alexa, whose translation engine is powered by Microsoft Translator, was tops in the English to Chinese category. Apple’s Siri was second place in English to French and English to Spanish and third place in English to German and English to Chinese.  (See chart). All three virtual assistants are compatible with mobile phones.

“The automated assistants’ translation quality was relatively high, which means that assistants are useful for handling simple translations automatically,” says Yaron Kaufman, chief marketing officer and co-founder of OHT. He predicts that “there is no doubt that the use of assistants is growing rapidly, is becoming a part of our lives and will make a huge contribution to the business world.” 

A lot will depend on further improvements in NMT technology, which has revolutionized the field of translation over the past two years.  All the companies active in the field are investing large sums as part of this effort. “OHT is working with several of the leading NMT providers to improve their engines through the use of its hybrid online translation service that combines NMT and human post-editing,” notes Kaufman. He adds that this will no doubt have a huge impact on the use of assistants for translation purposes.

OHT has made a name for itself in assessing the level of translations by NMT engines.  Its ONEs Evaluation Score is a unique human-based assessment of the leading NMT engines conducted on a quarterly basis and used as an industry standard. 

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