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How Avaya is bringing contact-center functionality to the metaverse

At the GITEX conference in Dubai, the metaverse was alive and being demoed daily for different use cases.
Written by Zeus Kerravala, Contributor
Image: XH4D/Getty Images

At the GITEX Global conference last week in Dubai, communications hardware and software provider Avaya showcased how its technology can be integrated into a metaverse experience. GITEX has become a premier technology conference across the globe and rivals CES for attendance. 

Avaya has been a mainstay at the event for years and historically has been effective in highlighting its technology and innovation through customer use cases. 

We are still in the early stages of the metaverse, so there aren't many real-life examples. In fact, most IT leaders I talk to are interested in futuristic technology but are not sure of how to use it or what some practical business use cases are. 

Here, the Avaya Dubai team collaborated with its partner, Avanza Solutions, and showcased the result at the Avaya stand at GITEX. Avanza is one of the premier digital transformation solution providers in the Gulf region.

Avaya, Avanza partner to bring metaverse to life 

The joint solution supports Dubai's vision of being one of the top metaverse cities and is set to create tens of thousands of metaverse-related jobs in the next decade as the city looks to draw on the virtual environment to add to the already strong economy of the UAE. 

Also: Here's how the metaverse could transform your future job

Currently, if a company wants to come and do business in Dubai, there are several tasks that need to be completed, including getting permits and applying for work visas. Instead of having to complete these tasks by driving to the government agencies and office buildings, which could take hours based on the traffic I experienced in Dubai, all the tasks can be completed in the metaverse. Some services can be done via the web, but even this can be challenging because each agency has its own website. 

The interface even allows the selection of real estate, where users can go into virtual versions of buildings, design an office, and experience the many views Dubai offers.  The Dubai metaverse brings together everything required to start a business in one place: physical and virtual. 

Avaya brings contact center to the metaverse 

If a customer runs into problems, the user can connect with a contact center agent via the metaverse interface in conjunction with Avaya OneCloud CCaaS (contact center as a service). Customers can interact with virtual agents within the metaverse, speak to a live agent via phone call, or even use social media apps, such as Meta's WhatsApp. 

For Avaya, bringing the metaverse into its contact center wasn't a complicated process. At GITEX, I talked to Avaya International President Nidal Abou-Ltaif about this, and he told me, "We just look at it as another channel. Avaya OneCloud CCaaS is fully cloud-native and designed to be open, so adding another channel for customer interactions can be done quickly and without any disruption." 

While Avaya's mission during the past few years has been to create "Experiences That Matter," the theme of its GITEX booth was "Innovation Without Disruption." The way Avaya integrated metaverse into OneCloud CCaaS underscores that. Avaya customers can experiment with the metaverse and add contact center capabilities without having to bring in a new platform or go through a major upgrade. 

Also: The metaverse is coming, and the security threats have already arrived

If there is one key takeaway for business leaders from the pandemic it's that no one knows what the future holds, which underscores the importance of business agility. An open platform like OneCloud CCaaS enables businesses to quickly adapt their customer service strategy to meet current demands without having to go through a massive upgrade. 

Dubai metaverse creates a digital twin of business processes 

The Dubai metaverse can be thought of as a digital twin of all government processes required to establish a business in the city. 

In theory, once this is up and running, organizations could use the metaverse version of the government services to augment or even replace the physical ones. 

Ideally, citizens and businesses would have access to all services in a hybrid mode where the web, metaverse, or physical services would all give an identical experience. 

One of the unique aspects of the Gulf region is that the public sector drives innovation and sets the standard for private companies. In the US or western Europe, we often see government agencies lag in technology, sometimes by as much as a decade. I have been to Dubai several times and have been impressed with the level of technology adoption across the city. Drones, robots, video cameras, and IoT are commonly used to improve people's lives, and now the metaverse is coming. 

It's interesting to think about where else Avaya could take this technology. At last year's GITEX, Avaya demonstrated a real estate application built with Dubai-based real estate company EMAAR Properties, which had built an application prospective buyers could use to tour buildings and talk to agents virtually. This was designed for the pandemic, but like everything else in the world, once a process goes digital, it's hard to go back. It would make sense to bring something like the EMAAR-based application together with the metaverse and allow buyers to talk to agents, bankers, property managers, or other people in the metaverse. 

This example of a digital twin is also used to deliver city services that could be replicated in other industries, such as retail, higher education, real estate, and gaming. 

The metaverse is coming, and it was good to see a practical example at the Avaya stand at GITEX. The "innovation without disruption" theme Avaya used at the show is important because new technology often has lengthy adoption cycles; any kind of disruption to the business has customer service, revenue, or other implications.

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