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Avaya will be rolling out new training and certifications for video and data solutions over the next two quarters. The new certifications are being designed to help partners the technical deployment and business benefits of the video and data technologies the communications vendor has been rolling out over the last nine months.

The courses and certifications were announced at the recent Avaya 2011 Americas Partner Conference, where company executives discussed areas of growth, which include both video and data solutions, said Carol Neslund, vice president of channels for North America at Avaya. She added that the new video solutions, including Avaya Flare Experience (a video communications tablet device announced in September), are getting a lot of attention from partners, who are eager to begin skilling up in the area and selling the forthcoming video products.

“In September, we announced a broad set of products all designed to focus on facilitating collaboration solutions for our customers, and it’s predominantly focused around the Flare Experience and this whole idea of being able to spontaneously collaborate with your peers within an organization on a video basis, not just on an IM or email basis,” Neslund said.

Avaya will be rolling out the training for two specializations in both video and data – Video/Data Authorizations and Video/Data Expert. The specializations will be available in the first quarter of the 2011 calendar year (Avaya’s fiscal second quarter).

“Obviously those are two key pieces of our portfolio that move us in a forward direction with regard to what’s critical in business enterprises today,” Neslund said.

Avaya also announced the Avaya Certified Solutions Architect (ACSA) certification, which will have a focus on unified communications and contact center solutions (IT pros choose one path or the other). According to Avaya, the ACSA certification will demonstrate that an individual who has completed the exams has achieved the highest level of training and competency in unified communications or contact center technologies.

Also new to the vendor’s certifications portfolio is the Avaya Connect Video Solutions certification, which is an optional certification that can be added onto unified communications credentials. The certification exam tests an individual’s knowledge in Avaya video solutions.

As business video technologies continue to evolve and become easier to use in the enterprise, there is a growing number of customers interested in getting the benefits of video in their own businesses.

According to Neslund, the opportunities for channel partners related to video will continue to expand. As the economy improves and the recession is left behind, enterprises are planning to adopt the latest video technologies.

“It’s a great opportunity for our partners and really allows them to take advantage of a hot application in the marketplace,” she said. Neslund added that Avaya’s video solutions can improve employee productivity while also decreasing costs for organizations.

Avaya partners that want to get into the business of selling Avaya’s video solutions need to be certified, and Neslund said that there was much interest among partners at last week’s conference. Many partners expressed an interest in taking the new courses immediately.

“The other key thing is this is a different conversation with the customer than the traditional conversation we might have had with customers in the past around voice,” Neslund said. Selling video requires technical expertise and a strong understanding of business needs so that partners can identify opportunities.

The new training options in both video and data solutions will have a controlled launch. The initial focus will be on partners who have strong backgrounds in Avaya Aura, which is the platform Avaya’s video solutions are built on. The availability of the courses will grow as there is more demand from the Avaya Connect partner community.

“The focus really is finding those partners that want to invest and move forward with us in this exciting new era because we feel we have the opportunity to be a real difference maker with the new solutions we’ve announced,” Neslund said.