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Avaya Ready to Help Businesses and Organizations Experiencing Communications Disruption from Hurricane

08-26-2005

Avaya Inc. (NYSE:AV) a global leader in business communications applications, systems and services, today said the company is ready to support businesses whose communications are disrupted during the hurricane season. Avaya's customer-focused Emergency Response and Recovery Team, along with field sales and services have developed comprehensive emergency plans, and can coordinate delivery and implementation of repair materials, replacement equipment and emergency services personnel to help restore communications.

 

Avaya has acquired a notable track record of emergency support to government organizations and businesses during last year's highly active hurricane season. In Orange County, Fla., ground zero for three powerful hurricanes roared through the state in just five weeks during 2004, testing its systems and infrastructure as never before.

 

The county's 311 Government Service Center fielded 226,000 calls from local residents during the hurricanes as residents sought information that ranged from how to find sandbags and fresh water to how to handle storm debris. Call volume peaked at 42,000 in a single day - 70 times the normal daily average of 600.

 

"Our Service Center proved to be our lifeline," said Rafael Mena, Orange County chief information officer. "We had policy team meetings on the hour and were building call centers, adding capacity and routing calls in real time. With the flexibility of the Avaya tools and systems we use, there wasn't one thing I was asked to do that I had to say no to."

 

Avaya Interactive Response applications helped Mena's team quickly automate answers to many of the questions the Service Center received-including automated outbound messages to let 170,000 customers of a local water plant know that the facility was down. Avaya contact center management reports provided the statistics needed to make staffing decisions, keep elected officials informed about citizen concerns and improve the county's response capabilities from one storm to the next.

 

"We accomplished a lot of what we did with our Avaya automatic call distribution system," Mena said. "We established time of day routing, overflowed calls from one group of agents to the next and set up announcement boards - all of it on the fly."

 

In just hours the Orange County information systems team was able to establish an IP contact center to support FEMA's Volunteer Relief Center-the focal point for federal assistance delivered to Orange County residents impacted by the storms. To accomplish the same task using traditional telephony typically takes days.

 

Preparedness tips to minimize downtime, increase safety

Avaya also offers businesses the following tips to minimize disruption to critical communications:

  1. Save translations before the storm hits. This will ensure that recent changes are not lost and speed restoration in the advent of damage to your system.
  2. Secure back-up media so that translations won't be lost or damaged, thereby delaying restoration of service. Take a copy of back-ups and any other information off site.
  3. Print and store a current list configuration of your switches. If a new system is necessary, this simple precaution will save as much as four to eight hours of delay in the starting process. Product documentation, located on the www.avaya.com Web site, explains how to list configuration of Avaya systems.
  4. Consider powering down the system before the storm hits. Electrical power surges before and after the storm pose the greatest threat to your system. There is information on how to properly power down your Avaya system on the Avaya Support Web site at the following link: http://support.avaya.com/japple/css/japple?PAGE=OpenPage&temp.template.name=Hurricane
  5. Consider moving your switch if you are located in an area which is flood-prone or is subject to a storm surge. The smaller footprint of today's systems makes this a possible option for some customers.
  6. Review your safety procedures with all employees prior to the storm's impact and make certain there is an updated contact list to keep in touch. Hurricane damage always creates the possibility of electrical hazards. All electrically powered equipment can present a hazard until restoration efforts are completed.

 

Businesses and organizations that have migrated to Avaya IP Telephony solutions are already well-equipped for communications continuity, supported by backup processors and locally survivable gateways and the ability to quickly establish operations at alternate locations including employee homes and other office locations. The Avaya Mobile Communications Network provides the same high-tech communications capabilities used in sophisticated office settings - from Internet telephony to wireless networking - packaged in a rugged, portable case that can be set up in minutes. The network can help organizations recover from a disaster or establish a remote command post at the site of an emergency.

 

More about Avaya's solutions for Communications Continuity can be found at

http://www1.avaya.com/enterprise/solutions/success/continuity.html

 

About Avaya

Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than one million businesses worldwide, including over 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500 ®. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet Protocol telephony systems and communications software applications and services.

 

Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business applications - and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services - Avaya helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior business results. For more information visit the Avaya Web site: http://www.avaya.com

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