Unicode Support in Avaya Communication Manager
Charles Wrobel - Avaya

Intended Audience: Software Engineers, Managers, Marketers

Session Level: Beginner, Intermediate

The purpose of this presentation is to explain how Avaya accomplished Unicode support in its flag ship product, Avaya Communication Manager.

Avaya Communication Manager was first introduced in 1982 as System 85. Over the years the name has changed to System 84, Definity, MultiVantage and finally Avaya Communication Manager. As with the name changes, the functionality and features has exceeded that of a typical PBX and the system has evolved in to a call processing and applications engine that delivers traditional telephony and converged voice solutions to enterprise customers.

From 1985 to 1996 this product only supported ASCII. In 1996 a proprietary encoding was developed to support European, Cyrillic and Katakana characters. This language capability allowed Avaya to take the lead among it competitors in offering some level of localization. But, the downside is that Avaya now has hundreds of thousands of phones in the market place that support this proprietary encoding. The challenges and benefits of moving to Unicode will be elaborated along with details on how we accomplished adding Unicode support to 20+ year old software.

The conclusion will highlight how our internationalization design has made localization extremely easy. This is confirmed by the number and type of translations provided. For example, we'll soon have an Icelandic translation of the Avaya Communication Manager phone messages to go along with many other translations.

System Engineers, Product and Program managers will truly benefit from this presentation as it shows how a large company can not just internationalize very large and complex software but how a localization system can be setup allowing any customer, partner or distributor to translate and then start to use the translation without any interaction with Avaya.

Avaya has seen some very large sales come in recently as a direct result of our Unicode support. The ability to offer a product in native language especially to countries not using the Latin script is critical to a products success and some of our key wins will be mentioned.

This paper is aimed at a beginning to intermediate audience.