Avaya Updates IP Office Communication Appliance

Version 6.1 makes it easy for an SMB to manage employee phone calls, videoconferences, instant messages, and text messages.

Daniel Dern

November 15, 2010

4 Min Read
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Fuze Takes Meetings To iPad

Fuze Takes Meetings To iPad

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Slideshow: Fuze Takes Meetings To iPad

Avaya on Monday introduced the new release of its Avaya IP Office communications appliance, which handles voice, instant message, and text message communications.

Avaya IP Office is intended for small to midsize businesses (SMBs), typically with up to 250 seats. A single device can support up to 384 users, and systems can be networked to support a larger overall number, according to Anthony Bartolo, general manager of the Avaya small and medium enterprise communications group.

Avaya IP Office can be used for private branch exchange (PBX), unified communications, and call center applications.

According to Bartolo, Avaya IP Office is a digital/analog hybrid PBX, supporting digital (VoIP) and analog ("POTS," or plain old telephone service) telephones, session initiation protocol (SIP) based terminal devices, and other devices.

"The new release has a lot of interesting multi-site and mobility features -- important as small and midsize businesses begin to go multi-site, and new ones go distributed," commented Alan Weckel, director, Dell'Oro Group. "And for companies who already have Avaya or Nortel voice systems, this gives a clear migration path. They can leverage existing systems or phones, and move to a new version."

New features and other improvements in Version 6.1 include easier installation, consolidated multi-site management, improved videoconferencing, and a redesigned web portal

According to Bartolo, "We've simplified installation to a single DVD, and reduced the install time by 75%. We can get a customer up and running in about 30 minutes." Bartolo claims this is the best install time in the industry. The installation DVD includes a version of Linux, plus key applications. Previously, according to the company, the operating system and the IP Office applications had to be installed from multiple DVDs from several sources.

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Cisco Umi

Slideshow: Cisco Umi Takes Telepresence To The Home (click image for larger view and for slideshow)

IP Office 6.1 supports Nortel phones, reflecting Avaya's recent acquisition of Nortel. "A Nortel customer migrating to IP Office can plug their Nortel phones directly into the system, preserving their investment in this gear," said Bartolo.

IP Office 6.1 now also has improved multi-site management capability. An IT administrator can manage multiple office sites -- parameters such as user rights and hunt groups -- all in one graphical view, rather than needing a separate window for each site. Also, IP Office 6.1 can now be put into a mixed environment with other Avaya communications systems like the Business Communications Manager IP/TDM PBX.

Avaya has redesigned the user interface for its one-X Portal for IP Office web-based call/message management interface for mobile, home-based, and office workers. The new UI includes drag and drop application gadgets, like Directory and Call Log, that users can place wherever they want on their screen. Also, one-X Portal now supports skins that let the company brand the display. "Users can now customize their view -- where the gadgets appear on the screen, and change the layout and sizes of the display portions," said Bartolo.

Improved videoconferencing options in IP Office 6.1 include supporting multi-point high-definition videoconferencing with up to four parties, and video integration with selected third-party SIP phones, according to the company.

Competition in this space, according to Bartolo, includes Cisco, Mitel, Panasonic, and Shoretel. However, claimed Bartolo, "We're the only provider supporting the entire SMB segment -- from five users and one site, to 1,000 users and 32 sites -- with one single product, platform, and model, versus having five to 25 products to span it."

Version 6.1 of Avaya IP Office is scheduled to be available by the end of November. Pricing is unchanged from that of the previous version, and depends on the features and number of users; for example, a 10-user system, including typical applications and phone hardware, has an MSRP of around $4,000. For existing IP Office customers, version 6.1 is available as an upgrade, via software download, MSRP $199 ($99 for companies with fewer than 32 users).

About the Author(s)

Daniel Dern

Daniel P. Dern is an independent technology and business writer. He can be reached via email at [email protected]; his website, www.dern.com; or his technology blog, TryingTechnology.com

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