Avaya Tech Masters uncovers IP Office Release 5 Deep Dive

by Jeff Wiener on August 6, 2009

Avaya-LogoGuest Post:

I am currently at Miami International Airport awaiting my flight back to Toronto after attending the Avaya Tech Masters Conference. The invitation only, two day annual event, brings together the top Avaya IP Office techs in North America to discuss and demonstrate what is new and exciting in the world of Avaya IP Office. Over the past two days we have had the chance to see what Avaya has done with the new 5.0 software release and what we can expect in the future. Without going into too much detail about all the new features, (many have been documented in past blogs by Jeff Wiener), let me just say the future looks very promising for Avaya and the IP Office. Avaya has shown that they are committed to providing the best user experience possible, while ensuring ease of installation and minimizing maintenance. One of the best things they have done to improve the user experience is move to browser based applications for the IP Office. The new Call Centre Reporter and One-X Portal are two examples of applications that require no client software to be installed. Both applications run in a browser which connects to a central server. Extensive testing has been done on these products, on all major browsers, including Internet Explorer 7, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and even Safari. Avaya has definitely done their homework on this new software release, far exceeding their goals for beta testing to ensure the product is ready for release (unlike some other previous versions). Over 4000 automated tests were performed on release 5.0, emulating all sorts of typical and atypical customer situations to ensure that the product is stable and reliable. Customers found defects are now at a 4 year low and continue to improve with 60% fewer system bugs than just a year ago.

One thing that I found very encouraging is that the applications are built on a solid base that works as advertised but the potential for growth and enhancements to the products is there as well. As a technician that installs and services the IP Office, improvements to the system management apps, IP Office Manager, System Status Application, System Monitor and Voicemail Pro Client will make administering and troubleshooting the system easier. For example, in the System Status Application there is a new feature for monitoring QoS issues with IP phones and trunks. This will allow us to monitor issues with QoS without using 3rd party apps to determine where the problem is.
Voicemail Pro Client now allows the administrator to clear a mailbox of all messages and stop new messages from being left in the mailbox. Alarms can also be set to ring a particular phone, at a preset time. This can be used in a hospitality environment for things like “wake up calls”.

IP Office Manager now has a few new features to make programming a new system easier as well. One of these features is that a system wide Operator can be set, eliminating the need to set this for every single user.
In the System Monitor application you can now open up a network view, which will show a graphic image of all the systems connected in a Small Community Network, showing all relevant network information about the systems.
There have also been many changes to the licensing on the IP Office. Terms that are more “user friendly” have been used to alleviate some of the obscurely worded licenses from the past. Also a lot of the more commonly used licenses have been bundled together and given plain term names that make sense to everybody, like the “Mobile Worker” and “Power User” bundles.

These are just a few examples of the many improvements that have been made to the IP Office. One of the most encouraging things I picked up from the two day conference is that Avaya has a lot of passionate people working on this product. They really want our input and rely on it to improve their product. The technicians I have met over the past two days are some of the most knowledgeable and committed people I have come across in my over twenty years in the industry. Avaya’s management team was great at listening to our concerns and seemed genuinely interested in the ways they could improve their product. The engineers at the conference were amazing and able to answer any question or concern we threw at them with conviction, these guys really know the product! It was nice to put a face to some of the people I had only talked to on the phone for support before.

A new system for keeping Tech Masters in touch with each other to exchange information and access documents will be in place within a few weeks, this will make sure that everyone is always on the same page, up to date and informed. These past few days have been a great experience and reinforce my opinion that the IP Office is one of the best options on the market for a communications system that gives businesses just about everything they would need or want in a reliable, intuitive and user friendly system. The people at Avaya really put on a great event, one that was very informative and also fun. We all got the chance to partake in some friendly competition as they took us to a local mini Gran Prix event in which teams competed against each other in a spirited race. Everyone had a great time and it gave us a chance to unwind and have some fun with each other. All in all, Avaya put on a great event which I look forward to returning to in the years to come.

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