Avaya IP Office Release 9 – Finally, IP Office has Park and Page!

by Jeff Wiener on October 1, 2013

Of all the cutting edge features available in the next release of Avaya’s IP Office the one that has me most excited, oddly enough, is probably the simplest: the park and page feature. Its often strange what features you really miss until they’re gone, as from 1991 to 2005 Digitcom sold legacy Nortel Norstar and BCM phone systems, both of which had the park and page feature standard. It was so common, in fact, that I assumed that all phone systems had the ability to park and page, but obviously not.

And now, after eight years of missing this useful feature and after selling Avaya’s IP Office since release 3, the product will finally have the ability to park and page.

Park and Page will be available in three formats:

1. Initiated manually, The feature enables a call to be answered by reception, parked, page sent, far end dials 101 … to UnPark and answer call.

2. Off the automated attendant, and will be entirely automated. Calls are answered by AA with prompt and notice given to the customer. Calls are automatically parked and a page issued to notify the need to pick up the call

3. Across the small community network, i.e., to park and page across multiple sites

Avaya is introducing a new DS16B and DS30B module which will support IP Office phones or heritage Nortel phones, both on one module. Unfortunately the phones can’t be mixed on the same module, but, with the use of the DS16B and DS30B customers will be able use their existing BCM and Norstar phones, and migrate to IP Office Avaya digital telephones at a future time using the same module by selecting the appropriate operating mode in IP Office Manager.

Regarding Avaya video and Radvision, Avaya now supports Flare as a client to work as a participant in a multi-party videoconference via Radvision.

There are some significant improvements to the 9608, 9611, 9621, and 9641, otherwise known as the 96X1 phones. I’m happy to say that finally these phones support VPN capability. This was a feature available with IP Office release 5 or 6, and worked well with the 5610 IP phones, and for whatever reason stopped working with the introduction of the IP Office R8. It’s possible to load the VPN client directly onto the 96X1 phones, have the phone tunnel direct to the firewall, and create a secure IPSec tunnel direct from the phone to the firewall. No intermediary VPN device is required at the remote end, and no need to open ports and direct the phone through the open ports to the IP Office. This method has proven inconsistent and unreliable.

IP Office Web Manager is now available for all versions of IP Office. Current and previous releases of IP Office need a Manager thick client for management, support for the browser allows for IP Office to be managed from a browser rather than a thick client.

One-X Mobile now has a voice! I have frequently showed customers the Avaya One-X Mobile application on my iPhone (works on Android as well), but one of the frequently asked questions was whether One-X Mobile could operate as a stand alone VoIP client, and the answer until now has been ‘no’. Well, that’s about to change. With R9 the mobile client can now work in VoIP mode, meaning the client can make and receive calls over WiFi / 3G / 4G networks. The One-X mobile client will now function as your office extension. The VoIP mode is available using the Power User license only, not the Mobile Worker license. Truly a great feature!

The Avaya Flare Experience now delivers some cool enhancements, especially as it relates to the IP Office conference bridge feature. With R9 you can now control multi-party conference bridges and Flare adds moderator controls allowing the moderator to:

– Add participants using dial pad or drag & drop

– Mute or UnMute all or a subset of participants

– Lock or UnLock the conference

– Place the conference call in lecture mode

– End the conference call, and a list of additional functions related to managing the conference bridge.

IP Office Server Edition now support up to 2,000 users, and even better, it is now possible to run IP Office as a standalone server in a virtualized VMware or vSphere environment. If you are using SIP trunks and do not need analog stations, trunks, or TDM support, then you can run your entire phone system on a virtualized server.

With support for 2,000 phones and a host of new features, the IP Office is now an Enterprise product aimed at both the small and mid-range enterprise space. When we first got involved with Avaya I found their product portfolio disjointed … support for three completely different phone systems, Partner, IP Office, and Communications Manager, and with that, support for different phones, marketing, and R&D departments.

Over the years Avaya has consolidated some of this fragmentation by eliminating the Partner, introducing the same models of phones for all product lines, and with R9, further consolidating their product portfolio by better integrating IP Office with Aura, and increasing the capacity of IPO to 2,000 end points. Avaya still has two products that present confusion to the average customer, IP Office and Aura, and although I don’t think IPO R9 reduces this confusion, I do believe some of the changes set the stage for a more homogenous product line in the next couple of years. IPO R9 is definitely a step in that direction, hopefully more advancements are made in future releases. Avaya hasn’t really addressed how they will compete in the cloud / Hosted PBX space, a market Digitcom has been active in for the last year, with products that unfortunately do not include Avaya, but, Avaya has a talented roster of senior managers and thinkers that I am sure will figure out how to tackle that market in the very near future.

If you want more information on Avaya IP Office Release 9 please send an email to our sales team at: sales at digitcom dot ca. Alternatively, you can call our office at 866-667-8357. Keep in mind, R9 is just about to be released in the next week. We’re going to install R9 on our in house system, trial that for the next 6 weeks, and won’t be doing any client upgrades until at least mid to late November.

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