IP Phone Innovations from Avaya

The PBX giant announced a bevy of nifty new business "endpoints" that push the envelope in various directions.

By Ted Stevenson | Posted Mar 6, 2009
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The star turn of Avaya's press briefing this week was its partnership with DiVitas Networks around dual-mode mobile telephony, but the company also made some intriguing announcements about its one-X business telephone product line.

Senior manager of unified communications product marketing, Allan Mendelsohn, brought Enterprise VoIPplanet up to date on three developments, each of which to some degree redefines the notion of what a business phone should be.

The first of these takes a concept that originated in the consumer phone market and reinvents it for the enterprise. The new Avaya 9670G desk phone (see photo, below) is, Mendelsohn says, the first "media phone" designed for business users.

"The key is the large, 6.4-inch VGA screen that's on the device," he explained. "It's touch enabled. The unit is designed as a touch phone from the ground up. We eliminated all of the unnecessary buttons and redesigned the interface so that it provides a touch-based experience."

If the look reminds you of a phone you've seen and heard a lot about of late, the functionality will as well. "The key from an end-user perspective is the idea of a home screen which provides users with one-touch access to people, information, and tools," he said.

The 9670G comes with a suite of embedded applications, such as mapping, a calculator, local weather, world time, and the like, that do not require a server to run, according to Mendelsohn.


Avaya 9670G media phone
Avaya's new 9670G touch-screen "media phone"

But more intriguing is the plan to make available downloadable third party applications—written by Avaya's partner-developers. We pressed Mendelsohn for details. "One example that one of our DevConnect partners has created," he responded, "is a billing interface application. As you know, it's important for the legal and other professional industries that you keep track of all of your hours and you bill for every minute of your time." This app takes care of all that.

While it's early days yet for the 9670G, it's clear the sky's pretty much the limit.

The 9620L is designed to fill a totally different kind of need: energy efficiency and low operating cost. This business desk phone is a power-over-Ethernet (PoE) Class 1 device, that uses less than one half electricity of existing high efficiency (Class 2) phones and a third or less of a standard (Class 3) PoE phone. That is, 2.2 watts for Class 1 compared to 6.3 to 12 watts for Class 3.

"We've estimated that if you took a 1,000 person organization with a reasonable mix of phones, just on energy consumption alone—relative to competing telephony systems on the market today—you'd probably save in the neighborhood of $16,000 a year purely on power consumption," Mendelsohn told VoIPplanet.com.

While this may not be nearly as alluring as a pretty touch-screen phone with embedded software, it could certainly catch the attention of the CFO in these straitened economic times.

Finally, there's MyPhone, which isn't really a phone at all, but a phone accessory. MyPhone is a USB flash drive that lets you move your telephone identity around with you as you move around.

In addition to bringing a user's identity, preferences, and settings to any other "compatible phone" on the same network as the phone on his or her real desk, MyPhone also directs calls to that user's extension to the phone that the USB stick is currently plugged into.

A nice touch is the ability to store images on MyPhone, which can then display on the the screen of the phone currently in use.

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