Jody Gonzales of Viper Communications had a chance to visit Avaya and get a update on the new Avaya IP Office Partner Edition. Here is what he had to say:
"Hello again. So I wanted to follow up on my previous email regarding the Partner Version of the Avaya IP Office that is soon to be released. I previously mentioned it was going to be released on February 26th, but they have since moved that date to March 10th (and I honestly wouldn't be surprised if it's pushed back again). I've had the opportunity to spend more time with this product and was able to ask Avaya some questions. There are a few things I would like to point out now that I'm more familiar with the product.
Most notably, although this is called the Avaya IP Office Partner Version, it DOES NOT support IP Telephones. I did not previously mention this, as I assumed that it would. Also, after further inquiry, they say they have no plans of adding this "feature". Avaya claims that, after interviewing their dealers, this was not important to dealers. (To me, this begs the question:
Why have them switch from an ACS system at all? But I digress.) Avaya claims that this system will be SIP Trunk capable in the near future (because there is a SIP Standard I don't know about?) and therefore an "IP" system.
The embedded voicemail (although basically free as a 2 port) has some limitations. There are only 15 hours of total storage and a 3 minute time limit per message. Due to the limitation on storage, there is no record a call feature either. The voicemail is expandable up to 6 ports but it does not increase in storage time. You cannot have multiple Auto Attendants, but you can have day/night and special greetings assigned. I inquired about using a 3rd party voicemail and was told that there are certain manufacturer's that claim they will integrate. However, since the product isn't on the market yet, they are not recommending it. They said to go through your Dev-connect dealer when an opportunity arises.
You can only support (4) 34D telephones on this system and 18 Partner
phones in total. After inquiring as to the limitation, I was told that it's actually a power issue and it's not something they are looking into increasing in the next release. I questioned whether this was a true migration path, since only reusing (18) telephones doesn't offer a solution for customers who are outgrowing their current Partner system. Avaya claims that since they had such poor retention in getting customers to re-use their Partner phones on Magix systems, they didn't feel this was important. I don't feel like comparing the migration from Magix to IP Office is apples to apples, but again, I digress...
On the brighter side, this system does offer Mobile Twinning, which allows your cell phone to mirror your desk phone and is actually a feature people are asking about.
The Avaya "Simplified Manager" (at least that's what they were referring to it as) is a free software download that is available to the public on the Avaya website (at some point, haven't seen it there yet) that gives you the GUI Interface for programming this system. This is kind of an introductory version of the Avaya Manager, but this version simply has 9 hyperlinks to program the system. The system is functional out of the box, pre-programmed for POTS lines
and Voicemail box Assignment. Marketing claims that the system is completely programmable in under 30 minutes.
The most beneficial feature of the Partner Version IP Office is the ability to have PRI/T-1. You can have partial or full, and you can have DID's, but you cannot change the system extension numbers to match.
Although the chassis looks the same for the regular IP Office and the Partner version, they are not. You can use some of the same cards in both systems (Trunk cards and Analog Phone cards), so I guess you could say there is a migration path from this system to a regular IP Office. But to be clear, you cannot use Partner telephones or the new version of Digital (1400 series) on a regular IP Office, although they say in the future they will integrate the 1400 series telephones to work on the regular IP System.
Avaya is marketing this system as a similar "user experience" to the Partner system and that the user will be comfortable with the change to the Partner version as their desktop stays the same. My question is: Why would the user upgrade their system to have the same "experience" with their phone? Again, this is just my opinion, but it seems to me this marketing is more geared towards the dealers. Let's be honest, the majority of the interconnects installing Partner systems are not really interested in learning the new IP Systems. And their customers don't use the technology, so why should they?
Because Avaya has spent all of this money in research and development, that's why. So Avaya is baby-stepping the process, making the transition as easy as possible. This new Partner Version has a simplified GUI Interface, which you don't HAVE to use to program the system. You can still program with an 18D, but now MAYBE some of the interconnects will start using the GUI Interface. Honestly, the GUI interface is easier to use than Feature 00ing through, but you have to have your laptop on every install and be comfortable programming that way. People are just resistant to change, I know I am.
So there's my analysis, no sugarcoating. And again, the marketing views are my opinion, and at the end of the conference call, Avaya didn't offer me a job, so maybe I'm off-base. I'm always interested in any feedback, so please feel free to let me know your opinions on the topic as well. "