Avaya continues to evolve its IP Office communications platform for small and mid-size organizations and enterprise branch offices. With the latest Release 10, the emphasis is not on new features or applications, but instead on improvements related to system architecture, including installation and administration, resiliency, security and performance. Avaya also highlights the flexibility in deploying IP Office on-site, in the cloud or as a hybrid arrangement that protects existing investments in IP Office equipment. Avaya customers can retain on-site equipment, while taking advantage of a pay-as-you-go hosted service for some applications or can flexibly network a mix of premises-based and cloud-based solutions across geographically dispersed business locations.
Today, IP Office is offered in several different deployments to fit varying size enterprises and feature requirements. IP Office continues to be available as an IP/hybrid platform for the small and mid-size business (SMB) market, with the IP Office 500 version 2 (IP500 V2) control unit handling up to 384 IP or TDM users (Basic, Essential or Preferred Editions are available). Avaya also serves the mid-market with the Linux-based IP Office Server Edition which supports up to 2,000 IP users in a single site or across up to 32 sites and the latest Avaya IP Office Select software that can support even larger organizations with up to 3,000 IP users across as many as 150 sites.
It is a virtualized version of either IP Office Server Edition or IP Office Select that can be deployed in a hosted/data center environment, with a unique VMware instance set up and managed for each end customer.
Avaya currently offers two IP Office cloud services options available through its channel partners – (1) a partner-hosted, partner-branded cloud service available globally (Powered by Avaya IP Office) and (2) an Avaya-hosted, Avaya-branded option available in the U.S. (OnAvaya-Google Cloud) for partners that do not want to host and manage the service or do not have the data center infrastructure to do so.
Because Avaya uses the same software code base for premises and cloud IP Office solutions, partners are able to support the deployment (cloud or on-site) that best meets a particular customer’s requirements, including hybrid cloud-premises arrangements that involve a combination of on-site equipment and hosted services – often a perfect fit for customers that already have an installed IP Office system.
The latest Avaya IP Office R10 emphasizes architectural enhancements, including reduced installation time, simpler management, enhanced resiliency and security, and improvements to capacities and performance. Here are some highlights:
- Centralized Licensing and Administration: In support of multi-node cloud and hybrid cloud deployments, all licenses can now be fully centralized on the integrated Web License Manager or WebLM (a web-based application for managing licenses) available on the IP Office Server Edition Primary Server or the IP Office Select solution. This simplifies installation and on-going system administration (alternatively, these systems can support centralized licensing from an external WebLM server).
- Improved Resiliency and Security: Support for a back-up one-X Portal server provides resiliency for unified communication features; the back-up server is installed by default on Server Edition secondary servers or can be installed on standalone application servers. Additionally, SIP endpoints can now “failover” to a backup system and “failback” when the home system is up and running again; this capability is available for Avaya’s SIP soft clients and SIP hard phones, including the new H175 video deskphone. R10 also extends built-in security to include signaling, as well as media encryption for hard IP endpoints and UC clients.
- Enhanced Performance: R10 improves packet capture logging, Linux tools, RAM usage and other performance measures. Several system capacities are increased, including music on hold sources (now up to 32), hunt groups (now 600 with up to 6,000 members), voice messaging (now 3,600 mailboxes and 3,600 hours), centralized directory (now 10,000) and personal directories (now 250 per user).
Leveraging the Enterprise Portfolio
Avaya has been leveraging its Aura enterprise portfolio to bring new capabilities to IP Office. Last year, with R9.1, Avaya introduced IP Office Web Collaboration, a derivative of Avaya Aura Conferencing that is modified for IP Office and mid-market companies that require audio and Web conferencing, desktop and application sharing and white boarding. The solution is part of the base software for IP Office Server Edition and IP Office Select or runs on an external Application Server if used with the IP Office Preferred Edition. Recently, Avaya enhanced its contact center portfolio for the mid-market with a new Workforce Optimization Select solution that works with Avaya IP Office Contact Center, Avaya Contact Center Select and Avaya Aura Contact Center. WFO Select represents the first Avaya-branded offering from the 2015 KnoahSoft acquisition.
Now, with R10, Avaya makes the SIP-based H175 Video Collaboration Station compatible with IP Office (the phone was introduced for Avaya Aura platforms in 2015). This desktop video phone for two-way video calling has a 7-inch touchscreen for access to web-based applications, menus, calendars and directories. A detachable full HD 1080p camera displays video on the built-in touchscreen (a traditional video phone) or on an external monitor (a video conference system). Users can also connect the H175 and a personal computer to an external monitor. H175 is available with a cordless DECT handset or with an analog corded handset for countries that do not support the DECT standard. H175 is the first model in Avaya’s H100 Series of new desktop video phones that combine the functionality of a business telephone and an executive video conference system.
Going forward, we can expect additional enterprise-level (Aura) solutions for IP Office, along with continued cloud and hybrid cloud developments. WebRTC clients are also a strategic focus. Stay tuned.