Avaya Inc. on Thursday introduced its new one-X desktop phone during a conference call with analysts, garnering a significant amount of praise from those industry experts. One even likened the allure of the phone to The Colbert Report or some other hip show.
Avaya launched its new one-X line in March; the product set includes a soft client for cell phones; a softphone; and a peer-to-peer platform for small offices. Now, starting with the 9600 series desktop edition, the equipment maker has launched one of several IP phones to go with the one-X family. All one-X products are sold through Avayas indirect and direct channels.
The 9600 series targets everyday users, such as engineers and accountants, Avaya said. In 2007, the company will introduce phones for people such as customers and company visitors; sales executives, bankers and lawyers; and executive assistants and receptionists. Avaya surveyed more than 500 users to develop the features and functionalities they said would help them be more productive.
In a market increasingly dominated by softphones, this new application-driven desktop phone offers features and capabilities no other company has integrated to date, said Lou D’Ambrosio, Avayas senior vice president and president for global sales and marketing. For example, he explained, the new one-X phone lets users hear inflection and nuance, thanks to high-fidelity handsets, headsets and speakerphones. The new wideband audio developments [allow them] to hear people like never before, he said. Based on the WML programming language, the phone also provides one-touch access to voice mail; a USB connection; full conference call control; a Webcam display for security monitoring; RSS news and stock feeds; English-language availability in July with 13 additional languages to follow in August; and a navigation pad similar to that on a cell phone, making it easier to traverse the system.
That navigational ease lends itself to improved confidence on the part of the user, said Geoffrey Baird, vice president and general manager of the communications appliances division. He noted how colleagues often tell callers the call might drop when transferred. The simplicity of use with the 9600 series, however, means that problem should be virtually eliminated, he said. My objective in life is to get rid of I may drop you.
Perhaps the 9600 series biggest selling point, though, is how it enables mobility. Baird and D’Ambrosio contended the reign of the desktop phone is not over because, with the new one-X products, end users can take their calls wherever they go. Users can forward calls to their cell phones or assistants or send all calls to voice mail. If you can cut phone tag out and make it easy to reach people, you actually increase the productivity of users, Baird said.
Meanwhile, Avaya partnered with several other companies to create the IP phones enhanced applications. Citrix provided the click-to-call from Web applications and messages, as well the ability for the phone to send alerts with graphics, text and audio. Millenigence Inc. developed calendars, directories and messaging for users such as schools and hospitals. CalAmp created time-clock and attendance functions, and IPcelerate crafted a zone paging and emergency response system, and security and safety sensor alerts.
The one-X line is supported on Avayas Communication Manager, version 3.x and above; it is not backwards-compatible on previous releases. The Avaya 9620 phone will cost $395 per device, while the 9630 will list for $525. Avaya later this year will introduce a Bluetooth-compatible adapter, headset and handset, and a gigabit Ethernet adapter. Other 9600 series phones will come out in 2007.