Over the next few weeks, VoIP World Magazine will be featuring a question and answer section with some of the industry’s largest manufacturers of business phone systems, including Avaya authorized business partner Advanced Communication Systems (ACS) and Director of Sales Jay Faulconer. Below is a small preview of that interview.
Q: Can you describe ACS’s Avaya offering in the SMB space and address the following questions:
- What is your SMB phone system called?
- What is the system capacity?
- Do you have more than one model in the SMB space?
A: The flagship Avaya product for the SMB space is called Avaya IP Office, serving either standalone locations from 5 to 384 users, or multiple locations with up to 1000 users across 32 sites. It delivers big business communications capabilities at a price point that a small business demands.
What’s great about IP Office is how simple it is for a small business to purchase and use. For example, a small business owner may not understand terms like “mobile twinning” or “softphones”. What they do understand is that they have employees with functional roles – a “receptionist” or a “customer service agent”. IP Office offers what we call “user productivity solutions” – applications that enable unified communications based on the functional profile of each user in the business. The SMB no longer requires multiple applications to meet their communications needs. Rather, they select one of seven different user profiles – such as Office Worker or Customer Service Agent – simplifying packaging and ordering, and making it easier to understand what applications are required.
Q: Does the Avaya phone system support both digital and IP phones?
A: IP Office is an IP-based unified communications solution that lets SMB workers handle all of their business collaboration using the device of their choice. So you can choose from a range of IP phones, digital phones, or analog devices to connect to the system. There are also a range of on-premises mobility options for warehouses or campus-type environments. With the IP Office Power User and Mobile Worker user productivity solutions, you can even leverage mobile devices like smart phones or a video softphone on a laptop to keep employees connected at all times.
Q: What level of integration does the Avaya product support with respect to integration with Outlook? For example, can you, from within the calendar, access your mailbox settings and define the greeting to use while at a certain appointment? What other features does the product have with respect to calendar integration?
A: one-X Portal for IP Office is a browser-based application that lets a user control their telephone and telephone calls, view details of calls and directories of contacts, and configure settings that affect how calls are treated by the system. As part of that application, we have a “gadget” known as Call Assistant. Call Assistant can also be used to pop up details of calls or to show the matching contact in Microsoft Outlook if you are already running Outlook. You can also use the Call Assistant to select and dial a number shown by another Windows application.
Avaya also supports an application called InTouch, which is offered by our DevConnect Partner AdvaTel. InTouch is a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook that lets SMBs federate presence with contacts across every major platform – both internal and external to the small business. As it is a plug-in, there are no separate servers to maintain, and it is very easy to install. Prime contacts are always on display, with their presence shown to the right of the Outlook pane. Contacts can be seen from the IP Office system, Skype, MSN or Yahoo, and you can simply click to dial, IM, send email, or even an SMS text message.
Q: Where do you see the SMB market headed over the course of the next five years?
A: Well, in the shorter term, you’ll definitely see SMBs continue to adopt IP telephony. It may seem odd, but a large number of small businesses are still using older key systems or even single- and multi-line cordless systems. Yet, IP networks are virtually ubiquitous – nearly everyone has email or a web page.
IP phones are now as easy to install as their digital or analog counterparts, yet many SMBs still use digital phones. With more SMBs taking advantage of applications, we see the IP extension as “future-proof”, since some applications will ultimately reside on the telephone. We’ll have a line of touch-screen phones that should accelerate this, especially in verticals like hospitality, where multifunctional phones are a necessity.
There is a growing segment of SMBs that are much more receptive to new technology, what you might call “early adopters”. These are companies that place a high value on open standards – in the communications world, we have SIP – and have the resources to better exploit the benefits of this type of architecture. We have a solution – Avaya Software Communication System (SCS) – which is a software-based unified communications solution. All the control software resides on an industry-standard PC, and it enables SMBs to utilize powerful communications applications that can dramatically improve employee productivity, reduce costs, and enhance customer service. We offer this solution in selected markets.
Check VoIP World Magazine in the coming weeks for the full interview. Or, if you have any further questions you would like answered right away, you can contact Advanced Communication Systems by calling 1-800-750-3624 or visit BuyTelephoneSystem.com today
About Advanced Communication Systems:
Advanced Communication Systems is a National vendor of Avaya and Cisco telecommunications products with local offices in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. ACS offers business telephone solutions and maintenance services that help you leverage the value of your business’s telephone system investment. From traditional PRI to Voice over IP (VoIP), ACS gives you more options for voice and communication technology solutions than any other provider.