Avaya increases impetus on IP telephony

Avaya is looking to increase the uptake of IP telephony in the region with the launch of its Integrated Stackable Telephony System (ISTS). The entry level solution is designed to provide enterprises with a taster of the cost, management and feature benefits of running voice over an IP infrastructure.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  June 26, 2003

ISTS introduction|~||~||~|Avaya is looking to increase the uptake of IP telephony in the region with the launch of its Integrated Stackable Telephony System (ISTS). The entry level solution is designed to provide enterprises with a taster of the cost, management and feature benefits of running voice over an IP infrastructure.

While ISTS is largely targeted towards small to medium sized sites and is capable of supporting 50 to 450 terminals, the vendor hopes that the solution will convince users to migrate away from their traditional TDM voice infrastructures and invest more heavily in IP telephony products and features.

“If a customer says they are happy with their TDM infrastructure, we have our ‘Trojan Horse’ strategy,” comments Roland Rubens, chief technology officer, Avaya, Europe, Middle East & Africa.

“We basically sell them the ISTS bundle — our Trojan Horse — and they use its IP telephony [capabilities] and they find out how beneficial it is and they expand it,” he explains.

The ISTS bundle, which was unveiled during the recent Avaya Live event in Dubai, incorporates a host of Avaya products, including its MultiVantage software, S8300 Media Server, G700 Media Gateway and the P330 Stackable Switching system.

The products work together to ensure that users’ migration to IP telephony is smooth and can accommodate a transition period where customers may run both legacy systems and IP. Furthermore, the solution is designed to meet future end user demands and requirements.

“It is a blended environment. ISTS has the core processing software that can run in an IP environment and can also control a TDM switch through the media server, while the gateway provides a bridge to combine existing infrastructures and IP telephony,” says Rubens.

“Organisations want to invest in emerging technology, knowing it is to a degree future proof. The ISTS platform provides this assurance,” adds Gavin Stewart, regional product manager, converged systems, Avaya.

The vendor also claims that its ISTS offering provides the reliability and security that have sometimes been deemed wanting when IP telephony solutions have been compared to traditional TDM platforms.

“There is no reason not to use IP telephony anymore. It has 5/9ths reliability, which is the same reliability as traditional TDM switches,” says Rubens.

“Secondly, people were worried about security. Because everything runs over an IP network, they feared people could plug in a sniffer and listen to conversations. But it [ISTS] is fully encrypted and all the conversations will be encrypted,” he continues.

Additionally, ISTS is suitable for deployment in a range of sites, including Greenfield sites, existing Avaya infrastructures and multi-vendor networks. As such, the vendor is offering different flavoured bundles to cater more specifically to these environments.

“We can sell the ISTS solution into a Greenfield opportunity — so from scratch. We can build it on top of an existing Avaya infrastructure and finally we can integrate it into a multi-vendor network as well — so you can add IP telephony capabilities on top of an existing Ericsson switch or a Nortel switch,” Rubens explains.

“For the Middle East, we have created some specific bundles to allow users to move from existing Avaya based networks or other vendors’ networks and to install ISTS in Greenfield sites,” he affirms.

While the standard bundle is in itself loaded with over 500 features, additional functions can also be easily added on top of the platform to provide a greater level of customisation, claims Rubens.

“It comes with standard functionalities, like the call processing software or the call manager software and it has about 500 standard features. Then on top of that we can add specific features for networking, for example, Q-SIG for existing networks,” he adds.

||**||Benefits|~||~||~|Aside from the ease with which the solution can be implemented, Avaya also cites cost savings, management benefits and greater application flexibility and functionality as key drivers for integrating the solution.

Furthermore, the vendor says the bundle’s relatively low starting price of US$10,000 is another plus point for the platform.

“The advantages are clearly that users have a unified infrastructure, instead of two legacy networks — a voice network and a data network — they have just one network. This provides immediate cost savings especially in an environment where you have a lot of locations or distributed sites integrated into one network,” says Rubens.

“The second advantage is the ability to integrate applications quickly, for example, contact centre applications, CRM applications and unified communications. With traditional technology it is sometimes difficult to fully take advantage of all the applications and features, in a converged space you have immediate access to all these applications throughout the network,” he continues.

Locally, Avaya also believes the solution will be a winner. Stewart describes the Middle East as an “important emerging market for IP telephony.” While the ongoing development and construction in the region offers a host of potential Greenfield sites for the deployment of the ISTS platform.

Furthermore, Rubens cites an increasing preference for IP telephony in the large campus environments or business hubs that are being developed throughout the region.

“We are doing a project in Cairo where they have created a smart village and they are looking to create one big IP telephony server and then provide that functionality to tenants or companies that are part of that campus environment. This is a growing trend and also one where users can fully leverage the economies of scale,” he explains.||**||

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