QueTwo's Blog

thouoghts on telecommunications, programming, education and technology

InAAU Avaya Conference Review

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Well, I just got back from San Diego, CA at my first InAAU conference.  InAAU, or the International Association of Avaya Users is an international usergroup of Avaya telephony professionals.  Avaya has a very hands-on approach with not only this usergroup, but the usergroups at a local level.  In general that makes the usergroups more of an extension of Avaya, rather than the more ad-hoc nature of the Adobe Usergroup programs that I am normally involved with.  Not bad, just different.  One of the common themes of these UGs is that if you make a suggestion about an Avaya product, Avaya hears it loud and clear (and often acts on it). 

The conference itself was pretty nice, and very professional.  Similar to MAX in presentation and style, with about 2,500 attendees it felt big, but you did keep running into the same people.  I got to meet some really neat people all over the professional world.  I got to spend quite a bit of time with some of the people at SPS (thanks Theresa and Mike!) and some of the engineers / product managers at Avaya. Hopefully some of the contacts I made within Avaya and other universities pan out for some of our future projects.

All though the conference had a pretty heavy "salesey" feel to it, I did walk away with some cool tid-bits:

  • Avaya’s next style of phones will include the 9700 and 9900 series phones.  Looks to be IP only, with a heavy SIP focus (couldn’t figure out if there were going to be H.323 firmware available.
  • Communication Manager 5.0, and all the 5.0 tools all play well with external Authorization and Authorization services, such as LDAP, Active Directory, and RADIUS.  This is good as it is the direction our University is moving to, and also helps prevent YAL syndrome (Yet Another Login!)
  • Network Management Console and Converged Network Analysis (apart of the Integrated Management package) have some entitlement packages with CM 5.0.  This is great as they are awesome products, and help quickly determine some quirky network problems.  I might put in a request to purchase these products separately if we don’t upgrade to the latest release of Communication Manager.
  • G450 Branch Media Gateway is much more high-density than I originally thought.  With the ability to add VoIP media modules as daughter board (and therefore not take up valuable MM slots), you can actually get about 200 ports per device. Redundant power-supplies are also available.   With a price tag that is much less than a G650, this can quickly become our standard media gateway (again, if we upgrade to CM 5.0)
  • S8730 is a the new release of the S8700 series server.  Dual power supply, and RAID drives are the newest addition (aside from much more power).  Still not happy about the AMD based processor, but this server is a step in the right direction.
  • Although not announced, it seems pretty obvious that the G700 is going away.  No end-of-sale yet, but it was quietly dropped off all the road maps, and was extremely absent from all the power-point presentations.  Not a single one was at the conference.  Since this is MSU’s standard as a medium-density media cabinet, it makes us have to re-think our product placement.
  • 9600 Series phones plan to add some new features, including USB-dongle based mobility users (you have a ‘key fob’ that you plug into the side of the phone, which will log you into the phone), built-in calendaring, customizable screens, custom colors, and the ability to sync your contacts via a USB drive.
  • CM 5.0 now supports Look-Ahead Routing for both ISDN and SIP.  This is a really neat feature, and would allow us to add more redundancy in case of circuit failures. 
  • EC500 version 8.0 is being included with CM 5.0.  This release adds the ability to self-administer your number, and allows for better ‘pull-back’ support with operator-intercepts and cellular voicemail.
  • 8510 Server has been announced.  Based on Dell servers.  2 power-supplies, RAID and more RAM.
  • Communication Manager Road maps:
    • 5.1  (1H08)
      • Syslog support
      • Better ability to monitor issues with network connectivity with IPSIs within SAT
      • Calls missed due to call-forwarding, or not enough line appearances, can be logged.
      • Auto-Callback can be activated central-office side via ISDN/SIP signaling
      • SIP Enablement Server will see major stability improvements
    • 6.0
      • Use an S8400 server as an ESS server.
      • More integration of SES and CM products.
  • SIP Application Server — not really sure about the scope of this product.  I went to a few demos and I am more confused about it than ever.  Seems to do the same thing as the Application Enablement Server (AES), yet it works with SIP?  AES already seems to work with SIP just fine — we have applications that use it.

I appreciate all the hard work that the InAAU volunteers put into this conference.  Avaya users need a voice, and need to find out about these products from places other than their business partners.  I was also enjoyed the partnership with the American Cancer Society through ProjectPink — every mile an attendee walked during the conference was a dollar that Avaya will be donating to ACS.

I will continue to go through my notes and slide decks to process more information.  But for now, its time to get back to work!

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