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  • 2009

Cisco WebEx 2009

IP Phones

Gold Award:

Avaya IP phones 2009

Avaya IP phones 2009

With the increasing need for quicker and more efficient communications for a company's employees, the plain old telephone simply isn't cutting it anymore. Traditional phones can be expensive when paying for phone service from a traditional PSTN. But an IP phone runs on an existing IP network via the Internet or private IP network, saving the cost of the local and long-distance fees of traditional phone service.

IP phones may not look very different from a traditional phone, but they have many more functionalities and features. Many of those features -- including video conferencing, call conferencing, and XML-based services -- are part of what defines an IP phone, which takes advantage of converged voice and data networks to offer increased functionality.

An IP phone can help an employee with many data, video or audio needs that a traditional phone system couldn't come close to doing. With an IP phone, an employee can easily look up an employee directory or check inventory, make a three-way call, or have calls forwarded or transferred. The right IP phone can improve employee efficiency and lower costs for an enterprise; but the wrong one can prove to be more difficult to use and thus less efficient than a traditional phone.

After tabulating the results from more than 300 readers, Avaya is SearchUnifiedCommunications.com's Product Leadership 2009 gold award winner for IP phones. We surveyed our readers on four criteria: end-user ease of use, voice quality, features and services, and the ability to run native and third-party applications. According to our readers, Avaya is known for its reliability and met these expectations with "great, stable phones," as one respondent commented. Fifty-five percent of respondents awarded Avaya phones five stars out of five for voice quality in our Product Leadership survey, compared with 37% for the silver medal winner, Cisco IP phones. Avaya also ranked high in terms of features and services, with 79% of respondents giving it four stars or more.

To understand why respondents preferred Avaya's IP phones, we took a look at some of the IP series. Avaya's 4600 series supports an integrated VPN client installed within the phones and includes easy-to-use feature buttons. Some of the 4600 series support desktop applications, including directories and inventory look-ups. The 5600 series has the same functions but also includes applications such as online order-entry and call logging, as well as a software-based VPN, so there's no need for a VPN device at remote sites. The most advanced series, the one-X family, includes phones for all types of users (walk-ups, the occasional phone user, the essential users, and the navigators) and provides the appropriate features for each user.

It's this kind of variety and the easy-to-use features that led our respondents to vote for Avaya as the gold award winner. As one user commented, "They're great phones. Not very flashy, but they work." Other respondents commented on the user-friendliness, though the relatively standard features and application abilities got mixed reviews. One respondent said, "You cannot run third-party applications on your Avaya, though it's really user friendly."

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