Avaya, 3Com embrace IP telephony

Yesterday at the annual VoiceCon 2002 Conference and Exhibition in Washington, Avaya Inc. and 3Com Corp. each announced new IP telephony products. For its part, Avaya announced a slew of new products that demonstrate the company’s full embrace of IP telephony.

With a significant upgrade to their voice application software and new servers and media gateways, Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Avaya is hoping its products will make migration to a mixed voice and data network easier.

“With this announcement we really believe enterprises will have no barriers to the move to convergence,” said Pam Preston, director of marketing for converged enterprise solutions at Avaya. “This really brings the adoption significantly forward.”

Avaya announced a new voice application software suite that runs on multiple operating systems including Linux, dubbed MultiVantage; three new servers, and two new media gateways; as well as the next release of its IP Softphone.

According to analysts, however, the product announcements by themselves are not so significant as is the message Avaya is sending.

“The indication here is that a traditional PBX vendor is biting the bullet and making the switch to target IP telephony,” said Paul Strauss, research manager of IDC’s enterprise networks program. “Avaya has done it enthusiastically and are really in danger of cannibalizing their own product line, but if they don’t they’ll lose to Cisco and other specialty providers.”

Avaya’s new voice application software suite, MultiVantage, runs on multiple operating systems including Linux and Microsoft’s Windows 2000. Evolved from the company’s Definity software, MultiVantage allows enterprises to integrate voice features and functionality into IP-based LANs and WANs.

The three new Avaya Media Servers bolster their existing line of servers and support most industry application program interfaces and standards, thus making it easier for enterprises to run a mixed vendor network.

Avaya’s two new media gateways support voice traffic routed between circuit-switched and packet-switched networks and also work in standards-based data networks.

The new Avaya VisAbility Management Suite provides tools that make it easier for enterprises to manage their network infrastructure, including both voice and data communications, through a common Web-based user interface.

Meanwhile, 3Com, in Santa Clara, Calif., and PolyCom, in Milpitas, Calif., introduced an IP-based conference phone that was designed to integrate exclusively with 3Com’s NB platform for both voice and data networking.

One of the features of the SoundStation IP 300 3COM NBX phone permits enterprises to hold their own voice conferences using tie line functions over an IP network. This function eliminates the need to provision an exclusive circuit between two offices within close proximity to each other.