See your Voice Mail Differently. Speech to Text now Available for Avaya IP Office, Hosted PBX, and NEC customers

Digitcom is now offering speech to text on a per subscriber basis for all Avaya IP Office and hosted PBX customers.  When a voice mail message arrives in your mailbox the message will be transcribed by Digitcom’s servers and sent back to you in an email with the speech transcribed as text within 3 to 4 minutes of receiving the message.  Using speech to text has allowed our sales reps to view urgent messages more discretely in noisy places and in meetings ensuring voice messages never sit in voicemail.  The transcription service is available as an optional add-on a per user per subscriber basis for as little as $5 / month, and now allows users to read and manage their voice mail as quickly and easily as email. The system will transcribe messages of as long as 3 minutes.

Best of all, no expensive phone system upgrades are required.  The service works across all the platforms that Digitcom sells including Avaya IP Office, NEC SV8100, SV9100, SL1100, and hosted PBX.  Pricing is as follows:

  1. Speech to Text, 1 to 9 users = $6 / user / month
  2. Speech to Text, 10 + users = $5 / user / month
  3. ** Minimum 3 users / company required, with a one time set-up fee of $50

Experience Clever Telecom

Avaya Unified Communications and Enterprise Roadmap

The Integrated Roadmap from Avaya addresses Enterprise customers through 4 of their solution segments, namely; Unified Communications, Contact Center, Data and Services. The Unified Communications portfolio includes the Enterprise Voice solutions from both Avaya and Nortel as well as the Unified Communications solutions. Unified Communications has received a lot of attention over the past few years with Cisco and Microsoft positioned as widely accepted leaders. With the Unified Communications Integrated Roadmap, Avaya clearly needs to be included as a Unified Communications leader.

There are numerous definitions for Unified Communications but all have common ground in integrating multiple forms of communications into a common user experience resulting in productivity and business process improvements. The Avaya architecture for Unified Communications starts with the Avaya Aura Architecture.

Avaya Aura is comprised of a number of pieces coming from Avaya, Nortel as well as integration between the two solution families. (Red = Avaya, Blue = Nortel, Purple = Both)

The strategy revolves around the use of industry standards to create a multi-vendor Unified Communications system that can be deployed at different paces based on each customer’s specific needs and current infrastructures. Session Initiated Protocol (SIP), Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) are the 3 key standards enabled in the Unified Communications Roadmap. Why is this important when considering Unified Communications? Although this can lead to a very detailed conversation, let’s look at 4 key components of the solution.

Avaya Session Manager – is a core piece of the Avaya Aura Architecture. It essentially sits on top of a customer’s existing voice infrastructure and provides SIP services. If you are a current Nortel or Avaya PBX customer, you can upgrade to recent software releases that enable SIP to gain maximum benefit. To accommodate older voice infrastructures or other manufacturer systems, you can also deploy SIP Gateways between your PBX and Session Manager to enable SIP Services. Once Session Manager is deployed, you then have choice to deploy additional devices on your existing environment or SIP devices directly with Session Manager while preserving many features.

Avaya Agile Communications Environment – or ACE, comes from Nortel Enterprise and is a SOA platform that delivers communications capabilities to business systems. “Click-to-Communicate” is a term used to deliver communications controls within business applications and business processes. “Click-to-Communicate” functions can work with directories eliminating the need to look up a person’s contact details then type their phone number of your telephone to initiate a call. You could simply hover your mouse over their name, right-click and choose how you want to establish a session with that person. This type of functionality can be extended to a wide variety of business applications.

Avaya Presence Server – leverages XMPP to interoperate with Microsoft OCS, IBM SameTime and other Presence Systems. It captures “On-the-Phone” status and shares that presence state with federated Presence Systems. It also allows for Instant Messaging to occur between Microsoft Office Communicator users and Avaya One-X users giving choice on how you can deploy the client interface.

Avaya One-X Clients – Much work is planned for the Avaya One-X Client for 2010 to extend its capabilities across the integrated roadmap. I believe it will be very important to watch for these developments and if/how the One-X Clients can be extended out to mobile devices including Blackberry, iPhone, Palm Pre and Android. A key Return on Investment (ROI) with Unified Communications is simplification and cost reductions for the mobile user. A consistent user interface regardless of the user device will be a key step in achieving a strong Mobile UC ROI.

Unified Communications will remain a very popular topic over coming years and the Avaya UC Roadmap has them well positioned to satisfy the needs of their install base customers while also providing value and choice for new customers that desire an open standards-based approach. Lots of work will be done by all UC market participants so it should be another interesting year for Unified Communications.

Experience Clever Telecom

Digitcom Receives First Rights to Sell Avaya “Powered By” in Canada

[Toronto, Ontario, 06/2018—] We are proud to announce that Digitcom is the first provider in Canada to build and sell Avaya’s latest hosted solution “Powered By”, as of June 1st.

For anyone familiar with Avaya, “Powered By” continues their field-dominating quality by offering a hosted solution that brings together IP Office-level functionality and cloud flexibility and scalability.

Not only does Digitcom own the complete work, we are also the only provider in Canada to wholly own the Avaya “Powered By” platform and SIP trunks. For reference, competitors resell someone else’s network and SIP trunks.

Digitcom is an Avaya Diamond SME business partner with full network facilities and field staff, able to support a complete end-to-end solution.

Digitcom founder and owner Jeff Wiener said the following:

“Digitcom is proud of our strong 14-year relationship with Avaya, and of our Diamond reseller status. We have sold almost 2,000 Avaya phone systems across Canada and the USA since 2004. Digitcom’s deployment of the Avaya ‘Powered By’ Cloud solution, which effectively brings the Avaya IP Office into the cloud, serves to further strengthen the partnership between the two companies.”

Digitcom is proud to have the opportunity to work with Avaya and to sell their latest product.

Experience Clever Telecom.

How to Back-Up Your Avaya and NEC Phone System; Do it Now, Before it’s Too Late

Just in the last month I have seen a few incidents were something happened to either the phone system or voice mail system, and the customer had either a very out-of-date back-up, or worse, none at all. In fact, as I write this post we are currently assisting a customer who had a large voice mail call queue, greetings, and setup that were all lost due to a failed server, and unfortunately, a back-up had never been created. The easy part of the recovery is the server itself; the difficult part is recreating the call flows and greetings. Worse yet, this customer had contracted a professional studio to record all of their announcements, and while we were able to recover some, most will need to be recreated.

But not only is it important to establish back-ups as part of a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, but its just as crucial to test your back-up system and restore routine on a regular basis as well, to ensure they’re up-to-date and working properly. There’s nothing worse than finding out your back-up didn’t work when you need it the most.

On that note, please find below instructions on how to back-up your: Avaya Voice Mail Pro database and announcements, Avaya Manager, and NEC SV8100 phone system.

Avaya IP Office Voice Mail Pro (how to do a quick back-up of your call flows)
• Start – All Programs – IP Office – Voice Mail Pro Client
• Voice Mail Pro will now open.
• If you have successfully logged onto the Voice Mail Pro Server you will see at the top of the screen “Voicemail Pro Client (IP Office) – Local
• Select File
• Import or Export
• Click Export Data ? and click NEXT.
• Now the system allows you to save the Voice Mail Pro back-up to a file destination of your choice
• Name the file and select OPEN. Click NEXT and FINISH.
• If done properly it will say “The database was successfully exported”
• Click CLOSE

Avaya IP Office Voice Mail Pro (backing up your config and announcements)
1. Open the Voicemail Pro Client application and connect to Voicemail Pro server.

2. From the Administration menu, select Preferences > General.

3. Click the Backup & Restore tab.

4. Click Backup Now.

5. Select the items that you want to include in the backup. You can choose from the following:
• Voicemails: The voice messages received in the user and hunt group mailboxes.
• User Greetings & Settings: The personal and temporary greetings, greeting configuration settings, mailbox configuration settings, outcalling configuration settings, and custom recordings.
• Campaigns: The responses received for campaigns.
• Callflows, Modules & Conditions: The callflows, modules, conditions, and meta information for campaigns.
• Module Recordings: The recordings for the various modules.
• System Settings: The settings like Voicemail Pro settings, COS settings, debug settings, and so on.

6. To save the backup files locally, enter a local file path (that is, C:\filepath) or a remote file path in UNC format (that is, \\server\filepath) in Location.
• The default file path on a Windows-based server is C:\Program Files\Avaya\IP Office\Voicemail Pro\Backup\Scheduled.
• The default file path on a Linux-based server is /opt/vmpro/Backup/Schedule.
• The Location field is unavailable if you select Remote Backup Configuration.
• If you are using Voicemail Pro installed on Unified Communications Module, also see Backup paths on UC Module Voicemail Pro.

7. If you want to save the backup files to a remote FTP server, select Remote Backup Configuration and proceed as follows:
• Enter the host name or the IP address of the remote FTP server in Remote FTP Host.
• Enter the absolute FTP path of the folder on the remote FTP server in Remote FTP Location.
• Enter the FTP user name in FTP User Name.
• Enter the FTP password in FTP Password.
• If you want to use SFTP for data transfer, select SFTP.
• Click Test Connection to verify the connectivity of the Voicemail Pro server to the remote FTP or SFTP server. If you receive an error message about the authenticity of the host, see SFTP Host Key Verification.

9. Click OK to start the backup.

Avaya IP Office Manager Application
• Login to IP Office Manager
• Go to File > Save configuration as
• Select a location, this is where you want the file to be saved and make sure the file type is a .CFG format
• Press Save

NEC Phone System SV8100 Back-Up and Restore Routines

There are two methods to save the database – either use the PCPro application or save directly to USB Memory on CD-CP00-US. Using PCPro, download the database and save the file on the PC hard drive. To save the database using a blank USB Memory, insert the USB Memory into the USB Port on the CD-CP00-US blade and, using Program 90-03, save the software. Due to the file naming structure, note that a USB Memory can hold only one customer database (each database is saved to a directory called DATA – this directory is overwritten if a second database is saved to the same card). Each database to be saved requires its own separate card (unless you choose to rename the directory after it is saved, then rename it back to DATA when you need to access the database). If the customer data needs to be reloaded, the method for restoring the database is determined by how the database was saved. Using PCPro, the customer database is uploaded using the Upload option in the application. If the database is stored on a USB Memory, use Program 90-04, with the database to be restored installed in the USB Port on the CD-CP00-US blade.

When restoring a database file, as the slot definitions may be different, remove all blades from the system except the CD-CP00-US and the CD-8DLCA/CD-16DLCA in slot 2. After the system is reset, blades can be installed again. Program 10-03 or Program 90-04 can be used prior to updating to record the current slot definitions. If the blades are not removed, the trunk and extension port assignments may be reassigned, depending on which blade syncs up with the system first.

After reloading the customer data to the system, exit programming mode (this could take a minute or more to save the database), then reset the system by powering down and back up. If the system is not reset, not all the uploaded programming changes are in effect. Wait a few minutes for the programming to take affect before accessing any line or special system feature. Otherwise, some unusual LED indications may be experienced. To prevent the USB Memory from possibly being overwritten, remove the card after reloading the database.

It’s Official. Avaya announces the END OF LIFE of the Nortel BCM. Now, what does that mean?

Over my 20 years in the Telecom business almost everything has changed, as telecom technology continues to advance at a rapid rate. One of the things that had never changed, however, was the presence of the Nortel product line in the market place. Nortel’s once innovative Norstar product was introduced sometime in the late 1980’s, and its fantastic twenty year run was cut short last May 2010. And last week Avaya announced the end of the Nortel BCM, Nortel’s flagship SMB phone system.

Avaya announces the End of Life of the Nortel BCM

I would classify the BCM as one of the more widely sold phone systems in the market which propelled Nortel to the #1 position in the worldwide market share concerning the small and medium business space. The product was feature rich, well-priced, and easy to install. Our company sold the Nortel BCM for many years with the unshakeable sense of confidence that Nortel once had.

But, as the old adage says, all good things must come to an end, and with that I’m sad to announce that BCM has reached the end of its impressive run.

When Avaya took over Nortel’s telecom assets they didn’t hide the fact that both the Norstar and BCM would be discontinued sometime in the near future, and the impending official announcement came on May 31st, 2011.

We have received at least 25 phone calls from concerned customers over the last 2 days wondering what this announcement means. First of all, it doesn’t mean that just because Avaya has discontinued the product that your phone system will stop working. Furthermore, Digitcom is in a unique position having spent the last 6 years stock piling BCM systems in anticipation of needing BCM stock at some point in the future. We have plenty of inventory, hard drives, MSC cards, expansion modules, and a depth of skill and are ready to continue to support, as best we can, both the discontinued Norstar and BCM product at least for the next two to three years.

Fortunately, Avaya does have a road map for these old Norstar and BCM products. The old handsets, M & T series, will continue to work on the newest release of Avaya IP Office, release 7.

Here is an excerpt of the Avaya press release announcing the discontinuation of the product:

As part of the previously announced convergence strategy and the launch of Avaya IP Office Release 7.0, Avaya is announcing the End-of-Sale (EoS) for new systems of Avaya Business Communications Manager 50 (BCM 50) and Avaya Business Communications Manager 450 (BCM 450) products, nine (9) months from the date of this announcement, effective March 1, 2012.

Products required to upgrade, expand and maintain existing BCM systems will continue to be offered for another three (3) years to March 1, 2015. This includes software authorization codes, terminals, media bay modules, expansion units, replacement parts, and upgrades to the latest release (BCM R6.0).

Avaya will make every effort to have supply of these products available for all orders, but cannot guarantee product availability through their End of Sale dates. Avaya reserves the right to manage and/or limit order quantities, or to cancel orders if supply is no longer available. Customer orders will be fulfilled on a first in, first out basis. If supply is exhausted prior to the targeted End of Sale dates in this notice, Avaya will issue an updated notice and accelerate removal of the applicable product codes from price lists and associated order entry systems.

Avaya IP Office Server Edition Server Requirements

The IP Office OVA installs the following default virtual machine.

  • CPU: 4 vCPU
  • RAM: 8000MB
  • Hard Disk: 100GB
  • Network Ports: Dual Gigabit

After deployment of a virtual machine, you can optimize the resources allocated to meet the actual requirements of the virtual machine. For example, if the virtual machine will only support 50 users, you can reduce the allocated processor and RAM memory. This allows for the best use of the overall resources provided by the virtual server platform.

The tables below shows the tested and supported profile values for different IP Office virtual machine usages.

Profiling Other Virtual Machines

It is in customers best interest and in vSphere administrator best practices to monitor resource utilization of the virtual machines running in their infrastructure. We strongly encourage the customers to profile not only our virtual machines but others they might be running on their ESXi servers to precisely fine-tune hardware resources that are allocated to the virtual machines. This will improve performance by allocating resources where they are needed and optimize the use of their virtual infrastructure.

Restrictions

    • Network Ports

You must configure all IP Office virtual machines with two Ethernet ports. If using vMotion, additional network port requirement apply. See vMotion Considerations.

    • Hard Disk

Regardless of the IP Office virtual machine’s role, it requires 100GB of allocated hard drive space. However, if required additional hard disk space can be added. See Adjusting the Disk Space.

    • Multiple Virtual Servers and Disk Storage Access Speed Requirements (IOPS/30 per server)

To maintain acceptable performance the number of virtual machines that runs on an ESXi host should not exceed the IOPS (Input/Output Operations per Second) of the disk storage divided by 30. To compute how many IOPS your storage configuration produce you should know the hard disk type, RAID configuration, number of drives. For example: A 10K SAS disk has 150 IOPS available which generates an acceptable performance for 5 virtual machines. Refer to http://kb.vmware.com/selfservice/microsites/search.do?language=en_US&cmd=displayKC&externalId=1031773 for further details.

    • Multiple IP Office Servers (Virtual and or Non-Virtual)

If deploying both a primary and secondary then the hardware resources assigned to each must consider the resiliency scenario when users re-register from one server (virtual machine) to the other. It is recommended that the primary and secondary have the same resources allocated. If there is a mix of dedicated hardware (non-virtualized IP Office) and virtualized IP Office operating as primary and secondary, then the assignment of resources to the virtual machine must match the hardware resources available in the dedicated hardware.

Avaya IP Office Release 11 Introduces The J and Vantage Phone Sets

Avaya’s latest IP office update brings multiple great features. Over the last week and a half or so, we have published three articles focused on the different features from the update (Equinox Meetings OnlineZang™ Spaces, and Cloud Operations Manager). We’re getting near the end, but we’ve still got one or two more in the pipe.

This week? The new J Series and Vantage phones.

Benefits of the J Series At A Glance:

  • J129: Cost effective and entry level, a hold over from the last set
    • Designed for public or walk-up locations (Lobbies, meeting rooms, dormitories, retail, etc.)
    • Ships today!
    • Available in Q2 with wifi
  • J139: Cost effective and entry level
    • Designed for users making a low number of calls
    • Works as a minimal IP Office set
    • Will be available with an IPO R11 Service Pack
  • J169: Intermediate level
    • Addresses the needs for every day voice communication for a small business or above
    • Made for workers looking to utilize a phone’s full range of benefits: Idle phone, feature menu, call settings, contacts list, incoming call, call in progress, log list, and call log details
    • Supported with IPO R11
  • J179: A fully involved phone model
    • Addresses the needs for every day voice communication for a small business or above
    • Made for workers looking to utilize a phone’s full range of benefits: Idle phone, feature menu, call settings, contacts list, incoming call, call in progress, log list, and call log details
    • Includes wifi and Bluetooth
    • Supported with IPO R11

Benefits of the Vantage At A Glance:

  • Vantage Basic client (both video and audio) included as part of R11 update
  • Option to integrate HD quality camera with a privacy shutter
  • Hands free wide-band audio speaker phone
  • Wired handset – bluetooth optional
  • Wired headset – bluetooth optional
  • Android certified by Google
  • An “all glass” device

As of May 1st, all of the features in this article series will be available. Interested? Contact us at the e-mail or number provided below and speak to one of our trained staff.

Experience Clever Telecom.

4 Remote Worker Options Available with the Avaya IP Office

Having virtual and remote employees is not only a way to get things done round the clock, without commuting, and with hard-to-find skill sets but is also a way to meet the needs of employees who don’t want to (or can’t) live near the main office. Having said the above, the conversation is happening with greater frequency as our clients ask about the various options available within the Avaya IP Office remote worker options. So on that note, I’ve reviewed 5 work-from-home options:

Mobile Twinning

Mobile twinning is my personal favorite, and frankly, the easiest and least expensive option available on the Avaya IP Office. Twinning allows your desk and cell to ring simultaneously. When the desk phone rings the cell rings at the same time, if you answer your desk, the cell stops ringing, and vice versa. If you answer on your cell and later want to continue the call on your desk, then you can press the twinning button on your desk phone, and the call is live and waiting on the desk phone. I like twinning because it’s easy to set up, it’s activated by pressing the twinning button on the phone, and most importantly, the feature is included with the Avaya IP Office. That’s right: there’s no fee for the license. PLUS, since this isn’t a VoIP-based connection, it works as long as you have a decent cell signal.

Cost = $0
Level of complexity in initial setup = easy
Level of complexity for user = easy

IP Phone

One of the advantages of an IP phone is its ability to connect to the primary phone system via an IP address. Unlike a digital phone, which needs to be physically wired and connected to the primary phone cabinet, an IP phone is connected via an IP address. It works regardless of whether the phone is in the building, or remote. If it’s remote, then there are some initial setup considerations. For example, the phone needs to be either tunnelled to the firewall of the location where the primary Avaya phone system cabinet is located, or, you need a point-to-point pre-established IP Sec tunnel from the ‘home workers’ network to the ‘office’ network, and the IP Phone sits on the inside of the ‘home workers’ network. Once connected the phone looks and works exactly like it would inside the office. It’s important to note that you need a decent internet connection at home, otherwise, the call quality could be compromised. Poor data results in poor-sounding voice calls.

Cost = phone and IP license, approx. $300
Level of complexity in initial setup = difficult
Level of complexity for user = easy

Softphone (desk or mobile phone)

A softphone is a PC based phone that works exactly like a regular desk phone, with similar features, except for the fact that there’s no physical phone. The advantage for the mobile worker is that you don’t need to bring your phone from site to site … you simply open your computer, launch the softphone client, and voila! Your phone, along with all feature buttons, message waiting lights, etc. is there and ready to go. In order for this to work, the laptop needs a pre-established VPN client in order to see the inside of the corporate network. If you have that already, then loading and using the software is easy.

Cost = softphone license is approx. $150
Level of complexity in initial setup = average
Level of complexity for user = easy

Avaya One-X Portal with Telecommuter mode

The hit-and-miss of VoIP, and the uncertainty of the call quality makes it very difficult to count on, which is why the Avaya One-X portal is an attractive work-remote option. Not only does the software work from within a browser, but the Telecommuter Mode allows the user to use a landline (cell or home phone) and take control of the cell or home phone as if they were in the office. If you need to make a call you can use One-X Portal. Type the number in and the system calls your cell, and then bridges the call to the outside user. The call display looks like the call is coming from the office, not from your cell phone, and it’s not VoIP-based which is great if you have questionable VoIP quality.

Cost = One-X license = $150
Level of complexity in initial setup = difficult
Level of complexity for user = average

So there you have it. Four remote worker options available with the Avaya IP Office. The work world has changed from one in which people sit in the same office to one in which you may work remotely, but still appear to work from within the same phone system.