Avaya Implements SIP Across VOIP Products

Avaya is delivering end-to-end SIP across its IP phones, IP PBX and contact center products.

Avaya on Jan. 21 delivered on its promise to more broadly support the open standards Session Initiation Protocol when it launched a range of voice over IP and contact center upgrades featuring end-to-end SIP support.

Avaya in its flagship Communications Manager IP PBX software delivered end-to-end SIP support, adding new endpoint support for using the industry-standard signaling protocol to existing SIP trunking.

"This combined with our native SIP trunking for Communications Manager and for SIP enablement services starts to give end-to-end SIP all the way to endpoints," said Anne Coulomb, global solutions manager for SIP at Avaya. "Once you have SIP within your network or linked it within your enterprise, it opens a lot of doors for new uses, including phones, desktops and new applications you'd like to build."

Although SIP is on a lot of customer checklists, to date it has not been widely implemented, according to Allan Sulkin, president of TEQConsult Group.

"Except for a few vendors like Siemens and Asterisk, SIP is not the native communications protocol in [VOIP] systems," he said. That's because a lot of features aren't supported in SIP mode.

"Why would I want a SIP phone if I lose features in most of these systems?" Sulkin asked.

Communications Manager 5 can run on the same server with Avaya's SIP Enablement Services software and exploit the 61 features supported by SES. That helps to reduce the cost and management associated with multiple servers.

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Communications Manager 5.0 also supports SIP alternate routing, which enables SIP traffic to be redirected onto another trunk if the primary trunk goes down.

Beyond Communications Manager 5.0, Avaya also SIP-enabled three models of its Avaya one-X VOIP deskphones through a new firmware upgrade. That gives users access to presence-enabled functions in directories, so that users can see the availability of colleagues within a phone's directory.

In addition, Avaya added SIP support to its Avaya Video Telephony Solution videoconferencing system.

Avaya claimed that it is making SIP practical in the contact center by providing end-to-end SIP support through a new purpose-built SIP phone for contact center applications and by upgrading to the Avaya Call Center software with new end-to-end SIP support.

The new Avaya Agent Deskphone 16cc eliminates the requirement for CTI middleware, "so when a call gets to the agent, they already see information about the customer calling in," said Colleen Agurirre, the company's director of product management.

"The carrier used ISDN in the past to deliver that additional information. SIP didn't have standards for that. Avaya has been working with carriers to establish the standard [for SIP]," she said.

"It's nice Avaya has Call Center 5.0 that's end-to-end SIP. But for the most part you are still seeing blended environments at best," said Ian Jacobs, senior analyst with Frost & Sullivan. "The hard phone in particular though helps for a sort of new model for contact centers-distributed contact centers with remote agents. You just need to send them the phone, in theory plug it in, and the apps are pushed to them."

All of the new SIP-enabled offerings are available now.