POTD: Urban Outfitters – West 34th Street

Being the Avaya Red fanboy that I am, I am always happy to see any phones from the legacy AT&T/Bell System days. As I have stated before, this vendor had 90%+ of the Fortune 500 and then lost it entirely with a company with legacy roots that was 125 years old.

Taken in October of 2017, I am unable to tell what set this is, it could be a 1416 or a 1616. The second digit model numbers  what type of signaling it does to make them ether be a “telephone” or a “terminal”. Please read the section on “voice terminals” to remind yourself why your desk phone is not actually that…

In the world of Avaya, 4 means digital, specifically a proprietary, pre ISDN protocol, the DCP or Digital Communications Protocol;  1 means it’s an analog and can work on landlines; 3 was the only “hybrid” where the voice was coded digitally but to turn the lamps on and off were analog, hence the name of “hybrid” and it’s model number the 7300 series.  5 used to be for their ISDN line but between the Lucent/Avaya spinoff it’s unclear which brand it falls under*. And the most recommended models are the 9600 series VOIP sets. And the 1600 series if you are sucker to paper desis. There’s actually a good use case that not even a screen phone can match for non heavy phone users!

*Avaya broke this rule when they introduced the 9500 Digital Deskphones a couple years ago, they are not ISDN sets per se, because ISDN is long gone for desk phones, but Avaya used every model number except for 3400. 7400, 8400, 9400*, 6400, 2400, 5400** 4400**,  1400, almost went through the “model numberbet”.

*and Avaya broke this rule again, the 9400 series was originally a cuter version of the 8400 series to pander to the international market, they can work domestically since it’s a dumb device.

** they used this model number for their small end Merlin Magix and IP Office sets, but were deemed to be incompatible with the larger “Definity” systems. But they functioned no different ether.

I say this because I fell behind understanding the flip-phone functionality and I don’t know what system it runs behind because one way to tell if it was tied to an IP Office was by default the idle screen would only show the user’s name with their extension number assigned. The larger “Definity” type models always showed the date and time when idling. Secondly, I didn’t see the cabling, and if the cabling was a Cat 6 or 5, it would be an IP set. Most small installs would be using this system for non VOIP installs since the Partner is been put to End of Life. If these sets are using VOIP, they can be less hardware dependent and use ether a G350 or G430 voice router and tie to a central data center in some cloud.

I do know some of their sites use Partner, notably the Fanuell Hall store in Boston on a Saturday in May of 2016. I felt the Partner was a bad system in the design, and for whatever reason it departed from the Merlin to have a micro PBX in a key telephone system design. (Ring tones, and other similarities from their PBX were mirrored so to speak.) The Partner was a complete departure and a phone system of itself marketed by a large enterprise voice vendor.

When Avaya originally introduced the 1400 or 1600 at least a year or so after the original release of the 9600 series in 2006, Avaya’s competitor was Cisco for obvious reasons, known for having a deskphone that worked like a flip phone. While the legacy Avaya did not flaunt a “[a famous Disney character] design language” like a fruity computer company, Avaya and their ancestors had designed a simple to use office phone. While Nortel went into a atheistic of “simplicity” it was actually counter-productive for the user if they wanted to change their ring tone, their volume, or what have you. The Avaya design was always at least one degree access if you phone was idle. Nortel and others had done “flip-phone” like functionality even before the flip phones.

Avaya fell into this and making the phones more and unneessarly sophiciated that a Gen Z user would probably be overwhelmed because of her attention deficit behavior.

All in the name of “progress” right?



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