As part of an ongoing history of documenting the once leader of enterprise telephony. For future posts, read the tag #MakeAvayaRedGreatAgain and Remembering Avaya
Avaya Incorporated was founded by Lucent Technologies in late 1999 to “unlock shareholder value” by focusing on mostly carrier switches such as the 5ESS products. The company was fully spun off as an IPO that was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AV. Meanwhile, Lucent spun off other vendors such as Agere, a semiconductor company that went into their own products, with chips that even had Western Electric prints from the mid 1980s.
With the basics of the company’s founding, it’s important to go back to the beginnings dating as far back as the telephone itself. The history is on Avaya and the track related to Avaya’s past and present assets, products and services. Continue reading
The Merlin systems were basically from the beginning designed to be a workgroup phone system to compare it to the computer networking world. While the Merlin phones look so big business, and in some cases they were. Small Key units like the Merlin were installed in large environments against existing Centrex and electromechanical or analog/digital PBX systems. Because those systems already had 8 or 9 for the outside line, this would be redundant and therefore the Merlin did not have this feature. For small setups it was easy to pick up the phone and make a call. However this one and succeeding phone systems, many central offices would get quick off/on hook statuses because the users would be making an internal call. One trick was to hit the Intercom on hook then pick up the set.
A picture of an AT&T Merlin Receptionist Console that looked almost like a BIS 34D with the BLF console fused in together with an interesting display. It was supported on a Merlin II, System 25 and Legend systems only.
The cover to the Merlin 1030/1070 users manual
The Merlin (or sometimes known as all caps due to the stylized brand) was produced by AT&T (then American Bell) from 1983, and was continued to market via a rebrand the following year as AT&T Information Services, then the spinoffs of Lucent in 1996 then Avaya in 2000. The brand stuck around for nearly two plus decades, but the systems went more progressive. It’s not to say that the original line had a huge following and install base well into the new century. While there is no conclusive information of the research and development at this time of writing (early 2017), it was most likely developed to succeed the ComKey system at the time.
(As a sidenote, the ComKey was the first electronic telephone system, but it came with the price of complexity in wiring. ComKeys were basically a Peer to Peer or Point to Point, better known as P2P; system basically each set requiring fifty pair cables to connect to each other directly, or indirectly sharing the same telephone circuits; and while the system supported music on hold or paging, it required the similar shoebox sized KSU and circuit boards to do so.)
Per to the YouTube description of Martin Askinazi
Robin and the Vectors was a group that started in the mid 90’s at AT&T. We created song parodies about the call center products developed by AT&T/Lucent Technologies/Avaya and created these videos to present and the User Group each year. The band consisted of Robin DeLorenzo (lead singer), Marty Askinazi (Guitar/Vocals/Producer), Zack Taylor (Lyrics), Walter Bier (Sax) and Alex Fattorusso (Bass)
If you couldn’t tell by the name of the c-rated band, this was most likely a marketing ploy for their call center offerings. This was the time in the mid 1990s when AT&T and Lucent was behind in the lucrative market of call centers. The Definity PBX had out of the box support for call centers in enterprise accounts; and it wasn’t too long after they dominated (for all the right reasons!)
This video is a series of several posts.