The new Vantage lineup. Photo by Alex Coop.

Published: January 30th, 2018

New Orleans, La. – Some people might be surprised that Avaya dedicated some time at its main event to highlight a new line of desktop phones, but it’s a risk worth taking, says Michael Kuch.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” says Avaya’s senior director of solutions and marketing during a meeting with reporters at the Avaya Engage 2018 conference. “We still have a huge attach rate with phones.”

A recent IDC survey says 57 per cent of respondents think the usage of desk phones will increase, and only 15 per cent thought it will decrease. In addition to upgrades for the Avaya Vantage and a new conferencing device, the CU-360, Avaya unveiled this morning its new Essential Experience J139, J169 and J179 lineup of phones that will be available during the second quarter of this year. The CU-360 is an Android-based device best suited for smaller spaces looking to have an all-in-one video solution. It can connect to the cloud, be used wirelessly and take advantage of Avaya’s Equinox platform, the company’s cloud-based platform that connects various services together on one interface.

The new J-series isn’t going to create a huge leap forward for desktop phones, says Kuch, but it was important for Avaya to come out with a new product and respond to a market that still wants desktop phones. The competition refreshes its product lines every 18 to 20 months, while Avaya hasn’t done that for a number of years, he explains.

“Even though we’ve had a troublesome 2017, we went out there and decided we need to do this,” says Kuch.

Avaya’s head of global communications, Richard Fly, agrees.

“It also proves that we’re a customer-focused company,” says Fly.

The Android-based Vantage lineup features a touchscreen that can control any system connected to it, comes with the option of a cordless handset, and gives channel partners a lot of room to do what they want with a single device, says Steve Brock, Avaya’s director of solutions. It will be available during the second quarter of this year.

“It’s no longer just a phone. It gives you complete access to everything the cloud has to offer. It’s part of our cloud strategy,” he told CDN on the Avaya show floor.