For several releases users have been looking for an alternative to the Analog speaker phone option in Conference Room solutions. Until now there was no official support for any IP or Digital phones on IP Office. The best option was an analog phone and a page of instructions. With the introduction of R5 of IP Office, SIP endpoints are now supported. With SIP endpoints a plethora of options open up for integration, including new Conference Room phones. SIP is a loose standard and many devices may have at minimum a partial support. Using this concept we reach the multi-line IP conference phone.
Avaya has already documented a configuration for the Polycom SoundPoint IP desktop phones (see here). Polycom has some amazing conference phones and fortunately for the end user, the configuration of the desktop phone is very similar to the conference phones. Using the Avaya provided documentation gets us to the point of a multi-line IP conference phone.
If we were to stop here, a conference is possible. The conference is managed by the phone itself and does not utilize the IP Office conference chip during the conference. VCM usage in this scenario is based on the individual parties in the conference. In testing I was able to tie up as many as 4 VCMs on a 3 party conference. The entire call is handled by the SoundStation IP, the audio quality is based on the Polycom. This configuration is suitable for a two party conference.
Expanding past the two parties on the call requires some additional configuration. Simply adding another line appearance could give us more parties, but a resource limitation could be reached quickly. The better method would be to adjust the the way the conference is created. By utilizing the IP Office conference chip a two line phone gives all that we need.
First ensure that a conference bridge code is created on the IP Office. A simple shortcode (500 | 500 | Conference Meet Me) will do the trick. This allows any user dialing the code 500 to be dropped into the conference bridge 500. The numbers here are not important as they can be any number not already in use on the system.
On the Polycom initiate the first call and press the transfer button and a 2nd line is accessed. Enter the number of a conference bridge (500), then transfer the caller to that bridge. Now any number of other callers can be added in the same manner. Pressing the conference button here leaves the call in the same situation as described above.
A second way to get the same affect is to revert to the older method of using the *47 shortcode. Call each party individually, put them on hold and dial *47. This places all parties in a conference based on the extension of the IP conference phone. In either case, the resource limitation is now based on the IP Office conference chip and trunks, not on the resource of the SoundStation.
Using a SIP phone does require one 3rd Party IP Endpoint license.
3rd Party IP End-Points Licenses
Avaya IP phones supported by the IP Office can register with the IP Office without requiring any license. Other IP phones (SIP or H.323 devices) require an IP End-Point license and will consume one instance of that license. Note that Avaya cannot guarantee operation beyond making and receiving calls.
• IP End-Points License – 1 Phone: IPO LIC IP40 IP ENDPOINT RFA 1 LIC:CU (174956)
• IP End-Points License – 5 Phones: IPO LIC IP ENDPOINT RFA 5 LIC:CU (174957)
• IP End-Points License – 10 Phones: IPO LIC IP ENDPOINT RFA 10 LIC:CU (174958)
• IP End-Points License – 20 Phones: IPO LIC IP ENDPOINT RFA 20 LIC:CU (174959)
• IP End-Points License – 50 Phones: IPO LIC IP ENDPOINT RFA 50 LIC:CU (174960)
Avaya has released better docuemntation on the configuration of these phones:
POLYCOM SS IPO.pdf
Polycom now has announced official support as well: Press Release