Phone of the Day: Avaya 9650 IP Telephone Meijer, Indianapolis, Indiana

Spotted at a Meijer (a completely awesome super center company based in Grand Rapids MI) near my friends place in the Indianapolis metro area is this awesome Avaya 9650 IP set.

Meijer has long been an ATT/Lucent/Avaya customer except for a brief stint with ROLM systems in the mid 1990s.

This service desk phone operates as the switchboard for the store and the 9650 is perfect as it has many built in attendant features such as transfer, conference, autodial buttons, and busy lamp indications.  A Key Lamp Module would be ideal for this phone to monitor different extensions in the store, but they chose not to install one.

Unlike many competitors such as Target, Wal Mart, Dicks Sporting Goods, Best Buy and even Michael’s, who have chosen to purchase expensive additional radio systems, Meijer is smarter than the competition by using the phone system with many wireless telephone handsets that team members carry around with them.  Instead of constant chatter on two way radios or annoying headset cords hanging all around your head, you hear communication when you need it, either when your phone rings or you dial on it.  Also, if you already have an investment in your phone system, why go out and buy additional expensive wireless radio systems that cannot communicate with the phone system?

Even though the companies mentioned above bought two way radios for internal communication they all have extensive telephone systems, for example Target.  They have invested in expensive Cisco phone systems but only use them for outside calls.  Paging is done via a microphone system and internal communication is done via Motorola radios.  Best Buy has also invested heavily in Cisco IP Telephones, but when I asked the staff what they use the phones for, they told me, only for external calls, no parking, no transferring, just to dial out or pick up external calls.  Why don’t we just setup a ma bell analog phone or two tin cans and a piece of string?   Thank goodness Meijer has the common sense to utilize their Avaya system to do everything!

Also overhead paging is allowed at Meijer and is heard, maybe 10 pages an hour, but wireless handsets have provided a great balance to keep overhead paging to a minimum, but it’s still allowed when necessary, not banned like at Target or Dicks Sporting Goods.

By the way, I visited a Marsh Supermarket just down the street from this Meijer!  They were using residential grade ATT analog telephones with 1980s intercom one line handsets…..I can’t believe how antiquated Marsh is when compared to this Meijer.

FYI the 9650 in this photo works on the Avaya Aura (PBX) and IP Office systems.  If you have the correct SIP firmware load, you can also use on open source such as asterisk or 3cx.

Way to go Meijer for being The most innovative in their use of telephone systems for both customers and team members!