NZTE plans major communications revamp

Trade agency wants to standardise to common platform

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the government’s international trade development agency, is embarking on a major reengineering of its telecommunications and network services, including mobile services for 209 mobile users.

NZTE says it is seeing increasing demand for smart phones and email, schedule management and contact synchronisation with Microsoft Exchange. The agency has a

corporate smartphone standard of Windows Mobile and prefers that phones adhere to this, although alternatives may be considered “where this meets security requirements and brings additional benefits”.

“NZTE is widely spread around the world, and has a workforce that often travels internationally. It is therefore critically important that roaming of mobile voice, SMS and data is both widely available and has known costs.

In the past year, approximately 60 percent of handsets have roamed internationally, and these people travel on average 2.2 times per annum,” the agency says in a document released to market last week.

The agency, which has nine offices in New Zealand and 375 local staff, is aiming to shift its New Zealand offices onto a common telecommunications and networking platform. NZTE’s 39 offshore offices are supported by AT&T through a global MPLS network and are not part of the project.

NZTE says it is pursuing a “cost effective, co-ordinated approach to telecommunications, using leading edge technologies, encompassing voice and data”.

“The desire is to develop a communications system that works as a coherent and cost-efficient whole, rather than a group of separate entities,” it says.

The project — which encompasses wide area network (WAN), internet, fixed and mobile voice services, unified communication and management tools — is scheduled to start early in 2010 in Auckland and Wellington with a rollout to other locations before June.

Most NZTE offices use Cisco telephony gear, owned by NZTE, except for the organisation’s Hamilton office, which employs a Siemens Hi-Path PBX integrated with the Cisco system.

In its largest offices, NZTE uses Cisco Unified Call Manager for VoIP telephony.

The document notes that the Cisco environment may be supplemented with Microsoft’s Office Communications Server for smaller offices in the future. OCS may also be used for web conferencing and collaboration.

Video and audio conferencing also features and NZTE is signalling its intention to upgrade its video conferencing to high definition.

NZTE also seeks to make web conferencing more accessible to staff by integrating it into the existing infrastructure.

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