Firms take up IP telephony, after trials

IP telephony continues to be adopted by New Zealand businesses and public institutions, though most are piloting it before committing to a major rollout.

IP telephony continues to be adopted by New Zealand businesses and public institutions, though most are piloting it before committing to a major rollout.

ASB Bank has just over 100 staff connected to its Cisco-based IP telephony system, installed in partnership with Logical, and plans are for 250 non-branch staff to be hooked up by Christmas.

“We went live with it three weeks ago and it’s been a virtually fault-free rollout,” says technology and operations manager Clayton Wakefield.

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) has 20 staff on IP phones, also from Cisco, and plans to increase that to 120 by the end of next year, including at remote sites.

Meanwhile, at Tauranga Hospital, two non-clinical departments, comprising 40 individuals, are using IP telephony, says Bay of Plenty Health Board IT systems manager Grant Ardern.

“By Christmas, we plan to have a remote site, a community health and disability centre in Tauranga which isn’t part of the hospital, also connected, bringing the number of users to 60.” In 10 years’ time, he envisages all Tauranga Hospital’s 900-phone operation being on IP telephony.

The board is replacing the hospital’s legacy Mitel SX 2000 light PABX system only slowly, as upgrades are needed, Ardern says. “We’re doing a staged rollout because it wouldn’t have been a good strategic move to upgrade the Mitel.” However, the legacy system will remain in the hospital’s clinical departments until IP telephony deployment is far enough advanced that there are two call managers - at the moment there is only one.

So far, the system, also Cisco and also installed by Logical, has proved “more stable” than the legacy PABX, Ardern says.

The second largest board site, Whakatane Hospital, isn’t in line for an IP telephony fit-out, however, as its Nortel Meridian PABX “still has a bit of capacity”.

Ardern doesn’t believe getting IP telephony is worthwhile until upgrades of legacy systems are needed. He believes IP Telephony will eventually replace legacy systems, but it won’t happen in the near future “because it will take time for people to gain confidence in it”.

Cisco recently gained a rival in the New Zealand IP telephony equipment market with the arrival of 3Com last month.

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