Users see clear gain in IP phones

Wellington film production house Silverscreen Productions' move to IP telephony was brought about by a shift to new premises, says IT and telecommunications manager Fraser Simpson. The company was one of the first in the country to implement the technology.

Wellington film production house Silverscreen Productions' move to IP telephony was brought about by a shift to new premises, says IT and telecommunications manager Fraser Simpson. The company was one of the first in the country to implement the technology.

"At our new premises, the floors are almost 1m thick, so we wouldn't have been able to cable a traditional phone system," says Simpson.

Cisco equipment was installed in October 2000 and Silverscreen has a single fibre-optic cable running through the building. Simpson says having voice and data on the same cable has led to cost savings.

"We had to set up a whole new system, but with only one system, costs have been cut in half."

Another element in the savings has been the elimination of the need for outside support, which there would be if the company still had a PBX system. "Being IT-based, we can service it ourselves."

Silverscreen has 55 IP telephony sets in Wellington and plans to install between 35 and 50 in its Auckland office in December. Its system has a redundant loop to re-route data in the event of difficulties with the cable.

Silverscreen often has casual staff come in, and with IP telephony arranging a few extra phones is easy, Simpson says. "We can quickly allocate and plug in the phones -- with PBXs, the socket would need to be re-cabled to do that."

Another advantage is the ability to add new features such as speed dials on the phone and update the software on the phones by remote control from the web console.

There were "a few little glitches that needed to be ironed out" when the system was installed, but otherwise the project has been very successful, Simpson says.

A major New Zealand company taking the IP telephony plunge is ASB Bank, which is also installing Cisco equipment, through integrators, Logical.

The technology will initially be used by 200 Auckland non-branch staff and the bank will then look at piloting it in some branches and other non-branch sites, says ASB technology and operations group general manager Clayton Wakefield.

The introduction of IP telephony is "part of a wider, long-term voice and data strategy", Wakefield says.

Cisco New Zealand country manager Tim Hemingway says more than a third of Cisco NZ's revenue now comes from IP telephony.

Cisco has supplied businesses in the health, travel and retail sectors, he says.

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