New Zealand Dairy Group is launching a voice over IP trial with Telecom and Nortel.
The pilot will start in six weeks, running over the wired network between Dairy Group’s Anchor House headquarters and the company’s training centre in Pukete. Early next year it will be extended to various wireless LANs at manufacturing sites and warehouses throughout the country.
Dairy Group computer operations manager Mark Junge says one of the company’s goals is to be able to run VOIP for stores people who are highly mobile within warehouses. “While they’re away from their desks they could still take calls. At the moment they rely on walkie-talkies.”
The company has 1600 users on its voice network and about the same number of PCs on its data network. It operates a star WAN based in Anchor House in Hamilton and has frame relay connections to more than 60 sites in New Zealand.
Junge says the company has a large investment in its Nortel PABXs so VOIP won’t be rolled out wholesale, once
the trial is finished.
“If the situation arises that is perfect for VOIP, then we’ll go there.” Suitable sites include those with PABXs due for replacement, and remote offices, he says.
The trial will go ahead as the merger of New Zealand Dairy Group, Kiwi Co-operative Dairies and the Dairy Board proceeds, creating a new entity from October. “It won’t stop the trial although it might put a different spin on some of the decision making down the track,” he says.
The Dairy Group is also upgrading its wireless LANs, which operate in 19 sites, from a 900MHz to a 2.4GHz environment.
The networks, which are based on 802.11b standards and use Cisco 250 access points, link forklifts through vehicle-mounted units to the goods inventory system. Some PCs and Compaq Ipaq handheld devices are also fitted with cards to log into the wireless LAN.
Compaq is supplying the wireless LAN and Rotorua-based Alston installing the network.