BT Makes 'Contact' With VoIP

To improve customer service and save money, the carrier taps Nortel to bring VoIP to its U.K. call centers.

By Colin C. Haley | Posted Dec 2, 2004
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To improve customer service and save money, BT is having Nortel bring Voice over IP to its U.K. call centers.

The $5 million contract is one of the largest deployments of a VoIP-based "virtual contact center" in Europe, the companies said. When completed, it will serve nearly 10,000 agents across 124 sites.

A spokesperson for Brampton, Ontario-based Nortel was not immediately available for comment.

In a statement, Peter Kelly, Nortel's president of the enterprise networks for the region, said the contract "is a huge vote of confidence in our VoIP and contact center technology and demonstrates that convergence really can deliver huge benefits and reduced costs on a very large scale."

While much of the VoIP marketing and advertising has focused on consumer VoIP services, Nortel and its rivals are selling the benefits of the technology to multinational corporations. Call centers in particular represent an attractive opportunity.

Nortel's IP Contact Center line lets companies create a virtual contact center that spans wide geographic areas and crosses multiple time zones, ensuring the most appropriate agent available handles each caller's inquiry.

Voice and data networks are converged, allowing BT to cut management costs. BT's customers will benefit from access no matter where they are or what time they call, Nortel said.

BT and Nortel already have a strong relationship. In fact, the system Nortel is upgrading is its own Meridian 1 PBX telephony system and Meridian MAX call routing product.

Under the terms of the upgrade, Nortel will deploy its Communication Server 1000, which integrates VoIP ad desktop call center software, to five sites in the United Kingdom.

The deployment also includes the Symposium Call Center Server, a platform for real-time data exchange. Finally, Nortel will deliver 10,000 Nortel 2004 IP phones to BT.

Nortel competes in the call center communications and software space with Avaya , Cisco and others.

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