VoIP Case Study #1 - Page 2

 By Linda Paulson
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What's also becoming more apparent is it doesn't take a complete overhaul to implement VoIP effectively. The City of Daytona is an excellent case in point.

If Gene McWilliams, the City of Daytona, Florida's manager of information services, isn't in his office when you phone him, it's as easy to talk with him as punching "5" on your telephone keypad. There's no lengthy message with pager and alternate telephone numbers for callers to wait through. That simple gesture links your call to his cellular telephone over the city's VoIP network.

The system, designed and implemented within the last year, eliminated a hodge-podge of telephone systems at 23 offices throughout the city. "We had been planning to put data in these," explains McWilliams. "These locations ranged from fire stations throughout the city to two- and three-man offices. We could have either used single line services through OPX -- very expensive -- or key sets -- also very expensive.

The city chose Voice over IP. "It works out to our advantage in that the phones ride free. We already had the data connection. The 23 offices we serviced had incompatible key sets on our central phone switch or were individual one FBs. These gave us none of the features we needed." With VoIP, he explains, the city was able to centralize and integrate voice and data communication services. They're enjoying features including the aforementioned digital forwarding and are able to give users full- featured PBX options on a single line.

McWilliams says the city eliminated 17 independent systems. They still have their PBX, but worked with Nortel to integrate VoIP into the traditional switch. This, he says, "gives us a lot more robustness. And, it's the reason we went with the Nortel. ... That's what I like about it."

Another deciding factor was the ease of adding voice and data services for remote, temporary offices. "Five times a year our population swells into in excess of a million [people] for weeks at a time," McWilliams says. "We've set up temporary police precincts. Those are very expensive." Typically, they would install 1FB line and dial up modems to the network. "Now, with this integrated system, we just run voice over IP over fiber." The obvious advantage is enhanced public safety. Officers stationed in these locations for Bike Week or the Daytona 500 can access records, wants and warrants without any problem. They also have full telephone services. "It gives them full communication without having to learn something new. They use the same type of phones. To me that's one of the key features of this system."

This article was originally published on Jan 17, 2002
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