Wannon Water Gets Remote Staff Talking With Unified Communications Technologies
Microsoft And Nortel Unified Communications Platform To Consolidate Calls Across 200 Kms Of Rural Countryside
MELBOURNE, Australia – Water corporation Wannon Water is looking to improve staff productivity and customer service, and further reduce its carbon footprint, with a unified communications network from Microsoft Corp. and Nortel* [NYSE/TSX: NT].
The new network will integrate the organisation’s existing Nortel communications network with Microsoft Live Communications Server 2005 and Microsoft Office Communication Server 2007, effectively creating a company-wide unified communication network across 200 square kilometers of rural Victoria. Staff will be able to see who’s available and online at any of Wannon Water’s 21 field offices, accurately direct incoming and internal calls, and as a result, avoid unnecessary travel.
As the new functionality is rolled out to Wannon Water’s main departments – starting with the Knowledge and Technology department where it’s been on test for the past month – Wannon Water expects to significantly improve staff productivity, reduce communications costs by eliminating long-distance charges on its wide area network, reduce mobile phone usage, improve staff mobility, introduce remote training and support, and better comply with legislated customer service levels.
“Initially we put out a public tender to unify our separate communications networks - a result of the merger of three regional water authorities to create Wannon Water – and through the process we discovered the benefits of unified communications and what the technology can do for our organisation,” says John Parker, systems support officer, Wannon Water.
“One of the benefits which we recently discovered is the ability to remotely support staff through the Microsoft Office Communicator client, and even offer limited remote training by being able to control their PCs in the same way,” says Parker. “With more than 150 full-time staff, it all adds up to improved efficiencies and a marked reduction of our carbon footprint through unnecessary travel, which is one of the operational goals of the organisation.”
“The integration of Nortel’s telephony platform with Microsoft’s e-mail, presence, directory and desktop software instantly creates an environment that allows Wannon Water’s staff to see who’s available without picking up a phone, directly from the familiar Microsoft software applications they already use every day,” says Mark Fioretto, general manager, Enterprise Solutions, Australia and New Zealand, Nortel.
“This is particularly relevant as we move towards an era of Hyperconnectivity – where more and more devices are connected to networks by individual users,” says Fioretto. “Staff can now connect and use multiple devices to communicate with each other, conduct real-time audio and video conferencing, and download the information they need from the company network, public extranets and the Web, and all of it can be managed quite easily from a central location.”
“Microsoft’s strategic alliance with Nortel continues to gain momentum in Australia as customers like Wannon Water recognise the significant business benefits and value that can be achieved with unified communications solutions,” said Harold Melnick, senior product marketing manager, Unified Communications, Microsoft Australia. “The alliance remains a key part of our local unified communications strategy, and we expect it will enable us to realise further joint customer wins over the course of 2008, and beyond.”
The Wannon Water solution includes Nortel’s Communication Server 1000 integrated natively with Microsoft Live Communications Server and Office Communications Server. It also includes more than 150 Nortel 2002 and Nortel 2004 IP handsets, and Nortel Business Communication Manager IP PBXs at Wannon Water’s smaller regional offices.
Wannon Water is one of several Innovative Communications Alliance customers announced to date in Australia, including financial services company Austock and construction giant Mirvac.
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