Cambridgeshire County Council has awarded Avaya a seven-figure contract to supply a converged IP network for its 4,000 workers. The network should save the council £1.2m over the next two years.
The council's IT technical architect, Alan Shields, said the existing telephone network is a managed service, provided by NTL, called Centrex. However, the contract is due to run out and the council wanted to take the opportunity to upgrade its phone system.
Savings will mostly be made because the council won't have to maintain two networks for voice and data. Under the banner of a project called 'WorkWise', the county is simultaneously reducing its building portfolio and introducing hotdesking at a ratio of seven desks for every 10 people. Workers with IP phones will be able to pick up their voice messages from any device with access to the network and Microsoft Outlook.
Shields said: "We needed to move away from a system where we had fixed telecommunications to where people could log on anywhere on the system. VoIP gives us the ability to operate number portability. Key to us is the potential for unified messaging. All of this will allow council workers to adopt greater flexible working."
According to Shields, the Avaya system called Communication Manager, works with an application that gives workers a greater awareness of their colleagues' availability.
This will give people a greater choice about how they want to be contacted through the day, he said.