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Cairns City Council Builds Unified Communications Infrastructure

  • 18 October, 2007 09:00

<p>Dimension Data Deploys Microsoft and Cisco Infrastructure to Support Regional City Council’s Strategic Plan</p>
<p>Dimension Data today announced the successful rollout of the first phase of a three-year unified communications project with Cairns City Council (the ‘Council’), a key component of the Council’s ambitious plan to deliver improved services to its growing constituency and become a world-class regional city.</p>
<p>Working with its strategic partner Dimension Data, the Council is deploying a Cisco and Microsoft-based unified communications infrastructure to improve both its internal communications efficiency and deliver superior service to its constituents. The infrastructure will be rolled out over a three-year period to over 1000 users, with a pilot phase involving 30 users currently underway.</p>
<p>Council staff can now contact and collaborate with each other more easily than ever before, saving time and boosting productivity. Staff will also benefit from a unified inbox, creating a single location for all email and voicemails received. Exchange 2007 has also enabled ‘play on phone’, which allows users to access voice messages in their email inbox from a mobile phone, landline or other number.</p>
<p>“Dimension Data has been proactively involved with Cairns City Council since 2001, designing, deploying and supporting our Cisco infrastructure. As a result, Dimension Data has become engaged with our strategic planning and understood the direction we wished to take in deploying a converged infrastructure,” said Dennis Littlewood, Manager, IT Infrastructure, Cairns City Council.</p>
<p>The initial phase of the project has entailed upgrading the Council’s existing Cisco equipment and deploying cornerstone Cisco, Microsoft and Dimension Data technologies for unified communications: Cisco CallManager 5, Microsoft Exchange 2007, Microsoft Identity Integration Server and Dimension Data’s IP telephony – Active Directory (IPAD) Connector. This stage of the engagement is well underway and Council is currently on track to have its new infrastructure in place as planned.</p>
<p>Year one of the project has also seen a number of significant Cisco hardware deployments, including gateway, email and multimedia router upgrades, and a range of different Cisco IP handset models.</p>
<p>The Council’s phone lines have all been re-routed from its existing PABX to the new Cisco IP PABX, with all Council users provisioned in CallManager. Users not involved in the pilot have had their IP phone lines forwarded to their existing handsets, making the upgrade process invisible. The advantage of this approach is that when the full system is rolled out to these users, it will be a simple matter of installing a new Cisco IP handset and switching off the call forwarding. This is expected to take place in stages throughout 2008, once the system has been fully tested and all users trained.</p>
<p>Dimension Data IPAD</p>
<p>IPAD is a unique solution that allows organisations to operate their unified communications applications through a single directory by integrating the Microsoft Active Directory and Cisco CallManager environments. This provides a single point of user administration for functions including replication of user information (including moves, additions, changes and deletions), mapping of data fields between the two systems, and scaling to connect additional directories for a complete identity management system.</p>
<p>“IPAD provides a single interface for user administration for the Council, across the entire Microsoft and Cisco IP telephony solution,” said Mr Littlewood.</p>
<p>Future Phases</p>
<p>The next phase for the Council is the implementation of Cisco Unified Contact Centre (IPCC), which will enable IVR functionality and intelligent call routing for the Central Customer Service Centre, Council’s IT service desk and the Civic Theatre’s box office (which is run by the Council). It will also enable advanced functionality including click-to-call and desktop videoconferencing. The system’s ability to route calls to the right staff member means call handling can be tailored to different classes of customers (down to the individual level). Calls can be moved in the queue and skill groups used to define which agents have the required knowledge to deal with a customer’s query quickly and efficiently.</p>
<p>The move from legacy equipment to a converged network has brought a raft of less tangible benefits, like improved fault tolerance, the ability to federate with other councils if desired, and a range of possible future upgrades that can quickly and easily be deployed to meet future needs, including wireless connectivity, and Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 for instant messaging and presence.</p>
<p>“We’ve been very happy with the improvements to our telephony environment; we’re now looking at upgrading our Contact Centre as well. We’ve upgraded our infrastructure to the latest Cisco IP network, so the back-end work has been done,” Mr Littlewood notes.</p>
<p>“Now, when we want to add new applications or capabilities, we’ve got a platform that will accommodate them.”</p>
<p>About Dimension Data</p>
<p>Dimension Data plc (LSE:DDT), a specialist IT services and solution provider, helps clients plan, build, support and manage their IT infrastructures. Dimension Data applies its expertise in networking, security, operating environments, storage and contact centre technologies and its unique skills in consulting, integration and managed services to create customised client solutions.</p>
<p>About Cairns City Council</p>
<p>Cairns City Council was created in 1995 as a result of the amalgamation of the existing Cairns City Council and Mulgrave Shire Council. It has three key areas of responsibility. Firstly, it must deliver services and infrastructure, in partnership with the community, governments and the private sector; secondly, it must encourage and facilitate economic, social and cultural development; and thirdly, it must ensure all its operations are sustainable – environmentally, economically and socially.</p>
<p>For further information:</p>
<p>Helen Han</p>
<p>Dimension Data</p>
<p>Tel: 02 8249 5684</p>

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