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MTV wants its VoIP

Adam Turner

While MTV Australia is busy pumping out the tunes, backstage the 'The Playroom Sydney' is using VoIP to ensure the show goes on.

Co-located with MTV in Darlinghurst, The Playroom Sydney is charged with providing the iconic music channel's production systems and network infrastructure. When time came for a technological overhaul, The Playroom Sydney turned to ShoreTel and Sydney systems integrator PTS Communications.

Globally, MTV's parent company Viacom is one of ShoreTel's largest customers with roughly fifteen thousand users. MTV recommended The Playroom Sydney consider ShoreTel and the ShoreTel gear stood up well against the competition, says Paul de Heer - Technical Services Manager with The Playroom Sydney.

The company chose ShoreTel based on advanced features such as the ability to deploy one system over multiple sites and integrate with Outlook as well as its billing system and other unified messaging capabilities.

"From an engineering or reliability point of view, we really liked the fact that the system was designed from the ground up as a VoIP system.

It wasn't like some other systems where they're more the traditional digital systems with IP bolted on to it," de Heer says.

"As quite a large organisation with lots of sites around Sydney and Australia we saw ShoreTel offered a system that would allow us to grow in the future. If we decided to expand to other sites, the systems could talk to each other over IP links and

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we could all use a common directory."

The Playroom Sydney is also deploying a wireless network throughout the premises with the long-term goal of using mobile VoIP to cut phone bills by running calls to and from mobile phones across the wireless network.

"Basically we don't believe in supplying VoIP just for the sake of supplying VoIP," says Nigel Sinclair, PTS Communications' Managing Director.

"Because of the competitive nature of the market, there is no point supplying someone with a VoIP solution if all they want is dial tone. If someone says they want to deploy VoIP just for some cheap phone calls, they aren't being unrealistic because the traditional telcos are more flexible with their pricing these days. However if people start ticking all the boxes and saying they want voicemail, integration with Outlook and other features, this is where ShoreTel comes in on its own. It's easy to deploy, it's simple and it integrates really well."

Another key benefit of the system is The Playroom Sydney's ability to manage the infrastructure itself rather than relying on a third party such as PTS Communications every time it wants to make a change to the system, says Sinclair.

"As new staff members come in, The Playroom Sydney can set it all up themselves without having to rely on any timeframes from us because all the equipment is there," Sinclair says.

"This sort of technology has actually changed our business model quite a bit. Before we had lots of guys driving around in vans, making moves and changes. Whether it's a good thing or bad thing for out business I am not sure, but our involvement with the customer onsite has been reduced dramatically. That's the level of flexibility this kind of technology provides to our customers."