Upgrade path leads to VoIP


When insolvency specialist Ferrier Hodgson relocated to offices in central Sydney, a refresh of its ageing PBX system to voice over IP seemed like the right call. For years, the company had leased a PABX system. Ferrier's IT manager, Mustafa Mohabbat, felt that it was time to make the transition to a leading-edge IP telephony technology platform.

"VoIP is the way telephony is heading - I didn't simply want to relocate the old system, which was coming to the end of its lease. We felt it would be more cost effective to move to a VoIP phone system as part of our new office systems," said Mohabbat. "The most compelling issue for me was our need for a system that offered an upgrade path for the future."

Following an intensive review and demonstrations of IP telephony systems, with the help of integration specialist, PTS Communications, the company selected ShoreTel. Nigel Sinclair, PTS Communications director, said that Ferrier's main concern in moving to an IP solution was voice quality.

"The audio quality of the ShoreTel system during the demonstration was a standout," Sinclair said.

The selected solution included a ShoreGear-E1, which interfaces over an ISDN network to its service provider Primus, and two ShoreGear-120 switches, which are capable of supporting up to 240 IP phones. ShoreTel 560 and 230 handsets were also rolled out to 105 users at its new offices.

Ferrier Hodgson has a fleet of 'roaming' staff who often work with clients

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externally. "One of the primary reasons to move to VoIP was the ability to roll out the solution across several sites in the future and have the capability to establish phone connections for staff when they were working off site," said Mohabbat.

"If for any reason our staff need to establish a site elsewhere, the system allows them to create a connection back to the head office here and have their own phone extension up and running within seconds," Mohabbat said.

"Employees can answer and transfer calls as if they were at their desks," Mohabbat says. "Also, you can set users up at different sites and use VPN links that are already in place.

Deploying the ShoreTel system was as easy as simply placing handsets on desks, connecting them, doing a bit of configuration and up it went. The hardest thing is typing people's names into the system," Mohabbat said. "Compared with a traditional PABX, implementation was a cinch. It was a matter of plugging in the ShoreTel system, turning it on and away it went."

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