Toyota cuts call costs with VOIP in Australia

Toyota Material Handling (TMH) has cut telco costs by replacing a 10-year-old PABX system with VOIP and leveraging its existing WAN.

It follows a year-long search to find an alternative to its A$14,000 (US$10,788) worth of ISDN inter-office line charges and thousands of phone calls placed between sites.

The 100-user VOIP system TMH selected connects its main Adelaide office with two Melbourne sites and mobile staff and also allows existing analogue handsets to operate, which is necessary to communicate with financial institutions.

TMH network and systems manager Simon Hoby selected a Nortel solution because it accommodated the legacy analogue system.

“[The VOIP system] give us flexibility to connect the older PCs to dial-up modems; this is necessary to communicate with banks and other institutions still stuck on dial-up. We use our core network infrastructure to route IP telephony calls between branches and mobile workers, ” Hoby said.

“We can also use the system for local call hop-offs, meaning calls that are placed between Adelaide and Melbourne are always charged at a local rate, even though they’re interstate.”

Hoby said the company sought a new phone system that could accommodate growth.

“We spent about a year looking at different solutions that would complement our existing network model; we needed to communicate seamlessly across our branch network which meant staying constantly in touch without driving call costs through the roof,” he said.

The solution uses three Business Communication Manager (BCM) 400s at each site and Nortel IP handsets for desktop users. Nortel gigabit switches were installed at the Adelaide branch to provide Power over Ethernet for the handsets, while voicemail and unified messaging have been integrated into the platform.

Nortel Australia and New Zealand enterprise networks general manager Nick Avakian said the ability to maintain legacy systems can be crucial to business.

“Companies looking to migrate their older telephone systems to IP telephony often need a step-up to the new technology without sacrificing any of the features or writing off their investments in analogue handsets,” Avakian said, adding that scalability was another important feature.

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