Northamptonshire Enterprise, a group of economic development agencies, has implemented a converged IP network to connect its office-based and remote users and allow a centralised IT department to manage several business-critical applications from one place.
The applications include IP telephony and e-mail, as well as customer-facing web-based services such as location profiling tools, commercial property search tools and interactive maps.
Northamptonshire Enterprise was formed last month to offer a single point of information for businesses operating in, or looking to invest in, Northamptonshire.
Before the group's creation the same information could only be accessed by contacting five separate local government departments. Now the agencies have relocated their employees to one central building and have consolidated five separate IT infrastructures.
The new infrastructure is technically more complex than a traditional network, but Northamptonshire Enterprise said that convergence had provided it with greater functionality and security.
For example, staff can access data remotely and the organisation can use virtual local area networks to segment network traffic into internal and visitor streams so that business-critical communications can be prioritised and secured.
Traffic can be routed across IP, ISDN or DSL connections depending on requirements, and the IP telephony system, Cisco Call Manager Express, is integrated with Microsoft Outlook so that calls are automatically routed to voicemail if the recipient's Outlook calendar shows they have a live appointment.Comment on this article: firstname.lastname@example.org
This was first published in November 2006