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Listed building implements VoIP technology

Antony Savvas

It is difficult for Grade One listed buildings to adopt new communications technology because of English Heritage guidelines. But Chandos House, the 18th century London home of the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM), has still managed to implement a new converged voice over IP (VoIP) and data system to cut its communications costs.

As the building acts as both a hotel for RSM members and a public conference venue, up-to-date communications facilities were a must.

Any networking infrastructure resulting from the installation needed to remain invisible to the eye, and any terminals or end user equipment had to remain unobtrusive, so as not to detract from the 18th century ambience of the building.

Installed by integrator Scalable Networks, the system now sees 18th century opulence combined with 21st century technology.

Each room is equipped with fully featured VoIP telephony and broadband internet access, upon which venue and city information services are available, as is access to the RSM members extranet and library.

A Gigabit Ethernet backbone was installed to support the IP appliance in each room, and a thin client SSL VPN introduced to enable hotel staff access to the required desktop applications, and connectivity to the extranet for members.

Connected via a 10mbps link to the RSM headquarters elsewhere in central London, all the communications at Chandos House are managed from headquarters. 

Tansy Cork, ICT Manager at the RSM, said, “Budget limitations meant that it was vital that all our operations could continue to be centrally managed from our ICT suite at headquarters, so the VPN software was perfect. It also means we have the potential to offer
remote access in the future.”

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