Hydratight Sweeney is struck by the benefits of a converged network infrastructure
Encouraged by the experience of its US-based operations in implementing IP telephony, Hydratight Sweeney has put in place a converged IP infrastructure deployed by BT and based on Nortel Networks' Succession 1000 product.
Part of the Dover Corporation and a leading producer of bolt tightening equipment, Hydratight Sweeney rolled out its new UK IP infrastructure in August 2003 as part of a global programme to combine its voice, video and data networks and modernise its communications systems.
The solution will serve the organisation's two Walsall sites, incorporating Nortel's IP telephones and ethernet switches.
"Our US-based operations have been taking advantage of IP telephony for some time," says Andy Veale, group IS manager for Hydratight Sweeney.
"So we were fully aware of the benefits it could bring to our UK set up. However, our goal was much more than duplicating our US set up; it was also crucial that we achieve complete integration with the existing Hydratight Sweeney networks, located in Denver, Houston, Antigo and Aberdeen."
BT worked closely with Hydratight Sweeney to develop a platform that would cope with the IP upgrade, as well as the company's need for a scalable system that is fully interoperable with its existing global networks.
Dave White, BT technical consultant, explains, "Our goal was to go beyond pre-conceived perceptions of the benefits a converged network could bring. Our focus not only revolved around delivering cost and time economies, but also helping Hydratight Sweeney realise productivity gains via a sophisticated telephony infrastructure."
The two Walsall sites now support 130 IP telephone extensions. However, Hydratight Sweeney is aware its needs will escalate far beyond this as IP is rolled out to other sites.
And Succession 1000 can meet that growing demand. It supports up to 1000 users per call server and up to 10,000 users per system. It also supports a range of advanced IP services. These include Nortel's Call Pilot Unified Messaging - bringing together voice mail, e-mail and faxes to create a "one-stop" shop for personal communications management - and Nortel's Symposium contact centre solution.
The solution also comprises Nortel Ethernet switches, complete with Quality of Service (QoS). QoS enables Hydratight Sweeney to provide flexible queuing priority for delay-sensitive applications such as Voice.
The switches allow Hydratight Sweeney to power a range of devices - at present this extends to IP telephones, but capacity exists for other applications such as wireless LAN's and security systems - and enable data and power to be transmitted over a single cable without the need for individual power outlets.
The devices contribute significantly to the return on investment of the overall deployed solution; a result of more effective power management delivering energy cost savings and increased resilience through the additional power source.
Remote working capabilities
"We achieved cost savings across the whole of the company, and not simply within an IT context. The sheer flexibility of the solution has given us the capability for mobile and SOHO [small office, home office] working. We're now in a position to set up small satellite offices quickly and relatively economically to meet the growing demands of the business," says Veale.
For Hydratight Sweeney, the next step in its IP evolution will involve making all of its worldwide facilities IP compliant.
"Our aim is to have all sites IP enabled over the next two years," says Veale. "The objective is to achieve cost and productivity gains comparable with those already being realised in our West Midlands operations."