Lloyd's to save £4m with VoIP network

Lloyd's of London has brought telephony provision back in-house using Voice over IP (VoIP) technology and expects a £4m saving...

Lloyd's of London has brought telephony provision back in-house using Voice over IP (VoIP) technology and expects a £4m saving over four years on its £1.4m investment.

The insurance market decided to return to in-house telephony provision when its long-term BT Featurenet contract came up for renewal in a move which signals that VoIP is becoming a more mainstream business technology.

Implementation of its own VoIP network was chosen from a range of options for consideration as the BT contract drew to a close.

Chris Rawson, head of IT at Lloyd's, said, "VoIP was one option among many. The technology had reached the stage where it was considered robust enough for this type of application and our adoption of it was based on the decision that we could manage the infrastructure ourselves and buy call time at low tariffs. That is where we expect most of the savings.

"The rest will come from the efficiencies gained by doing away with separate voice and data infrastructures," said Rawson.

VoIP is increasingly being used for corporate telecommunications. Using the technology, voice information is encoded into packets traditionally used for data traffic.

The advantages are that both voice and data can travel along one network and management tasks are simplified.

The insurance market implementation took four months to complete and was carried out on an incremental basis with a deadline enforced by the end of the existing contract in December.

Cisco supplied the equipment and BT Syntegra carried out the implementation work.

"Telephony is the lifeblood of an organisation like Lloyd's so it was not a task we could take lightly. It had to be designed carefully and implemented incrementally to minimise disruption. It was a major piece of work - a complete telephone system - which came in on time and on budget," said Rawson.

He said that now the basis for an integrated telephone and data system was in place the organisation planned to develop further applications which linked the desktop and voice functions.

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