News International takes first steps in move to IP telephony

UK media group News International is planning to implement an Internet Protocol (IP) network across its Wapping headquarters.

UK media group News International is planning to implement an Internet Protocol (IP) network across its Wapping headquarters.

The network will provide the backbone for the organisation's planned move to a converged voice and data communications network.

IP networks can help companies reduce costs and increase flexibility by allowing access to both voice and data information from multiple locations.

The News International deal comes at a time when media firms face increasing pressure to cut costs amid a climate of tumbling advertising revenues.

The company, which publishes The Times, Sunday Times, News of The World and The Sun, has signed an agreement with networks provider Avaya for the IP network for Wapping. The deal also includes a new telephony network and contact centre software and services for its entire UK operation.

The implementation, due for completion by March, will allow News International to gradually and cost effectively move to IP telephony, while retaining its existing networking technology. This flexibility is vital, said John Marley, chief technology officer at the company.

"We are convinced that IP telephony can provide benefits of more flexible communications and reduced costs to support our businesses as they continue to grow," he said. "However, we don't have the luxury of placing our activities on hold while we make this transformation."

The IP network will initially be used by 50 staff at the Wapping site on a pilot basis, Marley said. If successful, the network will be rolled out across the UK, enabling closer integration with parent company News Corporation, he said.

During the trial Avaya will be providing its Unified Messenger messaging system, which will allow employees to access voicemail, e-mail and fax messages from a single mailbox, via a standard phone, mobile phone, laptop or personal digital assistant.

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