Ford opts for SBC IP phones

SBC is to esign, implement and manage an IP telephony system for more than 50,000 employees at Ford's world headquarters and...

SBC is to design, implement and manage an IP telephony system for more than 50,000 employees at Ford's world headquarters and other facilities.

Ford will own the infrastructure and manage its data network while SBC provides phone services as a managed application, said Brian Buffington, executive director of managed services at SBC. The project is SBC's largest ever IP telephony deployment.

Ford is looking to maximise operating efficiency by installing IP telephony at its main office and 110 other company facilities in Michigan, according to spokeswoman Valerie Rosnik.

The technology simplify the setting up of employee phone accounts when they join the company or move. Most of the sites will be switched to about 90% IP phones, Rosnik said.

Some will run on Wi-Fi wireless Lans, according to Buffington.

The system to be rolled out at Ford over the next three years, based on Cisco equipment, will combine separate networks at Ford into one IP-based infrastructure that carries data, voice and video.

The telephony system will be based on the SBC PremierServ IP Telephony Advantage platform, using Cisco IP Communications and about 50,000 Cisco IP telephones. SBC PremierServ Managed Care engineers will work on-site at Ford facilities

SBC will test the system at a staging centre and consultants from Callisma, an SBC company, will work with Ford to integrate the new system with the company's existing infrastructure.

Ford is already an SBC customer, using the carrier's Centrex centralised call switching service and the SBC GigaMan Service, a point-to-point Ethernet network, among its facilities in Michigan.

Stephen Lawson writes for IDG News Service

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