Isuzu moves to IP contact centre

Truck manufacturer Isuzu-General Motors Australia (Isuzu) is taking a two-step approach to VoIP by interfacing IP telephony and PABX products from different vendors for a new contact centre.

It is anticipated that Isuzu's entire Melbourne office will be migrated to IP telephony over the next three years.

David Quinn, an independent call centre consultant working on the Zultys implementation at Isuzu, said IP telephony was chosen to meet the growing needs of the business.

"The PABX wasn't going to provide the functionality Isuzu needed and Zultys was chosen because it's not a complicated solution," Quinn said.

Quinn said it is Isuzu's long-term plan is to migrate to VoIP for some 70 staff throughout its Melbourne office.

So far, only eight IP handsets are being used but the Zultys MX250 VoIP gateway is expected to serve more end users as needed.

Quinn said with Isuzu having zone, or branch, offices in each state, a head office in Japan, and many dealerships, the possibility exists to bring those into the IP telephony network.

Isuzu was invited to comment on the implementation but declined.

Tony Warhurst, Zultys business development manager, said the Isuzu case is a good example of migrating to VoIP by interfacing with both the carrier and PABX.

"The company looked at upgrading [the PABX] to IP-enable it for the call centre [but] adding the cost was very prohibitive, it was just not worth while doing," Warhurst said.

"[Isuzu] bought our system [the MX250] and put it in front on the NEC, uplugged the E1 that is going into Telstra, and plugged it into one of our E1 ports. We then go from our second E1 port into Telstra and Isuzu puts the IP handsets off our system. We are sitting smack bang in the middle."

Warhurst said there are eight to 10 deployments of this type in Australia, where a VoIP gateway interfaces with a PABX, and described it as "a really good migration path for people."

"Calls come in, hit our box, and if it's not for our IP handsets we forward it straight on to the NEC and the NEC still 'thinks' its coming from Telstra," he said, adding that calls then get dispersed and the phones ring normally. "If [calls] transfer to an IP phone [the NEC] sends it back to us and we say 'that's for an IP phone'."

Warhurst said calls can "talk between NEC and IP", but if a call is made and is not for an internal extension it gets sent straight out to Telstra which sees it as coming from the PABX.

"Within the next 12 to 18 months nobody will be on that NEC because they are canceling the maintenance contract on it so as things break they are just buying licences and everyone will be on the 250," he said.

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