IP Telephony Deployment

Special report on IP telephony deployment at Bathurst's Mount Panorama Motor Race and on multi-platform submersible oil rigs.

When it comes to speed and agility, IP telephony is proving to be a winner across a range of industries. This special report looks at an IP deployment, which beats not only distance but the harshest of weather conditions as it connects five, fully submersible oil rigs to home base. Closer to home, a second case study examines a speedy IP deployment at Bathurst's Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit where agility is important both on and off the track.

Stena Drilling has just completed stage one of a global IP rollout across its five rigs and satellite offices throughout Australia, Asia and Africa.

Stage one involved the deployment of IP infrastructure at its Aberdeen headquarters in Scotland to enable central administration of communications to oil rigs across the globe.

The upgrade is also part of a move away from a managed services solution to bring telecomms management back in-house.

The provider just couldn't meet the changing demands of the business, a Stena spokesman said, which led to the installation of Mitel's IP comms platform with IP-Dect handsets.

The new infrastructure allows Stena Drilling to not only deliver wireless communications to its oil rigs, but improve business processes. Sharon McLaughlin, IT manager, at Stena Drilling, said the company struggled for months with the old PABX system, which lacked flexibility.

"Our drilling rigs frequently move and we need a system that allows us to adapt our telephony systems quickly and easily," she said.

"Previously we were constrained by our traditional system and often found ourselves waiting days for an engineer to re-program headsets and telephone ports, which is neither cost-effective or time efficient."

McLaughlin said the company was also frustrated because the previous system didn't support a recent investment in videoconferencing equipment.

"We now have the flexibility to make moves, adds and changes ourselves and can integrate new applications quickly and easily," she said.

The ultimate goal is to implement the company's mobile working program and reduce cost and time spent on external engineers.

Mobile working will enable senior managers who frequently travel between sites and work from home, to benefit from IP by providing them with the same functionality whether they are at home or in the office.

In the next six months, IP wireless phones will be rolled out to Stella Drilling's five fully submersible rigs as well as its new mobile rig - Drill Max.

As well as implementing a global comms network that is more cost-effective, the company can improve internal communications with its Aberdeen, Scotland, headquarters.

Daily communications by Stena include health and safety briefings and information on purchasing.

McLaughlin said the implementation, which will be completed early next year, is being undertaken by Nessco Ltd.

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