Lighting supplier leaves bad weather behind with VoIP deployment

It didn't rain, it poured for The Production Shop

Queensland-based audio and lighting equipment supplier, The Production Shop, admits it had a voice and data network that was about as predictable as the weather.

It's PABX was "horrendously unreliable" and it was running on an unmanaged LAN with an erratic broadband connection that went down whenever it rained.

Production Shop manager, Graeme Hicks, said such inefficiency had turned into a costly burden for the organization which is why it made the decision to look at VoIP as a viable option.

"The nature of the work we do means we make a great deal of interstate and international calls; the cost savings we could get with the VoIP package would pay for the new system within 12 months," he said.

"But as it turns out, it will pay for itself much sooner, probably in about eight months."

The company has installed a Linksys One integrated VoIP system which includes the SVR3000 services router with 16-port 10/100Mbps Power over Ethernet (PoE) LAN switching, handsets and the Cisco 877-K9 ADSL integrated services router for voice and data services.

The system allows a small to midsized company to have enterprise class communications which requires only one private IP network connection for all services.

For example, the Production Shop has telephones, data networking, applications and the Internet through one high speed connection, from one provider.

Hicks said staff can work from home with full functionality, as if they were working from the office.

"It is virtually like an exchange line at home and we expect additional benefits when we integrate the phone system with our CRM application," he said.

"It will streamline and give more depth to our contact management, and enable us to keep better track of customers and sales. It will also link in quite well with our accounting package."

According to a 2007 survey by consulting firm BT INS, VoIP deployments are soaring, but enterprises still have a hard time justifying costs to upper management.

The research found 62 percent of respondents either have deployed or are in the process of deploying VOIP across their networks -- up from 44 percent in 2005. Another 18 percent are designing or testing VOIP deployments for limited network segments.

However, cost is becoming a more significant barrier to adopting VOIP, the survey found.

In 2005, justifying costs to upper management ranked fifth among a list of 15 possible barriers to adoption. This year, that worry rose to the top of the list, with 46 percent saying it was a significant barrier.

Cost justification shared the top spot with technical integration issues, which also was cited by 46 percent of respondents as a significant barrier.

BT INS surveyed 157 IT professionals from organizations that varied in size. For example, 28 percent have less than 100 employees, 20 percent have 100 to 999 employees, 19 percent have 1,000 to 9,999 employees, and 33 percent have 10,000 employees or more.

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