Vic Govt rolls out $7.6m comms convergence project

Dimension Data Australia has begun the rollout of a $7.6 million dollar project with technology providers, Cisco Systems, IBS Audio Visual and Technology Ideas, to build and maintain a new converged network to support voice, video and data for the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment (NRE).

The project puts the department at the forefront of Victorian departments in the use of convergence.

The contract involves the design, supply, integration and management of an IP video and audio conferencing, e-collaboration and content delivery network, connecting more than 100 of the department's sites throughout Victoria.

The project, known as NREach-out, will solve the tyranny of distance and create equality in information access for regional NRE offices. Scheduled for completion in 2002, the system will link 108 offices and facilities across the state, NRE project manager Andrew Paynter said.

Dimension Data Australia managing director Steve Nola said the network will offer Tandberg IP videoconferencing to 30 sites, with 40 sites able to access video streaming. All 108 sites will be able to use the e-collaboration facilities as well as being able to dial in to and listen to the videoconferences.

The core networking foundation is built on Cisco Systems Architecture for Voice Video and Integrated Data (AVVID), which will give flexibility to offer fully converged applications including IP Telephony.

Cisco Systems will provide core routing and Catalyst switching. Its end-to-end content delivery network (CDN) is a component of the project for information delivery and reduced carrier costs.

The system will support point-to-point and multipoint IP videoconferencing through the use of the Tandberg IP VideoConferencing end-points and the Cisco 3540 Multipoint Conference Unit (MCU) system that supports up to 50 users in a single conference. The videoconferencing will run on NRE's upgraded, fixed-price VicOne IP Data network provided by AAPT and carried throughout using Cisco Multicast IP support. The conferences can also be recorded and digitised content can be distributed to remote sites for on-demand viewing through the Cisco Content delivery network solution.

Voice conferencing is based on the same unit used for videoconferencing and allows audio-only access to the videoconferences, or voice conferencing only. It is available to anyone using a telephone, including mobiles, and it can support up to 150 users in a secure environment over the public switch telephone network (PTSN) or through a 1-800 number.

The core of the e-collaboration system is the Lotus Sametime application that offers several collaborative functions including a T.120 server that provides whiteboard, chat and videoconferencing functions, creating virtual meeting places.

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