VHI opts for IP telephony cure to telecoms ailment


8 Mar 2004

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Health insurance giant VHI Healthcare has entered into a deal with Cisco Systems and HP to have IP telephony deployed across the company’s headquarters and two remote sites.

The solution, deployed at the end of last year, was delivered through Cisco’s alliance with HP in under six weeks. HP Services installed a suite of integrated IP services including voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Cisco CallManager IP private branch exchange (PBX) software and Cisco’s Unity unified voice call.

The centrally located CallManager IP PBX can support 10,000 IP phones. The remote locations get their primary telephony services from the centrally located cluster so as new locations come on stream all they need is a WAN connection to this site.

VHI Healthcare can achieve considerable reductions on the total cost of ownership of this solution over a legacy PBX solution, which traditionally would have required VHI to place PBX’s at each location.

Additional benefits realised by VHI Healthcare include the creation of a common dial plan and the ability to manage the telephony solution centrally. In the event of failure of the WAN connections to the central site the local telephony service is maintained through the deployment of special telephony services running on the router providing the WAN connectivity called SRST (Survivable Remote Site Telephony).

“It was critical for us to work with a technology solution provider that would support our business objectives,” said Pat Lyons, telecommunications manager, VHI Healthcare. “Cisco was the only vendor able to provide a solution that would simplify our overall network topology and provide the IP intelligence that would deliver on the promises of cost, flexibility and integration.”

Lyons continued: “Moving to a new telephony solution from our traditional base was a big step. We are however very pleased we made the move, the savings and flexibility this system provides are already apparent.”

Cisco Ireland’s country manager Michael Galvin said: “All businesses, large and small need an optimised network structure with high operational efficiency and flexibility. By being able to fully take advantage of Cisco’s award-winning IP Telephony suite of products and experience, VHI Healthcare will be able to scale to meet ever changing customer and market requirements in the coming years.”

By John Kennedy