Lloyd's Register is introducing a new secure global communications infrastructure to improve access to corporate applications for remote workers around the globe.
The 244 year-old marine, energy and transportation risk management company has installed Infonet's MPLS-based IP virtual private network (IP VPN) across more than 50 European, Asian, Australian and US sites.
More than 5,000 employees now have access to e-business applications and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems from wherever they are around the world.
An IP wide area network will also allow Lloyd's Register to reduce telephony and travel costs by introducing video and voice over IP applications in the near future, explained Philip Young, commercial manager for IT services at the company.
Lloyd's Register is replacing its frame relay network with the IP VPN so that staff working in remote offices or on the move will be able to access Microsoft Directory and Exchange and other legacy applications more easily.
Improved bandwidth and secure connectivity also mean that employees will be able to access the firm's JD Edwards ERP enterprise applications.
"It will improve productivity in our financial and administration systems and allow ship surveyors to access databases and submit their reports from wherever they are around the world," said Young.
Lloyd's Register is also using Infonet's MobileXpress secure mobile computing application so that surveyors and assurers can access information from outside the office.
"Forty per cent of our users are remote and connect by some means other than fixed line," said Young. "Remote working is something we have been doing for about 240 years and fortunately the technology is catching up with us now."
He predicted that, despite only a marginal rise in cost, the new technology will increase the company's bandwidth capacity tenfold, putting it in a position to introduce new web-based services when needed.
"If we wanted to shift our data centre then we could do that very easily with this new network," said Young.
The firm has also just begun a trial of voice over IP using a network from Infonet Services, and is looking to implement video over IP using Polycom's video conferencing equipment in Asia and between its London and Hong Kong offices.
"We have put in an order for the Asian region and we hope that video over IP will cut down on travel costs and time," said Young.
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