Food manufacturer Heinz is to cut communications network costs by switching to a multi-million pound single voice and data network for its 34 UK and European sites.
A consolidation of Heinz's European operations prompted the decision to move away from a UK-focused voice-based network to an Internet Protocol (IP) network.
Voice-over-IP (VoIP) technology converts voice signals to data in IP format for transmission over an IP network.
But the prospect of choosing the relatively immature VoIP technology was daunting, admitted Isobel Thomson, European service delivery manager at Heinz.
"Never in my wildest dreams did I think we'd go for VoIP," she said. "We sought advice from Gartner about players in the market, but I saw it as a 'manana' [Spanish for tomorrow] product. It was a tough decision as there were few reference sites and we are a manufacturing company, not a technology company."
VoIP will deliver significant savings over the old frame relay European wide area network (Wan), she said.
"I had a feeling I would regret investing in private automatic branch exchange (PABX) technology with a 10-year write-off. So we chose IP with gradual voice and data convergence," she said.
The company has already installed the Cable & Wireless Internet Protocol (IP) technology at three sites, including its European headquarters in London, and will move the remaining sites over the next five years.
C&W will install the network using Cisco for routers, technical support and its Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data (AVVID).
Adoption of VoIP has been hampered by the immaturity of the technology and user concerns over the high costs involved and the poor quality of service.
But analysts say companies should be preparing for the switch from traditional communications networks to VoIP now.
"You should start looking at a five-year plan," said Steve Blood, research director at analyst Gartner.
"Start thinking now about what data, voice and video you will be running. If you add hardware in a piecemeal fashion, it's going to cost you a lot more."
Freshly launched 11nm Qualcomm silicon will come with Adreno 612 GPU
Are pinning down the exact rate of expansion of the Hubble constant
RISC OS 5 to form the basis of RISC OS Open after Castle Technology sells to RISC OS Developments
A smartphone maker fiddling its benchmarking scores? That's unusual, isn't it?