Insurance underwriters Lloyd's of London expects to save £4m over the next four years by abandoning its private branch exchange-based telephones in favour of IP telephony.
Chris Rawson, head of IT at the underwriters, said the organisation started the project last summer after consulting with BT consulting offshoot Syntegra and Cisco. It has involved replacing a BT FeatureNet telephone system with an IP telephony infrastructure based on Cisco equipment running on Lloyd's existing IP network.
"What amazed us was we could put forward a very compelling business case," said Rawson. "We were really surprised that taking the project in-house could save us £4m over the next four years."
The savings came from terminating an expensive outsourcing contract with BT and combining data networking and telephony staff, added Rawson. In uniting the two teams of staff Paddy Reeves, project manager for Lloyd's, said employees had been lost "though natural wastage".
Over 3,500 telephones and fax lines had been installed by December and the system went live in January. Despite some minor teething troubles the new system has been completely stable since mid-February. Lloyd's finally accepted the network on 11 March this year.
To avoid overloading people with too many features on the new phones, Rawson said, the only extra features available from day one were an embedded directory and integrated voicemail and email. He added that there was little impact on its network from voice traffic.
Reeves said Lloyd's is looking to add other features in the future, such as text-to-speech and speech-to-text applications and telephone and desktop mobility to allow staff to hotdesk. He said such applications would be unthinkable with traditional analogue phones.
Rawson advised anyone thinking of installing an IP telephony network to plan the project carefully and "never underestimate the customer".
"People expect computers to crash but will never, ever accept their telephone not working," he added.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago