SpliceCom’s maximiser Is Cleared For Take Off

SpliceCom, the IP convergence company has announced that Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) has deployed maximiser as a single, airport wide telephone system that will grow with the business to 10,000 extensions by 2015 and to 40,000 extensions by 2025.

Since the privatisation of Brisbane Airport in 1997, it has grown from a government owned entity to a stakeholder focussed and commercially driven company, widely respected for its vision. Winner of the coveted IATA “Golden Eagle” Award for the World’s Best Privatised Airport in 2005, which recognises its efficiency of operation and service to the community, Brisbane Airport is operated and developed by Brisbane Airport Corporation Pty Limited (BAC).

With 130 businesses and more than 16,000 people already working at Brisbane Airport every day, BAC has committed around $2.2 billion towards new infrastructure over the next 10 years. This includes a new parallel runway, new terminals, new roads and the development of aviation related industry precincts. BAC expects the new expanded airport to support a workforce in excess of 40,000 people by 2025.

“The BAC corporate philosophy is ‘Make The Most Of Life.’ Our mission is to achieve this objective for our employees, our customers and our partners,” says Duncan Murphy, IT Manager for BAC. “With both this and our major capital projects in mind, communication takes on an even greater level of importance. Key to our success will be the provision of a communications infrastructure that will grow with us over the lifetime of these projects.”

The Need To Change

BAC had previously standardised on an NEC PBX whenever they needed a telephone system. However, as Duncan explained, “The NEC phone system we used is a traditional PBX. We began to find it expensive and not particularly flexible, especially when compared to the newer IP based telephone systems that were beginning to appear on the market. We wanted more control over the system and we needed to be able to deliver higher functionality and better services to our tenants in a more cost-effective manner.”

BAC started their search for a replacement telephone system in 2004. They were looking for a system that started small, yet could scale to 10,000 extensions and beyond to meet their expansion plans. A system that would provide BAC with the infrastructure required to deliver the features and functionality demanded by their tenants. A system that would provide them with investment protection as new communications technologies emerged and became both desirable and affordable. As Duncan Murphy summed it up, “We wanted a communications system that would grow with us, provide a first class infrastructure for our employees and tenants and in doing so give us the opportunity to attract more tenants.”

The platform BAC eventually selected to go forward with was SpliceCom’s maximiser Pure IP Unified Communications system. “We chose maximiser because it provides all the advanced functionality we required at an affordable price. Its modularity makes it highly scalable, being cost-effective under 100 extensions but with the capability of growing to 10,000 extensions – which we anticipate reaching by 2015 – and beyond after that. As a major plus, maximiser also provided us with flexibility to offer a variety of solutions to those tenants with special needs and requirements,” stated Mr. Murphy.

System Migration And Replacement

BAC has been able to roll out the maximiser system on a gradual basis, as requirements and budgets allow. Support for trunk “grooming” allowed maximiser to sit in front of the existing NEC PBXs and route the incoming calls where required. If the call was to an extension on the NEC system then it is passed through, if it is on the maximiser network then it is directed to the relevant extension. As more maximiser system components were installed, BAC was able to decommission the NEC PBXs. At the time of writing there are some 800 maximiser users serviced by 4 Call Servers, 7 Trunk Modules and 26 Phone Modules. maximiser’s distributed architecture allows BAC to locate each of these modules exactly where its needed. This has greatly reduced cabling costs and removed the need to re-locate trunk services. Voicemail is provided by the integral SpliceCom Voice Processing system, which also offers auto attendant and IVR facilities, whilst Call Management and Accounting is handled by SpliceLog.

“The roll-out to date has been extremely trouble free,” stated Duncan Murphy. For instance, we handle around 12,000 (peaking at 17,000) calls and EFTPOS transactions per day, which would be major test for any system. maximiser handles this with ease. Our staff have benefited from the system being easy to deploy, a result of which has been minimal disruption during the initial commissioning process and the ongoing rollout. The day-to-day running of maximiser has also proven hassle free.”

Utilising maximiser’s Flexibility

SpliceCom’s flexibility has also greatly assisted BAC in two other areas. “We wanted the airport’s payphones and emergency phones in lifts to be part of our unified telephone system,” said Murphy. “SpliceCom worked with us to develop the code to allow the payphones to be connected to maximiser. In addition, the emergency lift phones would only operate as stand alone devices until we had installed maximiser. By directly supporting both sets of devices on maximiser we have eliminated the need for duplicate systems and greatly reduced the cost and complexity of our communications infrastructure.”

Although maximiser is a Pure IP platform, SpliceCom acknowledge that not everyone wants, or needs, an IP phone on the desktop. maximiser’s ongoing support for the large installed base of analogue handsets allows large systems to be deployed in a very cost-effective manner. Furthermore, those using these phones can still enjoy all of the advanced system features associated with SpliceCom’s top of the range IP Phones by using their analogue phone in conjunction with PCS 60 & PCS 50, personal productivity applications that run on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux PCs. The majority of the phones currently installed on maximiser at Brisbane Airport are analogue phones.

BAC has also started to exploit maximiser’s Open Systems architecture, which allows the system to be customised to deliver bespoke services and applications. BAC has written some PHP code which allows their security division to use SpliceCom’s PCS 50 “Phone Partner” application to automatically generate a conference call in the event of an emergency. PHP is a standards based, server side scripting language. As Duncan Murphy explains, “This is our first delivery of a simple, but extremely effective, bespoke application for maximiser. Having done so we’re beginning to see many other opportunities where we can use this functionality in the future.”

“Whilst we’re talking about the future, our major expansion projects will result in more office complexes, hotels, convention centres and other multi function developments,” continues Murphy. “This is why we expect to require in excess of 10,000 extensions from our communication system by 2015 and 40,000 extensions by 2025. We feel confident that maximiser has the flexibility and functionality to address all these requirements as they arise.”

Creating Shareholder Value

The major determining factors driving the expansion of Brisbane Airport are; the growth of South East Queensland, the arrival of larger aircraft designs and availability of industrial land in the Brisbane Central Business District. Delivering services to tenants is seen to play an important role in BAC’s customer relations. maximiser’s flexibility is providing BAC with the opportunity to mould the communications infrastructure to suit their tenant’s requirements, whilst providing the best possible return. Ease-of-communication is becoming increasingly important and maximiser’s integration with company wide, enterprise solutions has allowed it to meet all of the business challenges it has been presented with. As such, maximiser’s functionality, combined with its ease of use, has already been seen to produce a good return on investment for BAC’s shareholders.

“For BAC, almost four years after its initial installation, SpliceCom’s maximiser Unified Communications system continues to tick all the boxes. At first it was the system’s scalability that attracted us. But as we have used maximiser more and more we have a growing confidence that it will be able to address all our communications needs and just as importantly the diverse requirements of our present and future tenants. maximiser is an integral part of our expansion plans,” concluded Mr. Murphy.

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