How to compete with national telephony providers?
As a recent case study of Swedish public utilities company Mariestad Töreboda Energy AB (MTEAB) illustrates, this was an important question they faced when developing their telephony services in the late 1990s. Servicing the municipalities of Mariestad and Töreboda, MTEAB already offered electricity and district heating when it began looking into offering internet and telephony services. But how to future-proof its operation, be able to offer its customers a flexible network that best met needs--and also compete with the national networks?
The company turned to Alcatel-Lucent for answers.
“It was obvious from the start that Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) was the only platform that could deliver what we needed,” according to Fredrik Beckman, head of IT for the Swedish utility.
The Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Enterprise platform fit the bill for providing a full complement of IP telephony solutions, according to the case study for the implementation of what is known as MTEAB telephony services. The setup supports:
- 765 Remote extensions
- 1024 analog lines and 34 IP phones
- 500 voicemail licenses are offered to customers
- System management is taken care of by Alcatel-Lucent OmniVista 4760 Network Management System.
Within the organization, handsets include Alcatel-Lucent OmniTouch 8082 My Instant Communicator Phones and Alcatel-Lucent 4980 PC Telephony Application or ‘Softphones’. The Tellus information system and operator console for the Alcatel-Lucent solution are provided by the Alcatel-Lucent Application Partner SourceTech. Currently, 115 local companies are using the platform, ranging from two to 1,000 extensions each.
Part of what gives MTEAB an edge is that they can offer a level of customized telephony services that other providers just cannot match. “We’re willing to sit down and talk, no matter how small the company is, and create a solution to fit,” said Beckman in the case study. The flexibility of the Alcatel-Lucent setup allows such customization. “It’s one of the key features of the Alcatel-Lucent solution, that business users can perceive the solution as being their own,” noted Beckman. The Alcatel-Lucent solution “allows us to accommodate almost every single need, that’s something that differentiates us from the big national operators.”
The telephony services infrastructure in place for MTEAB also offers a high degree of flexibility, making it able to evolve as the needs of the utility’s customers change.
MTEAB is currently working on introducing a Skype (News - Alert)-like service that leverages Alcatel-Lucent 4980 Softphones running over the Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX Enterprise, in addition to a new call center solution, the case study reports. BYOD also will force MTEAB to evolve.
“What we have is a totally new breed of employee,” noted Beckman. “This generation enters the workplace having already spent 10,000 hours in front of a screen. They’re not interested in platforms, they want solutions. We need a partner that helps us meet these challenges.”
Edited by Peter Bernstein