New technology improves productivity and resilience

Scenic Rim Regional Council has recently undertaken an extensive technology upgrade in the field of telephony and data communications.

Spurred on by the fact that its existing Nortel PABX telephone system was approaching end-of-life, Council has embraced Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to improve its productivity, resilience and cost effectiveness.

Utilising fibre connectivity to the internet, Council is now saving approximately 40 percent on call costs from previous ISDN-based technology.

In addition, network resilience is improved.

Until recently, when a fault occurred in the ISDN infrastructure all incoming and outgoing phone calls failed and had to be manually routed to a secondary service at significant cost.

Now, if there is a failure on the fibre connection, calls can be routed through a secondary

Council administration centre and connected as normal.

Internally, multiple routes are provided to ensure network reliability.

Call resilience also extends to Council’s SIP trunking provider who can route the calls through their Gold Coast or Brisbane data centres.

Savings will also be extended when the ISDN infrastructure is decommissioned in the
near future.

Within Council itself, technology improvements are boosting productivity.

By adopting Microsoft’s Lync Server and client, council staff may now interact and collaborate in new and exciting ways.

Staff may set up their own conference calls and share desktops to improve communications.

External contacts such as suppliers who also utilise Lync can be made ‘part’ of the network.

There are now a number of ways to ensure that calls are not missed through Response Groups, Team Call Groups, delegates and voicemail.

Lync is tightly coupled with Microsoft Outlook so that all users now have an integrated and robust communications system.

To improve internal communications between administration sites in Beaudesert and Boonah, Council has also installed a microwave link between the sites over a number of hops.

As the microwave link is registered and ‘owns’ the frequency, little if any, interference is being experienced.

In the event of heavy rain, the microwave will cycle through lower bandwidths until it has a stable connection, cycling back up to maximum when able.

This has boosted the bandwidth available between sites to 100Mbps and has improved productivity at Boonah significantly.

In the Beaudesert area, licence-free microwave links over short distances provide connectivity to local sites providing ongoing savings compared to existing DSL connections.