VAR Capitalizes On Municipality Department Move
A VAR beats out nine competitors to win a 250-employee VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) installation.
There are three events that signal your customer is in the market for a VoIP solution: 1.) The customer’s TDM (time division multiplex) PBX (private branch exchange) lease expires within the next 12 months, 2.) your customer is moving to a new location or opening a new office, or 3.) your customer’s voice platform is no longer supported by the manufacturer. Systems integrator and 3Com Focus Gold partner CBE Technologies found its opportunity to sell VoIP after discovering its customer, the city of Keene, NH, was looking for new facilities for its public works and police departments. But, even though the municipality had been a customer of CBE Technologies for several years, the systems integrator had to compete against nine other VARs/systems integrators for the job. “The customer was most impressed by our demonstration, which we were able to set up at their office,” recalls Sean Kelley, VP of IP communications at CBE Technologies. “We used the 3Com NBX V3000 IP telephony system, which included a PBX and a few phones, for our demonstration.” According to Kelley, some of his competitors’ solutions required multiple hardware appliances and required the municipality to visit the VAR’s lab because it would have taken too long to set up on-site. Another factor that gave CBE Technologies an edge over its competitors was the ease of use of the 3Com solution. “The 3Com NBX V3000 solution uses a Web-based interface that enables call tracking, auto attendant changes, and MACs [moves, adds, and changes] with a few mouse clicks,” says Kelley. “Some of our competitors’ solutions are built on legacy platforms and require a lot of training to navigate.”
Security, Services Make VoIP Successful
After winning the assignment from the city of Keene, CBE Technologies performed an assessment of each of the municipality’s 12 buildings and network infrastructure so that eventually the entire municipality could replace its disparate TDM PBXs with a single VoIP solution. “Because the city already had fiber optic cabling in place, the only network upgrade needed was to hook up PoE [power over Ethernet] switches so the phones could be powered without requiring electrical outlets,” says Kelley. “We also added VLANs [virtual LANs] and protocol filtering to the solution to ensure network security.” One other security feature the systems integrator built into the solution was redundancy via backup call processors in the network closet so that if the primary PBX server went down, the disk drives could be removed and plugged into the backup server.
The implementation for the two facilities was completed within two months. One of the biggest challenges Kelley recalls was connecting the 3Com phone system with the police department’s breathalyzer calibration equipment. “The breathalyzer equipment is calibrated off-site via the phone line,” says Kelley. “We had to create a special software interface that would translate the information from the equipment into IP packets.”
Currently, CBE Technologies has 94 employees at the public works and police facilities set up on the VoIP network. Within the next two years, 250 municipality employees will be upgraded from traditional PBX phone systems to the IP PBX phone system. Even before the entire rollout is complete, CBE Technologies has been able to use the city of Keene as a reference for other municipalities. The systems integrator has 20 new municipality installs in the works for 2006, which represents 200% sales revenue growth within this market.