Shift to VoIP in the Cornhusker State
In Nebraska, the capital city of Lincoln and Lancaster County are switching from a traditional telephone system to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) setup that could save hundreds of thousands of dollars annually and will pay for itself in four years. The governments are working with Eagan, Minn.-basedNACR, a technology and communications integration vendor, to make the change. The city council and county board of commissioners voted unanimously to award the contract to NACR, from among seven bidders, following a proposal process.
The company will design and implement a telecom system that uses ethernet cabling and an IP network to switch more than 3,000 users from a legacy system to an Avaya VoIPsystem. As part of the rollout, the company will set up two network operations centers for ongoing monitoring and maintenance support. NACR is a channel partner with hardware provider Avaya.
The traditional phone system being replaced provided basic dial tone and not much else. The VoIP system being installed can reduce costs by routing voice calls over an existing IP network. In addition, the new setup will include voicemail, caller ID and fax functions. The system will support conference calling, instant messaging and video conferencing, and can be integrated with cell phones to provide one-number reach as well as support for mobile-only users. The NACR offering will provide notification capabilities the city and county can use to enhance safety and security, with automatic broadcasting of alerts for tornadoes and other weather emergencies.
“We think this project will accomplish two major goals,” said Steve Henderson, chief information officer for Lincoln and Lancaster. “First, we believe that over time we will realize a significant cost savings compared with our current approach; and second, we believe we’ll see significant productivity gains by virtue of the many features and capabilities available within the new system.”
The shift to VoIP in Lincoln and Lancaster County should be completed within the next few months. In the initial deployment, NACR will implement the core infrastructure across 28 buildings and port more than 3,000 telephone numbers to the new system. The city and county plan to handle deployment to smaller individual sites.
Other local governments that have used NACR to implement VoIP include nearby Sarpy County, Neb., and Miami-Dade County, Fla. The University of Nebraska at Omaha also relied on NACR for its telecom upgrade.