Australian banking group Westpac has contracted with Telstra for the deployment of an Internet Protocol (IP) telephony infrastructure, connecting more than 30,000 handsets at 1000 locations by December 2004. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.
Telstra's newly-launched IP telephony service allows clients to combine voice and data networks, either by installing a new IP infrastructure or using existing communications equipment.
Paul Geason, data solutions and sales managing director at Telstra, says the IP telephony technology can be integrated with existing handsets and PBX equipment, which helps reduce the costs of maintaining separate communications networks. The system also allows customers to use compatible equipment from a range of vendors rather than a single technology provider.
Gleason says more businesses are looking to use IP telephony not just as a way to make cheap voice calls but as a tool to reduce the cost associated with managing separate communications networks.
"The Westpac agreement shows IP telephony is recognised as bringing financial and productivity benefits through a single, converged communications network," he says.
Telstra says the demand for its IP telephony technology will also be driven by features that improve business productivity. These include unified messaging which gives users a single mailbox for both e-mail and voice-mail. Unified messaging enables users to attach voice mails to e-mails as well as distribute broadcast voice mails to large groups.
In addition, Web based service configuration enables users to activate features such as call waiting and call forward via a PC, as well as a call control solution that can funnel calls to conferencing and voice mail while on the phone.