Bahrain’s Midal installs IP telephony solution

Bahraini aluminium exporter Midal has installed a range of Cisco IP phones in a bid to boost its communication system. The implementation was completed in March of this year and took Midal’s phone system to a predominately IP platform.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  August 1, 2004

|~|ip-telephony_m.jpg|~||~|Bahraini aluminium exporter Midal has installed a range of Cisco IP phones in a bid to boost its communication system. The implementation was completed in March of this year and took Midal’s phone system to a predominately IP platform. The company has over 260 employees and has installed two Cisco 7970 IP phones, for the managing director and chief executive officer, as well as 30 Cisco 7940 IP phones for management and 80 Cisco 7912 IP phones for employees. The company uses Cisco’s CallManager 3.3 as a software-based call-processing engine. “As an export company, communication is key to us. We can’t afford to miss a call, it could cost us a million dollar deal,” says Mehernosh Dhunjisha, general manager, finance & administration at Midal Cables. “We looked at IP telephony for two years and decided to go for it as it allows us to get all of our communications on one stream. We have lots of faxes, calls and e-mails coming in and having them on one infrastructure is a big advantage,” he adds. The system also makes use of Cisco’s Unified Messaging, which allows users to deal with calls, e-mails and faxes in one interface. “This has brought a tremendous boost to productivity as we can track the response time of employees,” says Dhunjisha. Midal’s Cisco IP telephony system replaced a PBX system based on Nortel’s Meridian technology, which the company had grown dis-satisfied with as it aged, and decided to quickly replace. “The service provider [Batelco] installed our earlier system and after installation they failed to update us on any upgrades being offered by the system supplier. They also failed to intimate to us that the system supplier would not support our existing system after a certain date,” says Dhunjisha. The need for a quick installation placed tight constraints on Networkers, the installer of the IP system. “We did a pilot and quickly implemented the system,” says Homi Supariwalla, general manager, Networkers. “The implementation was also carried out in a live environment, Midal could not afford any downtime,” he adds. Networkers used the existing structured Cat5 cabling and installed power over Ethernet switches and the IP phones. The company also installed two clustered Call Manager systems for added redundancy. “There are two PCs used simultaneously, with Call Manager running on each. This means if one fails the other will kick in,” says Supariwalla. “Midal asked for this. The company was accustomed to PBX-like reliability and wanted to take no chances when moving to IP telephony,” he adds. With Bahrain recently liberalising its telecomms industry the use of IP telephony has become more widespread. At the moment it is legal for a company to use IP telephony in Bahrain but only on the local network. Currently, Midal uses an IP / PBX and leases PSTN lines from Batelco for international calls. “It is possible to provide a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service in Bahrain, if the companies have the appropriate licence to provide this service,” says Daneh Al Rayes, director of Communications & Consumer Affairs, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), Bahrain. “The licence for offering voice calls is the National Fixed Telephony licence, and if they wish to offer international calls they will need to have a relevant international licence, or use one of the existing licenced operators international gateways,” he adds.||**||

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