The real estate deal

Mabanee has installed a turnkey network in a bid to boost its business efficiency and open up new revenue opportunities. Khorafi Business Machines (KBM) has implemented the wide ranging project.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  April 16, 2005

|~|mabanee_m.jpg|~||~|Kuwaiti real estate company Mabanee has implemented a turnkey infrastructure solution provided by Khorafi Business Machines (KBM). The wide-ranging project involved the installation of core infrastructure, IP telephony and wireless products. The implementation was designed to increase the firm’s internal operating efficiency and productivity, as well as allow it to gear up for ambitious plans in the sector. Mishaal Al Usaimi, the assistant general manager at Mabanee Company, sees IT as key to the company’s future. “Differentiation in the competitive business in which Mabanee Company is engaged is achieved by adding value to our commercial real estate. Increasing the sophistication of our communications systems allows us to do this,” he says. The new infrastructure was built upon a Cisco-based network, with Mabanee investing in a range of switches, firewalls, routers, intrusion detection system (IDS) devices, as well as a number of applications, including ACS (access control server) to manage user authentication. “We went for Cisco on the active product side, with three 2600 series routers, two Catalyst 3750 core switches, four 3550 edge switches and Aironet 1200 wireless access points,” says Jacob Joshua, IT supervisor at Mabanee. “We have also used redundant Cisco PIX firewalls on the security side, backed up by a 4215 IDS device,” he adds. Mabanee also replaced its legacy time division multiplexing (TDM) phone system with an IP-based system using Cisco IP phones and incorporating a direct inward dialling (DID) service. This allows phone messages to be forwarded to the e-mail address of employees and is designed to ensure that that anyone who interacts with Mabanee will get good customer service. The company is also utilising IP telephony over its Wi-Fi network system, which allows the company’s management team to stay in touch while they are away from their desks. In addition, Mabanee has made use of the VPN capability of the network to allow staff to communicate securely with the office when they are traveling. Mabanee takes up three floors in the seven floor building in which it is based and as well as using the network to smooth its own communications, it will use its infrastructure to offer services to other tenants. This is a key aspect of the implementation, as the real estate firm intends to roll out these services across all of its properties in Kuwait and is using the initial project as a test bed. “The IP Telephony aspect of this solution will enable us to fulfill our plans of eventually networking all sister companies and our real estate holdings together. When this happens we will be looking at extending our IP Telephony capabilities as a service to our real estate tenants. This will ultimately provide incremental revenue generating opportunities,” says Joshua. As part of its plans, Mabanee will look at IBM solutions such as Tivoli, WebSphere and Lotus. The aim is to use these to introduce collaboration and workflow management processes on top of the network. Mabanee says KBM played a crucial role in the implementation, taking care of practical elements from procuring solutions and ensuring their compatibility to laying the structured cabling to creating. The firm went for a turnkey solution as it wanted to have to one point of contact rather than look to four or five vendors. “Confidence in the company assigned to this undertaking was key and KBM was selected due to its approach to the project and on the basis of its reputation, credentials and in particular because of its expert skills, such as its many Cisco certified professionals,” concludes Al Usaimi.||**||

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