We are pleased to announce the launch of our statewide Voice over IP (VoIP) implementation project. Upon completion, the VoIP project will improve our voice, video, and collaboration capabilities throughout Alabama state government. The project will consist of a network infrastructure upgrade, new VoIP phones, video, and collaboration software.
The VoIP statewide implementation project will be divided into two phases: Phase I will implement VoIP for the Montgomery campus only with Phase II delivering VoIP to the remainder of the state. Phase I project activities are already underway to upgrade the network infrastructure and lay the foundation for deploying phones to end users. The plan for the project is to start rolling out new phones by the end of this calendar year. This rollout will allow enough time to upgrade the network infrastructure and gather the information needed to complete the phone deployment. Once we begin the process of deploying phones, we anticipate an approximate 10-month rollout.
The State’s current voice communications systems are primarily based on 25-year-old technology. Our communication systems are costly to maintain, no longer adequately supported by vendors, and pose a risk to operations with the potential for a catastrophic failure. In addition to the operational risks, our current system is not only expensive to maintain, but the fees we currently pay to vendors for circuits and long distance are extremely expensive relative to that of a modern VoIP system.
What will be the impact to my agency throughout the project?
During implementation, the OIT project team will do everything possible to ensure minimal impact or disruption of services to your agency. The Office of Information Technology will shoulder the vast majority of the workload, but we will require support from your agency IT personnel and phone coordinators. Agency required support may include providing detailed information specifying your voice requirements, existing network configuration data, and providing access to required building facilities and offices.
What improvements can we expect?
Our goal for the VoIP project is to provide a new voice, video and collaboration solution for the State of Alabama. The project will upgrade the State’s core network and the network infrastructure in all buildings supported by VoIP. Once the network upgrade is complete, we will have the infrastructure in place that will support a statewide VoIP system and provide improved data services.
The VoIP project reduces the State’s voice communications costs and addresses the risks associated with our aging technologies. Once both project phases are complete and project implementation costs are recovered, the State is estimated to save over $10 million annually. In addition to cost savings, the VoIP project addresses the risks associated with unsupported technologies and security. While cost savings and risk reduction are the primary justification for this project, the State will also realize benefits from the enhanced tools and services provided by an enterprise VoIP architecture.
With this new architecture and suite of tools, the State will be able to create opportunities for improved productivity and service delivery to Alabama’s citizens. A few examples of productivity improvements include:
- Presence: Know when a coworker is in the office (online), busy, or offline.
- Mobility: Transfer ongoing calls from office phone to cell phone.
- Unified Communications: Communicate across multiple tools. For example, deliver voicemail to email inbox.
- Travel Cost Savings: Travel less using improved availability of video teleconferencing and collaboration tools.
- Contact Center Services: Call center capability with enhanced features and improved reliability.
- Transparency: Record phone calls in State offices that provide critical state services.
The Office of Information Technology looks forward to working with you to make this project a success and improve the voice, video and collaboration services we provide to our customers.
Contributed by: TJ Nola, VoIP Manager