A para-public agency serving Quebec’s construction industry is about to set up an IP telephony network to improve communications to thousands of contractors and employees.

Telus on Tuesday said it had been chosen for the project, worth approximately $1.5 million, which will connect

11 Quebec Construction Commission (QCC)  regional sites including two call centres. The network will be based on products from Avaya and will feature unified messaging and voice recognition, among other applications.

QCC spokesman Andre Martin said the organization sought bids from the marketplace after concluding its aging Nortel Meridian-based phone network would be difficult to upgrade.

“Avaya seems to be better for long-term future development,” he said. “ If we look for the next four or five years, it should be able to meet our needs.”

The QCC, which provides a range of HR-related services such as vocational training and and manpower management, averages about 650,000 calls a year, Martin said. It offers services to about 20,000 construction firms and about 125,000 workers. Although the QCC is forecasting a slight decline in  the local construction sector this year, at least 6,000 new workers are expected to enter the industry, potentially increasing the demand for its services.

“All those people can call us for information, for a modification of their file,” he said, adding that the QCC tends to have peak periods when information is distributed to the industry and call volumes ramp up. “With the new system, we will be able to pool more people to answer a specific situation.””

Dean Lariviere, director of sales at Avaya Canada, said the QCC represents a perfect example of customers who are making the leap to IP telephony to reduce some internal expenses while improving service to clients.

“If you take a look at how businesses traditionally deployed branch locations, it was disparate solutions,” he said. “Different sites would have a different suite of applications and they couldn’t really link the offices. There was a lot of long-distance calling back and forth.”

The QCC is looking forward to those benefits, Martin said.

“We can take calls from the various offices – it’s all linked together,” he said. “It costs a lot of money for internal communication between offices.”

An IP environment, on the other hand, will allow the QCC to virtualize its two call centres into one and centralize applications for all users, Lariviere said. “Now you have a broad pool of resources. The economies of scale that go with that are very tangible,” he said. “You typically need less network resource, and typically you can deploy your people better.”

Martin said the project would begin with deploying the network to the branch locations and then changing over the call centres sometime next year. The QCC expects to see payback over its investment within five years.

Comment: info@itbusiness.ca

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