At Kudu, it’s not always obvious the phone call is long distance

“Being in the market we’re in we have to really get out there and do some stuff internationally, in order to keep expanding,” explains Faron Fowler, systems administrator at Kudu.But linking small offices dotted around the globe with Kudu headquarters is a challenge. The answer, for Kudu, lies in voice over IP technology that makes company employees part of a single system wherever they are.
Kudu distributes VoIP handsets to its employees in small branch offices, and these connect over a broadband Internet links to the Mitel Internet Protocol private branch exchange (IP PBX) at the Calgary headquarters, Fowler explains.
The system means Kudu doesn’t have to pay long-distance charges for calls among its far-flung employees, and that eliminates what could otherwise be a significant barrier to communication. “We don’t have to restrict our tools of communication,” Fowler says. “If you need to talk to accounts payable, pick up the phone and do it.” The call may be traveling halfway around the globe, but it looks — and costs — like an internal call. Employees in overseas offices can even reach any head-office extension — or each other — by dialing three digits.
Another benefit in some locations is that routing phone calls over IP gives Kudu an alternative to long waits to have plodding monopoly telecom carriers install phone lines.
And while Fowler says Kudu probably has not yet used 10 per cent of the VoIP system’s functionality in the eight months or so it has been in service, he says there are many future possibilities, such as having an incoming call routed to whatever employee is available or best qualified to answer it, regardless of where that person is.
Installing and configuring the system took about a week, Fowler says, and while staff needed a little time to get used to the new handsets and using them with IP connections, there weren’t significant problems. One technical issue is the need to supply power to the handsets, which Kudu handles mainly through individual power adapters, though a few locations use Power Over Ethernet technology to carry current on the data network itself.

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Grant Buckler
Grant Buckler
Freelance journalist specializing in information technology, telecommunications, energy & clean tech. Theatre-lover & trainee hobby farmer.

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