Bell, Cisco revamp Montreal airport network

Bell Canada has teamed up with Cisco Systems Canada Co. and Aeroports de Montreal to implement a communications solution at the Montreal-Trudeau Airport that includes Wi-Fi LAN, IP telephony, cabling, digital signage, information kiosks and business centres.

Starting in January 2006, Bell will build a public access service for passengers and a private access service for carriers as well as ADM employees and tenants. Bell will also install 1,000 IP lines with Cisco telephony capability with plans to eventually double that number.

The implementation, which is similar to other Cisco-based projects in Vancouver and Toronto, is part of the airport’s mandate over the last two years to upgrade the building’s facilities. ADM president and CEO James Cherry said the project falls in line with the airport authority’s ongoing expansion plans at Montreal-Trudeau.

“Over the last couple of years we’ve invested massively in this facility,” said Cherry at a joint media conference held at the airport and teleconferenced to press Wednesday. “The aim was to modernize and substantially expand this airport to turn it into a real hub that is very efficient and at the same time very accommodating for our passengers.”

Plans also include the deployment of 120 LCD displays in the terminal for use as advertising platforms, the installation of 25 computerized information kiosks to help travelers navigate the airport and four business centres where they can access the Internet, conduct videoconferencing, and fax and print documents. Under the terms of the contract, Bell will deploy and manage the above technologies with Cisco providing most of the solution’s hardware components.

“We’ve put together an industry leading team to deliver a fully integrated end-to-end solution,” said Isabelle Courville, president, enterprise group, Bell Canada. “There are six components to that solution. All integrated, they will provide a very different proposition for visitors of the airport.”

Airports worldwide are faced with issues like operational effectiveness, security and physical enhancement, said Terry Walsh, president of Cisco Systems Canada.

“It is no surprise to any of us that airports around the world are going through challenging times,” said Walsh. “Demands for these improvements in times of increasing budgets are placing unprecedented pressure on airport executives and personnel to find cost effective solutions to offer more services and security to a greater number of people.”

Communications technology is helping airports meet these challenges by enabling rapidly deployable, flexible and tightly integrated applications in a secure and reliable environment based on IP technology, Walsh added.

“Cisco’s intelligent airport solution is designed to increase operational efficiency, improve security and enhance passenger and tennant satisfaction by providing a highly responsive, service centric environment based on flexible, scalable and intelligent information networks,” said Walsh.

Likewise, Cherry said the implementation is a long-term investment that will allow it to continuously improve its services now and in the future.

“It’s not a one-time investment we’re making here today,” he said. “This is a long term deal that’s going to evolve as technologies evolve.”

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