Voxcom of Edmonton rebuilds with IP telephony after fire destroys corporate HQ

An emergency alarm company installed IP communications after executives decided to shop for a more reliable system after going through a disaster of its own.

Edmonton-based Voxcom Security Systems monitors more than 106,000 locations across Canada, with operators trained to respond to emergencies such as fire, intrusion and environmental alarms within seconds.

Seamless routing between offices
In the spring of 2003, the company was looking to make some changes to its telephony platform, but then disaster struck. That July, a fire wiped out its head office, and employees were re-located to its backup facility for nine months.

“We learned a fair bit from that,” said Pat Sparrow, Voxcom’s vice-president of operations. “We had a good solid disaster recovery plan — if we didn’t have the system in place, we probably wouldn’t be around today.”

At that point, Avaya Canada Corp. of Markham, Ont. loaned Voxcom a number of phones and a switch for the temporary site. When employees moved back into the head office in January 2004, Voxcom started upgrading its network — for two reasons. First, it needed a more stable, flexible platform for disaster recovery planning. Second, it wanted to seamlessly route calls to workers in branch offices.

Voxcom installed Avaya’s Media Server Gateway in its Edmonton headquarters, which allows the company to layer on a number of applications including skills-based routing and quality call monitoring, said Dean La Riviere, Avaya Canada’s director of sales in Western Canada.

Voxcom recently installed Avaya Communication Manager and Avaya Contact Centre, which provide telephony and contact centre routing, reporting and resource management capabilities. Verint, one of Avaya’s partners, provides call recording.

Voxcom’s original network design was more of a traditional PBX, but the upgrade let them maintain about 85 per cent of their original investment, said La Riviere. By moving to the new network design, which uses IP, they’re able to extend the functionality of the hub site out to their branch locations.

“The first phase was to provide a backup facility as a business continuity, disaster recovery site in Sherwood Park, which is just east of Edmonton,” said La Riviere. The next phase was to extend the gateway functionality to branch locations in Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, which it’s just completing now.

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