British Airways in Major VoIP Deployment

Cisco gets the contract that pushes IP telephony across airline giant's employee base.
Things may soon go a lot smoother at London's Heathrow Airport, thanks to a VoIP deal announced today between Cisco Systems and British Airways.

Cisco will deploy VoIP to more than 14,000 British Airways staff, which will use 8,500 Cisco IP phones at its U.K. offices and airports. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Cisco in a statement noted that it was a ''multi-million-pound IP telephony system''.

The Cisco IP phones will be routed over a Cisco Ethernet network and will include Cisco's MeetingPlace conferencing applications, as well as the Cisco CallManager call-processing software. Employee self service applications, including Web-based employee services, will also be available on the Cisco IP phones.

''We needed to replace our legacy phone system in Terminal 4 at Heathrow and this new IP telephony systems gives us the flexibility and functionality to run a busy airport terminal at significantly lower costs base than the old legacy system,'' said Paul Coby, CIO of British Airways, in a statement.

According to Cisco spokeswoman JoAnne Hughes, Cisco first started discussions with British Airways to replace their legacy telephone network with Cisco IP telephony solutions approximately two years ago.

Cisco said it expects the system to pay for itself within two years by reducing costs and improving productivity through the integration of all voice and data communications onto a single network. The deployment is expected to be completed by March 2006.

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