Airline launches communications infrastructure

Friday, 20 March, 2009

Virgin Blue is set to deploy a unified communications system to improve its customer service, as part of its New World Carrier strategy.

The company is planning to launch a new airline, V Australia, as well as expand Virgin Blue and Pacific Blue. Accompanying these developments is the relocation of a number of sites throughout Brisbane into a single premise in Bowen Hills.

This move acted as a catalyst for a move to unified communications. This will cover the desktop, voice and data networks and the guest contact centre.

The unified communications system, encompassing IP telephony and contact centre technology from Avaya and video-conferencing from Polycom, will be delivered by NSC as part of a five-year managed services agreement. NSC will provide ongoing management of the communications infrastructure throughout Virgin Blue.

The solution comprises Avaya Communications Manager, dual S8730 media servers, S8730 and S8500 Enterprise Survivable Servers providing full redundancy, IP gigabit handsets on desktop and softphones for remote agents, Verint call recording and reporting in the contact centre.

A key component of this project is the evolution from its legacy TDM telephony to cutting edge IP telephony infrastructure.

According to David Harvey, general manager of IT at Virgin Blue, the decision to move to a managed service model for its voice and contact centre services will enable the airline to focus on its core business.

“As Virgin Blue Airlines continues to grow, both locally and internationally, and as the airline industry becomes increasingly competitive, we feel it is important we focus on what we do best,” says Harvey.

This idea is driven by the increasing complexity of unified communications technology.

“As technology becomes more complex and increasingly embedded into our business processes, the skills needed to manage such an environment are very specialised,” he says.

The new system will allow Virgin Blue to significantly increase its network of home-agents, while the video-conferencing abilities of the system will improve the company’s remote meeting facilities.

Additionally, the communications solution will integrate with Virgin Blue’s back office processes, allowing the automation of specified actions.

Regarding the IP-enabled technology, Harvey says: “The potential for increased productivity and employee satisfaction is huge. We’re looking at our desktop and multifunction devices to enable employees to work anywhere, anytime, from any device.”

According to Harvey, the new communications infrastructure will allow the company to manage growing demand, improve responsiveness and therefore raise customer satisfaction.

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