Even though this kind of flexibility and cost savings at the job site was the main catalyst for going with an IP-based UC system, Fluor implemented it companywide as well, at its Irving, Texas, headquarters and 135 offices worldwide. One of the applications running on top of the infrastructure is ABST's Call Express unified messaging package, a Web-based application that connects the voice mail systems of Fluor's 45,000 employees.
With Call Express, users go to one URL and type in the same login used for phone access to get a Webmail interface that shows all of their fax and voice messages, Rogerson says. They also get notifications, with a URL, of those messages sent to their e-mail. (Fluor's legal department won't allow WAV file attachments in e-mails that actually play back the message on a user's computer, Rogerson says.)
Fluor is also looking at deploying IP video on top of its UC infrastructure as a replacement for an older videoconferencing system using older ISDN equipment and circuits. The impetus for this was the recent global recession and the desire to reduce both telecom and travel costs, Rogerson says. "You can really rack up the charges with ISDN," he says.
Fluor is currently wrapping up its initial deployment of Cisco Tandberg H.264-based videoconferencing systems.
The company is also deploying SIP trunks between its centralized Avaya Aura Session Manager system and a mobile PBX system from Sprint/Nextel. This will allow any Sprint handset used by a Fluor employee to function as an Avaya handset, Rogerson says, with short digit dialing between any phone on the company's IP network.
Any call on the network will not incur airtime charges, Rogerson says -- Sprint treats it like a mobile-to-mobile call and charges come in a static monthly bill.
The only drawback to the UC deployment is that Avaya service and support still seems rooted in the old world, Rogerson says.
"There's still an old telephony mentality on the service and support side as well as some of the architecture within Avaya," he says. "That's been an issue for us because we're a complete self-support site. We have four Avaya engineers, all top-level certified. But we constantly run into issues where we don't have access to do this or that even though we've got the highest-level customer access."
That glitch, however, is not stopping Fluor from expanding its implementation. Ongoing plans include deploying more SIP trunks to replace point-to-point IP links, which will augment DID routing for a private dialing plan, Rogerson says.
Fluor has already replaced 20 ISDN Primary Rate Interface circuits with SIP trunks for a 30% to 40% savings, he says.