Based in Vienna, A1 Telekom Austria, part of the Telekom Austria Group, provides fixed line telephony and data solutions to customers in Austria. It also offers mobile services for voice, Internet, office services, m-Commerce, and MMS services to individual and business customers. A1 Telekom Austria deployed a Microsoft communications solution to provide audio conferencing and voice capabilities for its work force and to reduce the telephony equipment it maintained at small branch offices. To continue to provide employees with the latest voice technology and to gain experience to use with its customers, A1 Telekom Austria has deployed Microsoft Lync Server 2010. The telecommunications firm expects to offer a broader range of communications options to customers based on the size of their deployments and their custom needs and to provide an enhanced user experience for its employees.
With 2009 revenues close to €4.8 billion (U.S.$6.5 billion) and nearly 17,000 employees, the Telekom Austria Group is the principal telecommunications provider in Austria. Following its successful expansion in recent years, the Telekom Austria Group now has operations in Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, and Belarus. The company supplies high-quality services to more than 1.3 million fixed-access lines and 967 million retail broadband Internet customers in Austria and in total 18.9 million mobile customers. A1 Telekom Austria is an operating company of the Telekom Austria Group that is Austria's leading provider of telecommunications services, encompassing 5 million mobile communications customers and 2.3 million fixed-access lines.
Internally, A1 Telekom Austria deployed Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 to 2,500 employees in 2009 to provide conferencing and voice capabilities. Two consolidated front-end servers handle all the instant messaging, presence, conferencing, and voice capabilities for internal users, while two edge servers and a Web Access server provide access to external users. The IT staff replaced much of its private branch exchange (PBX) equipment at many of its smaller offices across Austria and gave employees IP phones or headsets to use with Microsoft Office Communicator 2007. In addition, all new employees received phone service through Office Communications Server. The company also used Response Groupsto queue and route incoming calls to designated agents based on predefined routing rules, and used the Attendant Console for accurate and rapid call handling. Employees use the desktop sharing capabilities in Office Communications Server to discuss projects or provide product demonstrations for customers.
For messaging, A1 Telekom Austria deployed Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, and it implemented Exchange Unified Messaging so that employees can receive and manage voice mail through their Microsoft Office Outlook messaging and collaboration client. It also implemented federation for some employees, so they can see presence and calendar information for federated colleagues and easily connect with them through instant messaging and voice calls.
||The Lync Server enterprise voice solution works so well because customers can select the tools that will help their work force be the most productive.
Regional Manager, A1 Telekom Austria
A1 Telekom Austria also deploys Office Communications Server 2007 R2 to its customers to provide presence, instant messaging, conferencing, and enterprise voice capabilities. The company provides on-premises system integration, hosted solutions, and managed communications solutions. Many of its customers were interested in expanding their enterprise voice deployments and replacing their PBX equipment with the enterprise voice capabilities in Office Communications Server, but they had some key requirements before they would migrate to a full enterprise voice solution. If people were on a call or conference in Office Communications Server and another call came through the system, the caller was not routed to voice mail and received no busy signal. Administrators were also concerned that they could not set different policies for different users according to their roles or departments. Finally, many businesses were concerned about the lack of redundancy; in the case of a network outage, they would not be able to place calls.Solution
In October 2010, A1 Telekom Austria deployed Microsoft Lync Server 2010 to 100 employees to evaluate the full range of capabilities for its customers. Lync Server provides enhanced versions of the communications capabilities provided by Office Communications Server 2007 R2—presence, instant messaging, robust conferencing, and enterprise voice—as well as improvements in topology, deployment, and management tools. “We wanted to understand the full range of options that our customers can expect from Lync Server,” says Christoph Wellenzohn, Regional Manager at A1 Telekom Austria. It deployed the solution to a mix of employees in its IT, sales, and business development departments. It will expand its deployment to 2,500 employees by the end of the year.
A1 Telekom Austria employees will continue to use the voice and video conferencing features they enjoyed in Office Communications Server, but with Microsoft Lync Server 2010 they will have a single, unified user interface to access capabilities like audio conferencing, video conferencing, and desktop sharing. Several enhancements to the Lync client provide more of a social networking experience for employees. With the Activity Feed, employees can provide additional presence information for their coworkers. Through the Rich Contact Card, they can see people’s managers and direct reports.
In addition to the desktop sharing capabilities employees use now, they will also be able to use the whiteboard feature to work interactively with each other. Currently, the sales team members evaluating Lync Server are using desktop sharing to demonstrate the new features for customers.
A1 Telekom Austria is also evaluating a range of new hardware options for customers. One option is the Dialogic Survivable Branch Appliance (SBA), which is based on cost-effective media gateways hosting the Microsoft Survivable Branch Appliance software package. The SBA provides a public switched telephone network (PSTN) connection that continues to provide communications capabilities in the event of wide area network (WAN) failure. “We think the SBA is a viable option that smaller customers—or larger customers with small branch offices—can use as their main voice solution,” says Wellenzohn.
With Lync Server, A1 Telekom Austria customers will also have their choice of IP phones and headsets that are optimized to work with Lync. The Polycom CX600 IP desk phone provides employees with directory search capabilities and presence information, and with the Plantronics Voyager PRO headset, employees can place and manage calls and conferences through the Lync client on the desktop. For common areas such as lobbies and break rooms, the Polycom CX500 IP phone also provides directory search and presence information. A1 Telekom Austria is also evaluating the Microsoft HD LifeCam Cinema webcam for its customers who require video conferencing. The sales team in particular is evaluating the Plantronics headsets in a variety of locations.
||We think the SBA is a viable option that smaller customers—or larger customers with small branch offices—can use as their main voice solution.
Regional Manager, A1 Telekom Austria
The IT team is also evaluating updated deployment and management features in Lync Server. It believes that more flexible deployment options, such as the ability to collocate front-end and Mediation Servers on one machine or use server virtualization, offer customers less expensive deployment options. With the Topology Builder, an application engineer can quickly define all the parameters required to design a new installation. Topology Builder then communicates with the servers to install the correct configuration. For management, improved Windows PowerShell command-line interface capabilities and the web-based management console also provide additional options for administrators. With PowerShell, they can easily automate repetitive tasks, or add or edit user settings for groups. Administrators can use the web-based management console to access and manage the Lync Server deployment from any location, without the need to install administrative software. For bandwidth management, administrators can use call admission control to set different quality of service levels for voice and video to better manage bandwidth constraints.Benefits
With Lync Server 2010, A1 Telekom Austria can provide its customers with a communications solution that is easier to deploy and manage and provides a broader range of options for everything from voice deployments to phones. The company will also improve its internal communication capabilities by providing employees with a single interface to manage communication.
Eased Deployment and Management
A1 Telekom Austria has identified several areas where customers can benefit from eased deployment and management. With Topology Builder, on-premises installations at customer sites will be much easier for A1 Telekom Austria engineers, and customers can feel confident that they have the best configuration for their environment. “Topology Builder is a great tool for preparing the deployment and planning the environment. We can also easily publish the changes we want to make and share them with the customer,” says Hannes Krall, Systems Manager at A1 Telekom Austria.
Another feature that eases management for administrators is PowerShell scripting. The company expects that scripting will make it easier for customers to manage their own deployments, especially because they can easily automate common tasks. A1 Telekom Austria itself also expects that PowerShell will help its own IT team to streamline tasks and be more productive. “With PowerShell, we can much more easily add or edit settings for a group of users. It also saves us a lot of time because we can automate tasks we repeat frequently,” says Krall.
With the web-based management console, administrators can log on from any computer with a browser and a network connection to manage Lync Server. They no longer need to install special tools on a machine to perform administrative tasks. “Through the web-based management console, we can more easily manage the client or manage administration tasks, and we can do it from anywhere,” says Krall. “That makes it easier for us to help customers, as well as manage our own internal deployment.”
Call admission control also provides a real advantage for customers. “With call admission control, customers can more easily manage the types of calls going across the network, and they can also know that calls are going through the way they should,” says Wellenzohn.Provided a Broader Range of Options for Customers
“The Lync Server enterprise voice solution works so well because customers can select the tools that will help their work force be the most productive,” explains Wellenzohn. For large companies with small branch offices, or for smaller businesses, A1 Telekom Austria can deploy SBAs to provide a resilient enterprise voice solution. For companies with traditional on-premises deployments, the ability to collocate server roles on fewer machines will help customers reduce the amount of hardware they need for deployments, also enabling them to reduce or avoid additional costs.
Customers also have more options for the voice hardware that they want to deploy. They can base their decision on price point, on a user’s needs, or on the size of the deployment. A big benefit is the addition of common area phones for enterprise voice deployments. “With the Polycom CX500 phone, people can easily log on to access their contacts and see presence information,” says Krall. “They do not have to have their laptops or mobile phones. They can place a call from any common area phone.” Improved User Experience
For its employees, A1 Telekom Austria sees an advantage in the unified Lync client interface. People no longer need to switch applications for different types of conference calls; with a single click, they can start an audio or video conference directly through Lync 2010. They can also access enhanced desktop sharing capabilities such as the whiteboard with a single click. “With the whiteboard and desktop sharing features, people have more ways to display different views of the desktop. The whole sharing experience is more interactive and more flexible overall,” says Wellenzohn.
Employees can also benefit from more of a social networking experience with features like the Activity Feed and the Rich Contact Card, which help them feel more connected. A1 Telekom Austria plans to increase the social networking experience by deploying Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, which will give employees the additional benefit of being able to search for people by skill either through SharePoint Server or the Lync client.
Overall, Lync Server 2010 makes it much easier for A1 Telekom Austria to offer its customers a more complete communications solution, while also offering its own employees an enhanced communications experience that makes it easier for them to work together to make the company a success.Microsoft Lync Server 2010
Microsoft Lync Server 2010 ushers in a new connected user experience that transforms every communication into an interaction that is more collaborative and engaging and that is accessible from anywhere. For IT, the benefits are equally powerful, with a highly secure and reliable communications system that works with existing tools and systems for easier management, lower cost of ownership, smoother deployment and migration, and greater choice and flexibility.
For more information about Microsoft Lync Server 2010, go to: For More Information
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For more information about A1 Telekom Austria products and services, call (+43) 50 664-0 or visit the website at: www.telekomaustria.com or www.a1telekom.at