Hamilton Rentals are the UK's largest independent provider of IT rental and asset management solutions. Following a management buyout from its US owner (Xchange Technology Group), it was necessary to separate Hamilton’s IT infrastructure. As the UK operation was using Cisco Communications Manager hosted in a datacentre (owned by XTG) in Canada, one of the first consequence of the buyout was the necessity of installing an independent Cisco Unified Communication Manager. Hamilton’s management identified the adoption of Enterprise Collaboration Solutions as a key factor to increase the success of Hamilton’s business in the UK market.
Leading up to the management buyout, Hamilton approached Unifi Communications to design a solution that would allow them to utilise their existing Cisco IT infrastructure investment whilst allowing them to adopt new collaboration strategies such as Cisco Telepresence, IM, Presence, Single Number Reach, Extension Mobility and VPN phones for home-based teleworkers.
At the heart of Unifi Communications’ deployed solution is a Cisco Business Edition 6000 at Hamilton’s head office in Bracknell, Unifi’s design utilises Cisco’s market leading, Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM), Unity Connection, Unified Presence, and Unified Contact Center Express collaboration software, which are fully integrated on the Business Edition 6000 platform using a VMware hypervisor deployment model.
Having two branch offices, in addition to the Bracknell head office, it is important that colleagues can effectively collaborate between offices. Employees at all three sites have access to the full suite Cisco Unified Communications products including Voice, Video, Presence, Instant Messaging and Voicemail. By using the Cisco Jabber Unified Communications application colleagues can collaborate on the device of their choice, can quickly and easily find people and see if and how they are available (on which application or device). Colleagues can collaborate using instant messaging (IM), voice, high-definition video, voice messaging, desktop sharing, and conferencing. With full Microsoft Office integration, Jabber delivers Hamilton with a collaborative experience that boosts productivity and competitive advantage.
As business grade connectivity to the Internet is critical to Hamilton as well fast and reliable connectivity between sites, Unifi supplied 100MB fibre Internet connectivity. This is split to provide 50Mbps connection to the Internet and 50Mbps site to site connectivity. This provides high quality collaboration between offices for voice, video and data.
Cisco 2900 ISR Routers have been provisioned at all three sites to act as Voice Gateways (VGWs) as well as WAN routers in the two branch offices. Site to site connectivity to the head office terminates on a Cisco ASA 5500 Security Appliance to allow internal calls to be made for free over the Hamilton WAN. SIP trunks are utilised at the two branch offices, which will also eventually replace the ISDN30 at the head office for further flexibility and cost savings.To provide resilience, Unifi have utilised the 2900 VGW’s Survivable Remote Site Telephony (SRST) capability. In the event of the branch office losing connectivity to the central Cisco Business Edition Server, all phones in that branch will reregister to the local VGW to provide continuous telephony features until connectivity is re-established.
To further enhance internal, partner and customer collaboration, Unifi also provision the Cisco Meet-me feature, which is part of the Cisco Communications Manager software set. This allows Hamilton to instigate a conference session within the Cisco Communications Manager environment that colleagues and outside callers can dial in to. Hamilton was spending £1,000s every year on expensive external call conferencing facilities so with the Cisco Meet-me feature, these costs have been removed.
Cisco 8941 Video Phones are utilised at the home offices of senior staff. With SSL connectivity from the 8941 IP Phones to the ASA5510 and Cisco Business Edition 6000, these staff members can communicate and collaborate as easily as if they were in the office.
Unifi Communications certified personnel handled all project management of the installation of the system from design, bill of material creation, order management and hardware and software supply, pre-staging, on-site installation configurations of the supplied software and hardware through to administration and phone training sessions to help with the adoption of the new technology.