by July 4, 2012 0 comments

Not only that, but the Essar Group also witnessed an increase of 8-10% in employee productivity and decrease of 15-20% in travel cost. All of this, just by implementing one unified communication project

The Essar Group is a multinational conglomerate and a leading player in the sectors of steel, oil & gas, power, communications and business process outsourcing (BPO), shipping, ports and logistics, projects, and minerals. With operations in more than 25 countries across five continents, the group employs 75,000 people, resulting into a desperate need of converged technology for smooth and efficient communication. Additionally, Essar has grown exponentially in the last few years. This has resulted into many small and large offices. There are offices across the globe which cater to the voice need locally, but for inter office connectivity there was a bigger challenge. There was a definite requirement of globalization for voice communication, planning for the centralized technology was very essential. This was a big challenge as there is different technology working on different platform around the world. Re-investing on the technology was a huge investment. On the other side, there were huge expenses on domestic and international traveling.

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Implementation Highlights

With this implementation, it is now possible to call between Avaya and other communication systems of Essar group. This system is connected to more than 20 countries with 28 PBX and 30 different sites without EPBX over WAN. Calling is done using SIP and H.323 Protocol. Integration of Avaya with ShoreTel and Splicecom over SIP and H.323 respectively is one of the highlights of this project which has resulted in huge cost saving. Avaya was also integrated with Microsoft Lync 2010 and Tetra radio technology.

Considering the mobility factor, One X Mobile Server and One X SIP Phones were introduced. One X SIP phones enabled the mobile users to connect to the PBX using a small application on their iPad and iPhone in a secured way. The application was configured for most of the personal devices and was a very effective as a communication tool. One X mobile Server is installed at the central location. This server is natted with a Public IP for global access and placed in DMZ zone for security reasons. The server is connected to the respective call manager on a SIP. The calls are initiated from any mobile device with the one X application installed using GPRS on mobile and uses PSTN network for calling. Stringent testing was done so that there is no DOT regulatory issue.

Session Manager (SM) was installed at two locations (Mahalaxsmi and Hazira) as per the geo redundancy architecture. All the network devices (Router, Firewall, Switches) were connected to both the SM’s in Active —Active state. As per the geographic distribution and capacity call managers (CM) of respective locations were registered to the SMs. Two SIP trunks are configured on each compatible CM for all locations. In case any one SM is down due to any known or unknown reason or natural calamities other SM would ensure connectivity. SM at Hazira was integrated with CM 6.0 at Mahalaxsmi.

Your system is in line with the concept of BYOD. Can you tell us more about it?
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BYOD is one of the key drivers for Essar Group. We use
Citrix VDI solution with SSL VPN connection. With Voice
CUG integration with Avaya Aura implementation, our employees can even communicate using secured channel
from their own devices.

This implementation spans multiple countries. How was different telecom regulations taken into consideration prior implementation?
There are practical problem with such projects, for example when our legal team was checking out possibilities of providing services under this project in Dubai they found
out law of land does not allow the same. So, even though
we have been able to successfully implement this implementation in a majority of branches abroad, communications in some countries like Dubai had to be continued on non VoIP based systems.

Can you explain how was TETRA network integrated into this system?
We have been using TETRA setup for past three years at around seven major locations across India. Pre-implementation of this project, all of them were working in isolation. When we were discussing our requirement with TETRA implementation partner and AVAYA team about integrating TETRA with PBX system, we came up with an unique solution that allowed communication from local PBX site to TETRA handset with a simple tweak. This is one of
the ‘WOW’ factors of the project and was highly appreciated by management.

What all solutions were considered before zeroing down on Avaya solution?
We did consider multiple vendors like Cisco, Microsoft before deciding on Avaya’s solution. For us, the prime differentiators were that Avaya’s solution was selected based on its capabilities, scalability, openness and integration with multi-vendor solution. Plus, Essar’s existing setup is on Avaya call manager, which helped to derive better ROI and comparatively less investment

A single number i.e. 7300000 across Essar Group for Voice and Web Conferencing is yet another benefit of project. Avaya Aura Messaging is used as mean of email integration, ensures better access to user (based on user’s choice).

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Major challenges

Integration with different technology on different platform was a major challenge of this project. Most of the integration documents were not precise and required lot of study as this project was new in India. Also managing resources working on different time zones was difficult. As all countries have their own Telecom regulations which needed to be addressed other major challenge was sticking to these DoT regulations. On business continuity front, geo redundant architecture has to be built so that there is no single point of failure.


Post implementation, users connected to any of the Essar office can now connect to the desired office using the complex hybrid architecture and thereby resulting into hassle free communication experience with huge Cost savings. Use of Centralized Voice Mail, Conferencing system has resulted in optimized use of infrastructure investment and thereby resulting into smooth and professional meeting experience to the business. No dependency on other service provider means more flexibility for dynamic business requirements. One X SIP and One X Mobile has helped the mobile users to stay connected to the Essar CUG Network even when they were not in office —on the go, hotel, etc thereby providing secured layer of communication and contributing to a larger extent in the unified communication strategy which includes single number access to employee. This project was implemented with application centralized architecture where there is not much dependency on the hardware which means ability to collaborate with other technologies supporting video conferencing, radio communications, etc.

Team Speaks

“Avaya Aura Implementation is not a single product deployment since it included almost all the integral parts of modern communication that one can think of in Enterprise business scenarios such as SIP, Messaging, Conferencing, Mobility, Video Collaboration and UC. Before this project the Essar telephony was working in silos; hence management and monitoring was a big task. With Avaya aura implementation we ensured that Essar communication architecture is not only fulfilling current business requirement but also made it futuristic that can help us to implement CEBP (Communication enablement on business processes) to bring more value to the business in various ways. Critical part was not only providing features but also making sure it is Geo-redundant to ensure there is stability and same we achieved by using our robust network across Global Essar sites. Today we do not depend on particular site as a important hub since we have DR site in place to support business continuity. It was not an easy task but with lot of brainstorming and close working with R&D team at Avaya — we made it possible.

During this project we also did few important integrations with different PBX products (ShoreTel at North America and Splicecom at London) at our global sites which proved to be very helpful — especially to reduce the overall communication cost. Cost saving has been major advantage even for Essar local sites where with Avaya Aura platform we are able to reach our employees on VOIP phones that too with “Single number reach”. “BYOD” was implemented in real sense where we could use One X SIP for iPAD and iPhone users, One X Mobile for Blackberry and various phones like Samsung, Nokia, LG etc. and One X Communicator for Laptop users who are always travelling and can use Enterprise VOIP to communicate effectively in secured way. Overall this is one of its kind implementation which we are sure will setup a trend in the market and provide more possibilities to the business users.”

– Anant Bhat, Team Leader, EITL, Project Planning, Design and Project Management, Abubakar Hakim, Sr. Consultant, Telecom team, Project Implementation, testing and coordination, Yogesh Dubey, Sr. Consultant, Telecom team, Project Implementation, testing and coordination, Shiv Badan, Sr. Consultant, Telecom team, Project Implementation, testing and coordination, Deepesh Patel, Sr. Consultant, Network team, Network implementation and testing, Basant Dangi, Sr. Consultant, Network team, Network implementation and testing

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The Results

There is 8—10 % increase in productivity due to the seamless communication without any delay. One Number Access is helping save time and made accessibility easy. With this project, we are moving towards people centric culture helping create awareness/ culture to effectively start using communication channels for more efficiency and better decision making in the work. This project has resulted in savings of around 6 crores/ month on the STD/ISD PSTN charges which occurred due to non availability of cheaper interoffice connections. In addition to this savings of around 3 crores/month on ISD charges (that occurred prior to the SIP integration between Avaya—ShoreTel and Avaya —Splicecom between India—US and India— UK respectively) was achieved. People using One X SIP —even when not in Essar private network, can with the help of Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G network login through VPN and connect to Essar CUG seamlessly for VOIP calling. Plus, there is a reduction in the traveling expenses of the company by 15 —20 % at the initial level and is expected to increase bringing more value in terms of ROI with maximum utilization of centralized messaging and seamless voice CUG communication platform across 20 countries and 30 PBX sites within Essar Group.

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