Baltimore city gov phones set for a big VoIP upgrade
Baltimore's municipal phone system -- the phones that city workers use to do their jobs -- is set for a big upgrade.
The city comptroller's office is overseeing the process, which is moving steadily along. This week, a partnership between IBM and Avaya, was the only entity to meet the requirements for the city's RFP. The next step is for the city to consider a pricing bid from them. So far, IBM/Avaya has estimated to the city that the new system - a Voice over Internet Protocal system, or VoIP -- will cost $7.6 million to implement, according to Comptroller Joan Pratt, who spoke with me on Wednesday.
I hear the city has about 7,500 phones lines. One insight into how the current system works: when daylight savings time occurred last weekend, city technicians how to go to each city building and change the time on a "key system unit" -- a central box used to reset the time on each phone in that particular building, according to Pratt. (No, city techs did not manually change the clocks on every single phone, as one tipster suggested to us.)
With the new VoIP system, a task like a time change across thousands of phones will be able to handled remotely, from one location, according to Pratt.
Interestingly, in 1995, the city upgraded its phone system -- consisting of 9,900 phones -- for $7.2 million. Here's the Baltimore Sun article about it.
In that article, the city touted the savings it would reap -- several milllion a year at the time -- from the then-new phone system. I'll try to find out if the city sees any projected savings this time around with the VoIP system.
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