The idea of the mobile workforce—highly flexible, highly versatile—has plenty of exciting potential associated with it, but at the same time, requires some fairly significant infrastructure to support such an idea. SIP trunking, meanwhile, can represent a major part of such infrastructure, if used correctly. Remote site services company PTI is putting just such technologies to work to make a truly mobile workforce, and is proving its mettle against some of the worst conditions on Earth: the remotest regions in Canada.
PTI offers both temporary and permanent workforce accommodations in places where accommodations are minimal, if said accommodations even exist in the first place. PTI's Trevor Chichak, head of infrastructure for the Americas at PTI, describes it as being like a chain hotel, if all the hotels in the chain were located at the North Pole. So not only does PTI have the issues of a major hotel—providing amenities, housekeeping, food service and the like—but it also has to do so while operating in extremely rugged terrain often far from a resupply. Naturally, this led PTI to focus on telecommunications, because quality communications are the first step to managing such a far-flung system.
PTI began with the standard considerations of any telecommunications project: issues of budget were quickly brought up, as were the risks of sticking with the old service. While this would be a huge cost-saver as the old system was already in place and operating, it would also leave PTI without a way to recover from disasters—and in the middle of nowhere disasters are surprisingly easy to come by—as well as virtually no redundancy.
The discussion, however, proved both simple and ultimately moot when the current vendor said that half of the facilities—three out of six—to which it provided the current service would be rendered unavailable. That was all the impetus PTI needed, reportedly, to go with a SIP Trunking phone system instead. PTI is thus upgrading its Edmonton sites—covering a total of 650 users—to use a solution that got a surprise trial-by-fire when a rainstorm hit Edmonton. The rainstorm flooded PTI's Edmonton office, but with the SIP trunking system in place, all that needed happen was that the users just went to different buildings—or just sought higher ground within the same building—and operations could carry on as normal.
Better yet, the system is not only user-friendly and easy to put into place, but also stands to represent significant savings for the company. Right now, every call made from the remote lodges is a long-distance call, and those costs can add up. But when the SIP trunking system is complete, calls can instead be routed through the data center, saving the long-distance charges.
PTI may not have gone this route if it hadn't been for the previous provider's inability to provide, but even had that not been an issue, it still would have been worth considering for PTI. The ease of use, the improvements to redundancy, a system so robust it actually let the business continue operating with a flooded office...and that's even before the long-distance charges came into play. All of these factors together made SIP trunking more than worth looking into for the company.
SIP trunking may not be a magic-bullet solution, but for businesses with widely distributed operations, it may just be a contact method that solves a lot of problems.