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Airline Turns to VoIP for Virtual Switchboard, Call Traffic Management

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May 18, 2009

Airline Turns to VoIP for Virtual Switchboard, Call Traffic Management

By Michael Dinan, TMCnet Editor

In recent months, we in the communications technology media have been reporting more and more on IP-based activity among airlines.
Along with markets such as hospitality and print media, the travel industry has suffered mightily in this down economy, as budget-conscious consumers trim the fat from their spending. Airlines’ interest in technology is driven mainly by the increasingly important race to attract and retain customers. It’s why we’ve seen one U.S. airline pull its call center operations out of India, while another brings WiFi (News - Alert) to 300 planes and analysts say they expect the number of broadband-enabled planes to increase sharply this year.

Today, we’re hearing that the Swedish arm of one major airline that serves mainly east Asia is turning to technology – in this case, VoIP – to boost business in a different way: to cut costs.
Thai Airways in Sweden reportedly is turning to an IT company that operates in the document and information management sector to leverage IP telephony for a hardware and traffic management solution that includes switchboard functionality.
Officials at the airline say the firm, Carl Lamm, has delivered a flexible solution that will help enable quick changes when traffic flow increases sharply at certain times of the day.
In the past, Thai Airways said, it relied on a traditional telephone exchange solution that required costly upgrades and offered little flexibility.
According to Jonas Brostrom, the airline’s sales director, the new solution is boosting accessibility.
“We can answer the phone in several different ways as it is easier to redirect calls to our cell phones or answer calls via the computer,” Brostrom said. “Furthermore, this is an extremely price-worthy solution. The investment has given us very good value for our money.”
Those cost-savings are delivered, in part, through a “virtual” – or Web-based – switchboard, which eases traffic flow monitoring, allowing managers to see who is logged in and where the flow is directed. The entire company is gathered on the same IP telephony exchange.
According to Mans Sjostedt, Carl Lamm’s chief executive officer, given the right IT infrastructure conditions, IP telephony deliver technological qualities that make it possible even for established companies to take the step and leave traditional telephony.
“Furthermore, the cost-saving potential of IP Telephony is very attractive given the current market situation,” Sjostedt said. “We see great potential in supplying IT telephony to our customers.”

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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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