Caso de Éxito AudioCodes: Secured VoIP Connectivity for a Global IP Call Center
Secured VoIP Connectivity for a Global IP Call Center
Lenovo Group Limited (Lenovo) is a personal technology company serving customers in more than 160 countries. The company develops, manufactures and markets technology products and services. Its product lines include Think-branded commercial PCs and Idea-branded consumer PCs, as well as servers, workstations, and a family of mobile Internet devices, including tablets and smartphones. Lenovo operates seven research and development centers and more than 46 world-class labs, including research centers in Yamato, Japan; Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, China; and Raleigh, North Carolina, the United States.
In 2005 Lenovo acquired IBM’s Personal Computing Division in the United States. Following the acquisition, Lenovo continued to rely on IBM’s global support network for its own customer service operation. However, in 2010, this arrangement came to an end and Lenovo had to consider how to create its own infrastructure to support its huge global customer base.
Lenovo turned to Orange Business Services to assist in finding an appropriate solution. Orange Business Services, the France Telecom-Orange branch dedicated to B2B services, is a leading global integrator of communications solutions for multinational corporations.
Designing and deploying a contact center operation serving a global customer base in many different geographical locations posed several challenges for Lenovo. The company selected Genesys SIP Server as the platform for its IP-based contact center. For redundancy and performance reasons, the Genesys servers were deployed at two centralized sites in Beijing and Raleigh, North Carolina. However, beyond those two main sites Lenovo needed to be able to support many remote offices and agent sites all over the world. Many of the remote sites would need to be connected to the local PSTN. This meant providing a solution with homologation support for a vast range of different telephony protocols. The VoIP equipment installed at the remote sites needed to offer modular expansion of the initial configuration and the possibility of connecting to SIP trunks when required in the future.
Another challenge related to the distributed nature of the new system was survivability -ensuring that the remote agent sites could offer continuous service even if connectivity to the central Genesys servers was lost. Building an IP-based contact center solution offered Lenovo significant benefits in terms of efficiency and cost reduction, but the prospect of losing all service in the case of a loss of connectivity would have severe consequences for the company’s customer service operation.
The underlying network used by Lenovo for its new contact center operation was extremely complex, combining the company’s own infrastructure with untrusted third-party networks. This complexity raised another batch of issues that needed to be considered when building the solution. NAT traversal was one such issue. Even though standard firewalls are able to overcome NAT traversal for most data flows, SIP traffic embeds some IP address data at a deeper level within the IP packet which the standard firewall cannot access. In addition to this, security was also an concern. With call data being passed over untrusted networks, Lenovo wanted to be sure that its data was secure from a variety of potential threats.
In conjunction with Orange, Lenovo selected AudioCodes equipment to overcome the challenges arising from its new VoIP infrastructure.
At each of the two major hub sites (Beijing and Raleigh), two Mediant 3000 Enterprise Session Border Controllers (E-SBC) were installed. The Mediant 3000 E-SBC provides security, session mediation and service level assurance services, connecting the enterprise to IP networks and SIP Trunking providers, while maintaining interoperability and manageability. Each Mediant 3000 E-SBC can support up to 1,000 concurrent SIP sessions. The function of the Mediant 3000 E-SBCs in Lenovo’s network is to overcome NAT traversal between the main hub sites and the remote agent sites, as well as providing security for calls transported over the untrusted third-party IP networks. Each site has two Mediant 3000 devices to provide additional levels of redundancy and availability. Additional E-SBC capacity can be added via a software upgrade, thus ensuring that rack space and power consumption costs are reduced.
At the remote sites where interconnection to existing TDM based telephony systems was required, Lenovo deployed AudioCodes Mediant 1000 Multi-Service Business Gateway (MSBG) devices. The Mediant 1000 MSBG includes a highly interoperable, modular media gateway supporting a combination of analog and digital telephony interfaces, with a maximum capacity of 120 ports per unit. Thanks to its modular design, additional telephony interface capacity can be added to the Mediant 1000 in the field as and when required.
The Mediant 1000 MSBG also supports E-SBC functionality with up to 150 sessions per device and static and dynamic data routing capabilities. In addition, the MSBG supports a selection of WAN interfaces providing flexibility in connecting to Service Providers. Thanks to many years of successful homologation of its equipment with operators around the world, AudioCodes’ Mediant 1000 MSBG devices at the remote sites were able to interconnect seamlessly with local PSTN operators, as well as with TDM PBXs.
The Mediant 1000’s E-SBC function enabled secure and reliable interconnection with SIP trunking providers where relevant. E-SBC functionality can be added to the existing MSBG devices simply via a software upgrade with no need to install additional equipment.
A critical feature provided by the Mediant 1000 was standalone survivability (SAS). With the AudioCodes standalone survivability (SAS) agent embedded in its media gateways, basic communications can be maintained at a remote office even when the link to the centralized Genesys servers is lost. In such circumstances, the SIP endpoints at the remote office automatically register with the SAS agent enabling calls between users at the remote office to continue without any need for manual intervention. In addition, outgoing calls will be rerouted over the PSTN.
For incoming calls, AudioCodes SAS function supports the grouping of agents to offer a form of temporary localized Automatic Call Distribution (ACD). This feature allows agents to be grouped by role, language capabilities etc., thus ensuring that calls can be routed to an available agent most qualified to handle the call, even when main contact center servers are unreachable.
In addition to deploying AudioCodes Media Gateways, E-SBCs and MSBGs, Lenovo selected AudioCodes high definition IP Phones to equip its contact center agents with an excellent quality of voice. AudioCodes has already deployed several hundred 300HD IP Phones at various Lenovo sites.
The efforts of Orange, AudioCodes, Genesys and other partners in the project have enabled Lenovo to achieve their goal of moving from an outsourced service operation to a fully in-house managed operation within a few months.
The first stage of the project was completed in October 2011 with the successful commissioning of the two main sites at Beijing and Raleigh, along with remote sites in Germany, Hong Kong and the USA. The first phase of the deployment has provided support for 500 of Lenovo’s contact center agents. Plans are already in place for phase 2, which will see new sites being added in Colombia, India, the Philippines and Japan, bringing the total number of agents up to 900. Future phases will expand the network even further, supporting more countries and thousands of agents.