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Telecom Gains: Sobha Developers upgrades its communications set-up

March 29, 2013
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Founded in 1995, Sobha Developers has been involved in the development of residential as well as contractual projects. The company has a presence in 22 cities and 13 states across the country. Valued at Rs 15 billion, Sobha Developers had completed 79 real estate projects and 209 contractual projects as of March 2012. At present, over 38 residential projects and 47 contractual projects are at various stages of construction.

Deploying the latest technology has been a priority for the company. It has built its telecom infrastructure in a phased manner over five years. This exercise was undertaken with the objectives of reducing the network response time as well as optimising operations.

tele.net traces the development of the company’s communication network...

Communications infrastructure

According to Venkata Sudhir, associate vice-president, process and IT, Sobha Developers, the company used point-to-point links to connect its project sites to its data centre for around four years. In 2006, it began utilising leased lines as links to its metropolitan area network (MAN) for all projects. Various wireless technologies were used for last mile access on this network.

Thereafter, the company switched from a local area network extender to other wireless technologies to connect its site offices and stores. In 2007, Sobha Developers implemented multi-protocol label switching to connect its outstation offices. With the aim of achieving better control on various processes and systems used, the company further developed its communications network. “Another important aim was to ensure overall efficient administration,” says Sudhir.

At present, the company’s telecom network comprises multiple technologies, each catering to a specific requirement. The bandwidth of the overall network is 1-10 MB, depending on the location. Sobha Developers continues to use leased lines as links to its MAN and wireless technologies as last mile access solutions. Further, it uses wireless routers and access points for its wireless technology-based network and a virtual private network (VPN)-based system for mobile users to connect to the company’s corporate network.

Several mobility solutions have also been deployed. The construction major extensively uses devices such as BlackBerry phones, iPhones and iPads across the organisation for communication. Moreover, it utilises audio-conferencing solutions sourced from Clearone and Polycom, and videoconferencing products from Polycom and LifeSize. It has also established an IP-electronic private automatic branch exchange (EPABX) for audio communication, and a voice-logger facility for recording sales enquiries.

In addition, Sobha Developers uses an IP-based surveillance system comprising closed-circuit television, pan-tilt-zoom and day-night vision cameras, public announcement systems, and other IT tools and equipment.

Challenges and benefits

According to Sudhir, though the company did not face major challenges while deploying new infrastructure, there were some vendor-related issues. “Deploying the network was relatively easy, as each solution was evaluated through proof of concept. However, training the employees to use this network was a major challenge. After implementation, training was not undertaken effectively as the vendor did not provide the required plans and material,” he notes.

However, Sudhir says that the benefits far outweigh the challenges faced. “Deploying appropriate technologies makes global communication more efficient and economical. It helps the company conduct visual meetings online. It also helps our sales and marketing teams to connect with customers in an efficient way. In addition, it allows customers to check the status of projects and payment details through various mediums,” says Sudhir.

Going forward, the company intends to continue deploying the latest technologies. It is planning to deploy a range of mobile applications, which would enable it to provide updates on various projects to customers through their mobile devices. Sobha Developers is also implementing a two-step authentication process for mobile users to connect to its corporate network through VPNs, and plans to integrate its current IP-based EPABX system with the voice logger to ensure that every incoming call is attended to.

Net, net, modern technologies have helped the company modernise its operations and reach its customers in a more efficient manner.

 
 
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