Working with our customers and partners to solve a unique business challenge is one of the most rewarding aspects of the technology industry. In Canada, some of these unique challenges exist because of the sparse population density across our vast land. Such was the case with De Beers Canada.
De Beers Canada is part of the De Beers global family of companies, which produces approximately 35 per cent of the world’s supply of rough diamonds. They have mine sites across Canada, including in the Northwest Territories and Northern Ontario, and several corporate offices spread throughout the country, including Yellowknife, NT and the Ontario cities of Toronto, Timmins, Sudbury and Moosonee.
We’ve invited Wendell Ying, Director Solutions and Services, from iTMethods, our integration partner on this project for De Beers Canada, to discuss the challenges De Beers faced, and how they were able to solve them with Cisco technology:
One of the biggest challenges facing De Beers Canada was location. Many of their sites are isolated, making reliable and consistent communication between offices and operations a necessity. Making it more difficult, each site used a combination of terrestrial, microwave and satellite networks, meaning connectivity between sites was inconsistent at best. Employees found it difficult to effectively communicate and users travelling between sites were unable to do simple tasks such as access network files and email, or even communicate with family.
De Beers Canada wanted to unify the company on one set of communications tools so that employees could work together more efficiently, regardless of location. Basically, it needed a network solution that was reliable, flexible and scalable to meet evolving business needs.
We were called in and quickly assessed the network. As we suspected, we found many of the switches, routers, and firewalls to be out of date, with several points of failure.
We consulted with De Beers Canada and decided, because there was a mix of different vendor equipment in place, an end-to-end Cisco network and unified communications solution was needed. This would help guarantee the highest levels of consistency, reliability, security and end user experience.
The results were incredible. De Beers Canada’s new network now sports Cisco routers, switches and firewalls. For the endpoints, we equipped the company with Cisco 7900 Series IP phones as well as Cisco Call Manager – a scalable, enterprise-class IP communications processing system with advanced telephony capabilities such as mobility and presence. Four-digit dialling functions and a near-end to long distance charges between sites soon followed. Building on a stable and reliable network, De Beers’ endpoint coverage has recently been extended to seamlessly integrate WLAN coverage for major sites, securely enabling mobile workforce access for Wi-Fi enabled devices including laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Employees and contractors are working more effectively and mine sites are able to coordinate better thanks to stable Internet and IP infrastructure. These are crucial when some sites are only accessible for part of the year, and virtual communication is your employees’ only way home.
We’re pleased with the results thus far for De Beers Canada – a full network and IP review and overhaul is never a quick process, especially at multiple, remote sites – but with the scalable Cisco solutions they have in place we know they can continue to leverage technology to further drive their business across Canada.
Our thanks to Wendell Ying from iTMethods for contributing his thoughts on this project. Now we’d like to hear from you – give us your thoughts on this deployment, or another, by leaving a comment below.