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Award of multi-million pound project by British Airways

Cisco Systems and Prime Business Solutions (“Prime”) today announced a major network convergence project for British Airways, one of the world’s largest international airlines, to improve communications for 14,000 office and airport staff. This project marks the sale of Cisco’s five millionth Internet Protocol (IP) telephone. The telephone system is being developed and implemented by Cisco Gold Certified Partner, Prime, and will be the largest of its kind in the airline industry worldwide.

The multi-million pound IP telephony (IPT) system based on Cisco technology is expected to pay for itself within two years by reducing costs and improving productivity through the integration of all voice and data communications onto a single network.

The IPT system will allow British Airways to remove the cost of inter-office telephone calls and will streamline the management and provisioning of telephony services throughout the company. However, one of the key business benefits will come from improved employee communications by extending Employee Self Service (ESS) applications, which will include the delivery of Web-based employee services and digitized audio messages to Cisco IP phones on demand.

“British Airways is confident the new IP telephony platform from Cisco and Prime will deliver benefits to our staff, making communications easier and more accessible,” said Paul Coby, Chief Information Officer, British Airways. “We needed to replace our legacy phone system in Terminal 4 at Heathrow and this new IP telephony systems gives us the flexibility and functionality to run a busy airport terminal at significantly lower costs base than the old legacy system. In addition we now have the potential to integrate IP telephony as a means of delivering access and information to all our staff on our award winning Employee Self Service environment. Although we are only starting to exploit the capabilities of IP telephony, we can see considerable opportunities for empowering both our staff and supporting our customers better. ”

The networked capabilities of Cisco’s IP phones will make the relocation of communications services quicker and easier, for example, when staff have to move due to a last-minute boarding gate change.

“Reaching this Cisco five-millionth-phone landmark is evidence of accelerating momentum for IP telephony that is supported by industry analyst comments that this technology has crossed the ‘chasm’,” said Chris Dedicoat, Senior Vice President of Sales in EMEA, Cisco Systems. “It’s exciting to be working with British Airways, because the company’s strong focus on customer service is driving its vision to deliver really innovative services for communications and information.”

“Voice and data convergence is the core business of Prime and we are delighted to have been awarded this high profile contract against stiff competition. Our close relationship with Cisco was clearly a key factor. British Airways has recognised the business benefits offered by the technology and we very much look forward to working together to enable British Airways to further improve efficiencies through the implementation of some of the most sophisticated voice systems available to the airline industry,” said Matt Franklin, Managing Director of Prime Business Solutions.

British Airways is deploying a total of 8,500 Cisco IP phones with Cisco CallManager call processing software and Cisco MeetingPlace conferencing application over a Cisco Ethernet network. The project will be completed in March 2006.

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