Georgia shopping for telephony system

Accessing files, services and phone messages while on the road or at a client's

office may soon be an option for Georgia state employees once the Information

Technology office decides on an Internet telephony system.

The state is running a series of Internet telephony lab trials to determine

which company and system will best suit the state's needs.

"We are testing an array of Internet telephony programs from a variety

of vendors," said Michael Clark, a Department of Acquisition Services spokesman.

"We are considering internalizing, outsourcing and out-tasking services."

As part of the trial, BellSouth and Nortel Networks will begin implementing

a Centrex IP network in the second quarter of 2000. Centrex, a voice-over-IP,

will allow Georgia state employees to "place voice, data and video applications

over the same local-area network that links employees' computers," said

Doug Springfield, assistant vice president of product management for networking

services at BellSouth.

The Centrex IP could be deployed over the state's current network and

allows for multimedia conferencing, unified messaging and Internet-enabled

call centers from a variety of locations. The network would use media gateways

to bridge the voice and network packets.

The state expects to make a decision on what system to use after July.

The procurement and information technology offices are waiting for legislation

to pass that would form an Information Technology Authority to establish

statewide standards.

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