Texas points to phone, data merge
- By Matt Caterinicchia
- Jun 17, 2002
Texas officials announced plans last week to upgrade the telephone system
that serves the state capitol complex in Austin, setting the stage for a
merged telephone and data networking system.
The implementation of Dallas-based Intecom Inc.'s PointSpan system —
a communications and call center engine with the ability to manage up to
1.5 million telephone calls per hour — is under way, according to the company.
Employees will be moved to the new system during the next five months,
and the 20,000-port system will organize Texas state agencies into a distributed
PointSpan is designed to allow an organization to blend its telephone
and data networks into one network, enabling the transmission of all communication
via IP. Texas also will use Intecom's Centergy software to manage several
call center applications already used in many state agencies.
The state has been using Intecom telephone equipment for more than 15
years, and the upgrade is intended to handle the growing number of state
employees and their changing communications needs.
Eddie Esquivel, director of the Telecommunications Services Division
in the Texas Department of Information Resources, said the major difference
between the old system and the PointSpan system is improved manageability.
"Because we had been working with four different databases, it required
a lot of manpower to manage all of that as we made changes to the system,"
he said. "Now, we have a system that moves all of that information onto
a single database."
Furthermore, Esquivel explained, "The PointSpan system has the ability
to automatically make changes to the voice mail system when we implement
a change to one of our customers." This will reduce the time spent on database
management and support, he said.
The Texas Public Finance Authority financed the $3.9 million contract,
and the investment will be recouped by charging agencies that use the new
Once the system is fully operational this fall, the department plans
to implement voice over IP.
"There will be some hardware investment needed for this task, such as
IP station sets and local-area network enhancements to make it work," Esquival