UC to the max, including voice: takeaways from our X-change with Astrid & KBC, 22 Nov 2016


Not every Unified Communications project is a matter of life and death, but that's how we started our X-change on Unified Communications!

BELTUG members can see the presentations here

(Due to the sensitive nature of the information in certain presentations, we may not publish them.)

Astrid is the telecoms operator exclusively for the Belgian emergency and public safety services, such as police, fire brigade and ambulance. Christophe Grégoire, COO at Astrid, gave us our first ‘real-life’ case of the day, laying out the challenges when taking an emergency call from a person in distress. The responder has to be able to determine:

  • The caller’s exact location
  • The caller’s identity
  • Whether the caller is disabled

And through it all, time is of the essence!

Christophe explained how unifying Astrid’s communication services and platforms helps answer many of these challenges, to create a more efficient, life-saving emergency service- something we can all get behind!

The presentation by Bart Pauwels, Manager Service Delivery at Nextel, was an excellent complement to Christophe’s. Bart explained what the future holds for UC. "Apps are not gadgets anymore: they are a fully integrated part of UC and of communication with your clients", he stated. Furthermore, UC is seen more and more as key to an organisation's customer and employee satisfaction.

What are the main success factors in a UC project?

  • The relationship (partnership) between vendor and customer
  • Efficient and transparent change communication towards the users
  • A strong project team

Next, we had a second real-life case, this time from KBC. Kristof Loots, ICT Architect at KBC, shared that the bank's path towards UC wasn't always a bed of roses: at times, it was quite challenging.  But the benefits are numerous and long-lasting.

The mindset of the people involved (management, IT, users) is very influential in the success of a UC project, Kristof explained. As one example, he described how some people tend to stick with their 'internal' (3-digit) phone number. But in a fully integrated UC platform, these have been replaced by SIP addresses. At times, this situation can cause frustration.  Kristof repeated Bart’s comment: communication is essential!

Kristof also predicted that UC has not yet reached its limits:

  • We can go further down the 'mobile road'
  • What will be the impact of the Data Protection regulation (GDPR)?
  • Customer interaction can be enhanced even more, especially via apps
  • What about integration with social media platforms?
  • And what is the future of phone numbers? Can we replace them with e-mail addresses?














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