Boeing installing Internet phone call network

Boeing Co. is committing to one of the emerging technologies that government customers continue to evaluate.

Cisco Systems Inc. of San Joe, Calif., announced today that Chicago-based defense and aerospace contractor has chosen its telephony gear to deploy voice over IP throughout Boeing's global operations, spanning more than 150,000 employees in 70 countries.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Boeing has been testing VoIP since July 2001 as part of an initiative to merge voice, data and video into a single communications network. It currently has about 4,500 Cisco IP phone installed in several U.S. offices. A companywide rollout is expected to take up to seven years to complete.

"Recent advances in technology and product innovation have overcome many of the obstacles inhibiting the convergence of Boeing's voice and data networks," said Christopher Kent, vice president of computing and network operations in Boeing's Shared Services Group.

Kent said Boeing will incorporate VoIP into its next-generation network in order to reduce overall infrastructure costs and facilitate worker mobility.

VoIP proponents point out that the technology can also reduce management burdens. For example, it is easy to move an IP phone to a new location on the network, reducing the need for IT staff to help add or move phones around an office.

Cisco has seen growing demand for its VoIP solutions. In April, the company announced it had shipped 3 million IP phones.

With 2003 prime federal IT revenue of $3.4 billion, Boeing ranked No. 4 on Washington Technology's 2004 Top 100 list, which measures federal contracting revenue.

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