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HairSpray's Tracy Turnblad Would Be Upset at Baltimore Over Disagreement that Results in No VoIP Switches
August 01, 2012
By Jamie Epstein, TMCnet Web Editor
VoIP switches are extremely important in powering an innovative and highly scalable SIP platform that offers a variety of VoIP services directly to customers. Therefore, you would assume that a major metropolis such as Baltimore, Md., the location of one of my favorite plays ever and now a movie HairSpray, would take advantage of this offering.
However, it doesn’t look that way as just recently Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and other members of the city's Board of Estimates voted a unanimous “no” to a $7.4 million contract with IBM (News - Alert) that would enable the city’s offices to integrate voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) phones due to the fact that she believes she first needs to see increased collaboration between the Municipal Telephone Exchange, a division of Comptroller Joan Pratt's office, and the Mayor's Office of Information Technology.
Not only helping to increase the quality of important calls made to city officials and citizens, but also a solution that would cut costs by around millions of dollars a year, without full participation from the workers responsible for managing Baltimore's computer network it is likely these switches won’t be used to their full advantage.
According to a recent article featured in The Baltimore Sun, “Pratt is not without responsibility in this matter; she is clearly interested in maintaining a part of her fiefdom, even if technology is moving away from the area in which her employees have the most expertise. But, Rawlings-Blake has exacerbated what might have been a minor conflict by allowing her administration to embark on what appears to be an ad hoc replacement of the system without the comptroller's participation or knowledge and then providing less than complete answers when confronted about it.”
Wasting over 12 months gathering both proposals and deciding upon a contract to implement the VoIP switches and next-generation system overall, now replaced Information Technology Chief, Rico Singleton advised Pratt to spearhead the vital project but she ultimately decided against it. Yet, there seems to have been a miscommunication of some kind as the Mayor's Office of Information Technology already went ahead and took the steps necessary to acquire the equipment needed to get the project underway.
The piece added, “After Pratt confronted the mayor about the matter, Rawlings-Blake denied that her administration did anything wrong. Her explanation, bolstered by an opinion from City Solicitor George Nilson, a mayoral appointee, is that the city bought 80 VoIP phones as part of a pilot project through a contract that was competitively bid.”
This then prompted administration officials to reveal that the switches originally intended for this new phone system are now being used in other ways.
Be sure to stay tuned exclusively to the VoIP Switch channel, sponsored by Sippy Software on TMCnet for the latest developments to this story!
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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