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October 22, 2007

Avaya and ObjectTel Deliver Converged Voice, Data and Radio Network to BNSF Railway

By Anshu Shrivastava, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Avaya (News - Alert) and ObjectTel have delivered converged voice, data and radio network to BNSF Railway.

Both the companies stated that they are helping the BNSF Railway company to communicate with more than 1,100 radios used by train and trackside maintenance workers across BNSF's rail network in 28 states and two Canadian provinces.
At present, BNSF operates one of the largest rail networks in North America. BNSF was formed after the merger between Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroads. The company stated that at the time of merger each company had its own dedicated radio network to keep in touch with the rail network crew.
Indicating that communicating with workers on trains and at trackside is critical to safety, John Hicks, director of telecommunications at BNSF, said that neither network could be scaled to handle the combined size of the new company’s workload, and the propriety technology made the systems unable to interoperate.
“We needed a critical solution that could help us immediately and reliably communicate, whether one-to-one or with teams of individuals all at once,” added Hicks in a press release.
Intelligent communications applications from Avaya were used for IP telephony, advanced telephony, advanced conferencing, computer-telephony integration and management of multimedia customer contacts. In addition, ObjectTel has created an interoperable CLASSONE Dispatch radio-to-telephone solution.
“CLASSONE and our other systems and technology investments are enabling significant improvements in the way BNSF dispatches trains,” said Jeff Campbell, vice president of technology services and CIO at BNSF.
BNSF has replaced multiple radio and voice system by a single infrastructure—Avaya Meeting Exchange conferencing and messaging—for company wide communications. A single company contact center consolidates help desk support, wayside maintenance, crew management and remote dispatch.  
The company pointed out that since radio calls are treated like regular phone calls, any phone on the network can dial any radio, and radios can be used to dial wired or wireless phone.  
“Since our network is based on open standards, we can easily add new capabilities and applications to support our business,” Hicks said.
BNSF has an existing converged voice and data network for its main corporate campus and call centers in Fort Worth, Texas, and Topeka, Kansas.
Anshu Shrivastava is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To see more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.


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