AT&T (quote - news - alert) just announced today it scored a squeaky clean deal with Whirlpool Corp. (quote) that will earn the telecom a networking contract of about $16 million. Over the next three years, AT&T will be providing the home appliance manufacturing giant with a full range of networking services including an Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network (IP VPN), toll-free services, long-distance, high-speed Internet access connection, and business continuity services.
The new VPN will encompass more than 140 Whirlpool locations across Europe and the United States and also provides a standardized technology platform that enables Whirlpool to gain operating efficiencies while lowering its investment costs. Whirlpool’s retail brands include Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Bauknecht, Consul and Roper.
The VPN's real-time online collaboration capabilities have already helped the company’s European and U.S.-based designers and engineers, for example, speed development of the Whirlpool Duet clothes washer and dryer that successfully integrated European front-load technology with a striking design for U.S. consumers—so, basically thanks to this deal, I’ve been pretty busy trying to figure out this high-tech piece of equipment that sits in my next generation, state-of-the-art, front-loaded laundry room! I thought that being the only female techie in the house would help me with this task. Thank God for old-fashioned printed instruction manuals!
"Our industry is increasingly competitive as European and Asian manufacturers extend their brands around the globe," said Greg Schooley, Whirlpool Vice President for Global Shared Technology Services. "To stay ahead of the competition, we need a reliable and highly advanced global networking solution that supports our complex engineering and business processes. AT&T has the global reach and the history of reliability and innovation that meet our needs."
According to the agreement, the VPN will provide Whirlpool employees secure high-speed online access to corporate databases and proprietary apps, including customer relationship management (CRM) and manufacturing and supply chain systems; and will allow the company to converge its voice and data networking platform by deploying Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services in the future.
AT&T will also upgrade the AT&T ACCU-Ring Network Access Service that links four Whirlpool locations in Benton Harbor, MI. The ACCU-Ring's self-healing capabilities help ensure financial, CRM and business data can flow securely and uninterrupted among the locations.
Additionally, AT&T’s says its solution, provided under an existing Virtual Telecommunications Network Service (VTNS) contract, will provide Whirlpool with discounts across all services. The company will use the AT&T BusinessDirect portal—an online tool that provides real-time reports on network performance and direct access to AT&T's ordering, status, inventory, trouble management and billing systems.
|Johanne Torres is contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was
assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She
can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.