SOA/Web Services

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March 14, 2008

Seaport Hotel Improves Guest Services with BlueNote Networks' SessionSuite SOA Edition

By Anshu Shrivastava, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Seaport Hotel created a service called Seaportal using BlueNote’s Networks’ SessionSuite SOA Edition solution. The hotel created its service without having to perform any to existing voice and data network infrastructure.
Seaportal was designed to provide information about the Seaport Hotel events and facilities, along with direct voice calling services through a touch-screen Web portal, to guests.
BlueNote Networks’ (News - Alert) SessionSuite SOA Edition integrates IP telephony with Web Services, enabling any organization to embed voice into any business application, including portals.
The management at the Seaport Hotel needed a unified communications solution deliverable via a Web portal. The management expected this portal to not only provide one-stop-shopping for information about the hotel, and its events and services, but also provide guests with e-mail access, and local and long-distance calling services.
The staff determined that a Web-based, service oriented architecture (SOA) would need to form the foundation for delivering this “high-value guest experience,” according to a case study.
However, the desire to add VoIP services was constrained by the existing TDM-based PBX (News - Alert)/telephone system, which the company found too expensive to upgrade or replace.
Explaining the rational behind choosing BlueNote’s SessionSuite SOA Edition, John Burke, vice president of technology at Seaport, explained: “VoIP capabilities were a mandatory requirement for phase I of the Seaportal and BlueNote’s SOA approach enabled us to design, build, implement and integrate this technology into our application without the need to overhaul our existing PBX and guest-room phones.”
He also said that with BlueNote’s SessionSuite SOA Edition, his company integrated IP telephony service into the Seaportal using Web Service APIs.
“The low cost, high-value addition to our infrastructure was accomplished using existing developers, without the need for specialized telephony expertise,” he added in the case study.
The SessionSuite SOA Edition Web Service APIs gave provided Seaport’s IT staff with the ability to initiate phone calls using simple “Create Session” XML/SOAP messages. Also, the entire PBX infrastructure along with hotel phones remained in place; SessionSuite is able to initiate calls between existing rooms and service phones, and also the PSTN and the Internet.
No changes were required in the PBX dial plan or route table. The case study explained that long-distance calls from hotel guests are routed to a VoIP service provider by SessionSuite, affording a savings of up to 80 percent over previous long-distance costs.
As a result, the hotel now promotes complimentary VoIP service as a “competitive differentiator without incurring any additional costs for VoIP phones or upgrades necessary to support them.”
All phone calls, both inside and outside the hotel, can be now initiated from the Seaportal screen using a softphone-like dialer or speed dial icons for hotel or partner services. Plus, the IT staff plans to migrate all of the hotel voice services to a software-only solution using standard off-the-shelf servers, eliminating the need to pay PBX maintenance and support fees.
By voice-enabling Seaportal using SessionSuite, Seaport Hotel also provides direct calling capabilities to various featured guest services, such as room service, and also complimentary local and domestic long-distance calls over the Internet—all from a touch screen display.
“Seaportal’s launch has gone very smoothly. The feedback has been tremendous, and we feel it’s a real competitive advantage for us,” Burke said.  
He estimated that the cost to implement Seaportal would have been four times higher if it were not for SessionSuite’s ability to integrate with the existing voice and data network infrastructure.

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Convergence in Telecommunication, brought to you by Comarch (News - Alert).

Anshu Shrivastava is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anshu’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

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