Phone Upgrade Will Serve Up Larger Improvements for City

The upgrade for the city on the Ohio-Kentucky border will allow for better security, call queuing and mobile workforce capabilities along with better functionality for managing Internet use.

by Carly Carver, The Daily Independent / May 6, 2019

(TNS) — The Ashland, Ky., Board of Commissioners has detailed the full scope of a phone system upgrade project and the infrastructure behind it.

The board approved a first reading and approval of an ordinance at a recent meeting authorizing a change order of $24,875.69 for the purchase and installation of an active directory system for the connection of the new technology infrastructure. The fiscal note adds that the project budget will accommodate the change order amount.

“This is in addition to the $249,000 that was approved before,” City Manager Michael Graese said. “This will take our monthly savings down $507 a month.”

Graese said the improvements are more than a phone system upgrade.

“This has huge impacts on our ability to be secure,” Graese said. “We get call queuing, call parking, call routing, mobile workforce — which allows constant remote accessibility to voicemail by city workers — and an expandable unified system at every SOL location, but the bottom line is that this is required to have the full capabilities on the system.”

“I think there is a misconception that we’re spending $275,000 on new phones and it’s far beyond new phones,” said Commissioner Amanda Clark.

Scott Martin, one of the project leaders with Network Innovation Solutions, spoke at the meeting to clarify what exactly the city is spending the money on outside of just phone systems. NIS, based in Huntington, is the company leading the project to complete a Whole Internet Network Solutions.

“The phone system really is like the icing on the cake on everything else we’re doing,” Martin said. “We’re actually building an infrastructure with networking. That’s what this server is addressing.”

Martin said there are 17 facilities the company is wiring, with 15 completed to date. The Ashland Police Department and City Building are the two remaining facilities to complete. Graese said this is a 60-month contract.

“For the first time you’ll have real network, real security, and you have an infrastructure you’ve never had,” Martin said.

Tyrone Perry and Chris Starkey are engineers with NIS who also spoke at the meeting to answer questions on the specifics of the WINS system.

“You will have connectivity throughout all the sites,” Perry said. “It will also be centralized. It will secure your systems.”

Perry said they are also creating a server upgrade and risk assessments.

“You’ll have an Internet usage policy, where these kind of sites are appropriate and these are not,” Perry said. “We’ll help you implement that.”

Perry said that they will have inner department training for all employees including elected officials to use the new technology.

“What percentage of the $275,000 that we are authorizing is for the safety and securing and bone vs. the actual phone system?” Commissioner Matt Perkins said.

“As part of our Whole Internet Network Systems (WINS) Unified Communication Project, this has always been more than just phone system upgrades, approximately 40 percent ($109,691) goes towards phone-specific (hardware, software) and 60 percent towards the core network (servers, fiber),” Graese said. “Of course, you can’t separate the two as they are intertwined for functionality.”

©2019 The Daily Independent (Ashland, Ky.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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