Crime Commission looks to $2.2m comms overhaul

Standardised VoIP and HD videoconferencing on the cards for all national offices

The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) will spend an estimated $2.2 million over three years to overhaul its unified communications and upgrade videoconferencing systems across the country.

The ACC is looking to form a panel of providers to provide various aspects of the system through a three year contract, with options to extend to five years. The panel will seek to add three more videoconferencing rooms in the agency’s Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra offices, while also extending videoconferencing opportunities to smaller meeting rooms where necessary.

The commission is also looking to replace its Polycom-based videoconferencing equipment with a unified bridge for both audio and video-based conferencing, with plans for 15 simultaneous high-definition video streams routed through the agency’s infrastructure nationally.

“The ACC intends to replace its room-based Video Conferencing capability in the short term and take this opportunity to position itself for an integrated and more comprehensive Unified Communications solution,” documents from the agency read.

The agency will use existing Microsoft Outlook email systems to book the conferences among employees.

The videoconferencing would be used to communicate across offices, as well as remote examinations of cases. For the mean time, however, the examinations will be recorded in analogue, with plans to record three audio streams simultaneous for each participant in a case, with rough plans to move to digital sometime in the future.

According to tender documents for the government organisation, the ACC already has a unified communications system comprising email, instant messaging, presence and secure telephony. However, it is looking to implement Microsoft Office Communicator for unified communications department-wide, with a key focus on presence and instant messaging, available on both desktops and BlackBerry devices where applicable.

The organisation will overhaul its IP-based telephony - currently based on a proprietary NEC protocol that isn’t inter-operable with other VoIP solutions - with plans for a standardised SIP-based PABX trunk for off-net telephony capabilities. The system will fold into Office Communicator as well as Microsoft Active Directory for voicemail and outbound calls.

The new systems will be routed through the agency’s existing IP and server infrastructure, which largely operates in a Citrix-based virtualised environment, with servers deployed in Canberra and Sydney-based data centres.

"The ACC intends to operate a continual refresh program to sustain, replace/upgrade and enhance this environment in line with business needs, available funding and the maintainability of the infrastructure," organisation documents read.

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