Taxi firm Addison Lee has deployed a network fabric solution from Avaya, helping increase infrastructure resilience and reduce the time needed to deploy new applications and services.
Speaking at the IP Expo trade event in London, Addison Lee CTO Peter Ingram told attendees how the Avaya technology helped the company set up a suite of applications at very short notice after being awarded a large contract.
“We recently won a tender where we had a three-month roll out plan in place. But as it turned out the incumbent supplier - as soon as they caught wind of what was happening - couldn’t survive, as they were financially unstable,” he said.
“So we had literally a matter of hours to deploy an end-to-end solution - new website, new booking portal for 20,000 employees around the UK. It was quite challenging, but we were able to do it. We could deploy, profile, secure an end-to-end deployment for all of their staff to book cabs around the UK. It was quite a challenging situation to be in - one I wouldn’t want to repeat too quickly.”
Completing the same task would have been possible with legacy technology, but would have taken “weeks, not hours” he said.
Ingram added that the use of the network fabric technology meant that company could add new capacity quickly and easily, rather than requiring a wholesale replacement of legacy systems.
“We didn’t have to ‘fork-lift’ upgrade, we didn’t have to throw out hardware, we just deployed using the fabric solution,” he said.
“It just made everything very easy - it was more of an upgrade situation.”
As well as speed of application deployment, the fabric solution has delivered a number of other benefits. With 10 million journeys each year in London alone - many of which are booked through mobile apps - the company needs to provde real-time services and avoid any downtime, Ingram explained.
“If you book a cab you want it now, so we can’t have the systems go down. We have to deliver. In the same way as that there are no maintenance windows, it is 24/7 with real time applications, they have to be switched on. It is a very challenging environment,” he said.
In addition, the technology has helped reduce staffing costs and offer greater flexibility, enabling a large number of staff to manage the company’s network systems.
“With all of the challenges in place, it certainly made sense to be building systems that are easily deployed - we are having to have highly trained skills within the IT department which is costly,” he said.
“We wanted to de-risk the business with regards to not having a single person who knows all of the answers.”