.House of Travel CIO Dave Veronese says the company has improved staff performance and reduced costs since moving from a traditional communications system to a combination of Gen-i Voice Connect and Microsoft Lync 2013.\nVoice Connect is Gen-i\u2019s Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) voice communication service that delivers high audio quality, connects with either an in-house or hosted PBX and can be readily integrated with other ICT services.\n\u201cWhen we first looked at switching to Voice Connect and deploying Lync as our corporate PBX, there were few other organisations in New Zealand that had made the transition,\u201d says Veronese. \u201cWhile that puts us at the bleeding edge of new technologies, it does give access to the very latest functionality and ensures we are able to take advantage of new releases and advances for many years to come.\u201d\nHe says staff in the House of Travel stores particularly appreciate the removal of clunky desk phones. These have largely been replaced by wireless Bluetooth VoIP headsets for a more tidy and modern workspace. They also benefit from the growing use of video conferencing that Voice Connect supports.\n\u201cOur staff are enjoying the mobility and flexibility that comes with this new way of working, such as being able to work from home, participate in video meetings remotely and easily make calls while travelling,\u201d says Veronese.\nHouse of Travel operates under a joint venture business model, with Veronese\u2019s team providing ICT services that support 1150 people across 80 sites, including retail stores, corporate division Orbit Travel, online sales and the central holdings company.\nIn 2013, he converged all of the business\u2019 IT and telecommunications contracts and negotiated a group solution that would reduce cost and allow them to quickly roll out new technologies.\nFollowing a competitive tender, House of Travel renewed its voice, mobile and data services contract with Gen-i in January 2013, and extended their long standing relationship by another three years.\nThe contract supplements an existing contract with Revera, now part of Gen-i, for its data centre hosting in Christchurch and Auckland.\nVeronese says more stores are expected to use the new new voice and unified communications platform. \u201cWe met our target of migrating 100 users by the end of 2013, and expect to easily exceed our target of 350 users by the end of 2014.\u201d\nFollow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz\nSign up for CIO newsletters for regular updates on CIO news, views and events.\nJoin us on Facebook.