Integrator engineers mobile success

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System integrator Rosser Communication has rolled out remote access software for global engineer Sinclair Knight Merz, enabling its 700 mobile staff to access company resources in 150 countries.

Sinclair Knight Merz awarded the tender--to install a new network access system to replace the old dial-up communications used by its mobile engineering staff--to the Sydney-based integrator in November.

Tim Rosser, managing director at Rosser Communication, said the company would provide and support iPass remote access software in the one-year deal, which was the biggest the company had done in what it believed was a growth market.

“They're the biggest iPass customer we've got. It's great because they were the existing customer of a telco who they didn't want to [go on with]. This is a better solution at a cheaper price for them...and provides recurring revenue for us,” Rosser said. “[This remote access market] is growing very rapidly to date. It took a hit with SARS and over Christmas but it could double in 12 months.”

Rosser said ongoing revenue from its iPass remote access customers started at about $100 a month, but now totals $50,000 a month. The US-based parent company of iPass has 20,000 points of presence in 150 countries, including many in the former Eastern bloc, Africa, and the Americas. “Some of these places I haven't even heard of,” he said.

John Miller, information systems technology manager for Sinclair Knight Merz in Australia, said iPass would enable the company's itinerant engineering staff to access the company network more quickly, easily and cheaply than before, saving 50 percent of dial-up communication costs, totalling $400,000 to $500,000 a year for the company.

The previous system cost Sinclair Knight Merz up to $US22 per hour, Miller said. “The Rosser-iPass solution offers convergence, cost benefits and ease of use and we can now provide reliable access to the corporate network from anywhere in the world,” he said. “We have lots of virtual teams, knitting together our best knowledge, built over collaborative applications all internal to our network.”

Instead of trying to find a phone, fax or dial-up connection that works, engineers temporarily based in locations such as Nicaragua, Antarctica or Russia would be able to communicate in real-time. Its team members were involved in more than 1000 Sinclair Knight Merz' projects across the world at any one time, he said.

“We're also now saving our engineers up to two hours a day in dial-up support activities, enabling them to focus on other duties,” Miller said. The iPass client is connected to a Cisco VPN client, to enable access to corporate infrastructure and services including document and information sharing, e-mail and spreadsheets.

“We evaluated three packages but chose Rosser for their fast ROI and ease of integration with our existing systems. While other organisations proposed a managed environment, Rosser used Cisco 3000 series VPN gateways which we could then manage in-house providing us with the very best security for authentication,” Miller said.

Twenty-year-old private company Rosser Communication turns over about $3 million in revenue annually, with 15 staff in three Australian offices. The integrator has about 300 customers, according to Rosser.


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