NEC has won an $11 million contract to replace the ageing Telstra telephony systems running Victoria's triple-zero call-taking service.
The state's Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett announced the seven-year contract late last week. The signing represents an extra $2.5 million injection into the initiative, on top of the $8.5 million committed in the 2014 state budget.
In his October review of Victoria’s emergency services IT, Auditor-General John Doyle pointed to the “1980s technology” that supports routing and recording of the calls taken by the Emergency Services Telecommunications Agency (ESTA), which is contacted on average once every 13 seconds.
He said the ageing technology posed a risk to the reliability of the ESTA dispatch services. The Telstra product previously used by ESTA will not be supported by the telco beyond this year.
Under the new deal, NEC will install and maintain an entirely new triple-zero communications platform with call routing capabilities that ESTA hopes will address the increasing demand for the triple-zero service forecast in future years.
The deal covers all of ESTA's handsets, including SV9500 PABX units and the delivery of the Genesys call centre solution.
ESTA will have the capacity to re-route calls to different centres in times of peak demand and will deliver in-built surge management to meet call volumes during storms and other emergency events.
During the June 2014 storms, the ESTA reported queues of up to 136 calls and wait times of up to 13 minutes for requests for assistance from the SES. Some calls for police assistance were waiting for more than three minutes to be answered.
“Better integration between systems will streamline call-taking operations, reducing the need for manual data transfer, and improve reporting,” ESTA CEO Ken Shymanski said in a statement.