Motorsport firm replaces ageing comms with cloud telephony
Motorsport consultancy Prodrive has picked a cloud telephony system from UK newcomer nconnect to help it through a major office move and provide enhanced communications capabilities for its teams at racing circuits around the world.Prodrive was established by former professional rally co-driver David Richards, who won the World Rally Championship alongside Finland’s Ari Vatanen in 1981.
Since setting up as a motorsport consultancy in 1984, Prodrive has managed rally teams for the likes of Porsche and Subaru, British Touring Cars, the European Le Mans Series and, for the 2004 season, the BAR Formula 1 team, which following a couple of changes of ownership now races as Mercedes AMG Petronas. It currently manages the Aston Martin Racing team, and Mini Rallying.
The firm is transitioning to a new-build facility in Banbury, explained Prodrive head of IT, Michael Cloete, and as a result is consolidating 12 different buildings into one 110,000 square foot facility.
As part of that, he said, Prodrive looked at how to re-evaluate and move an “ageing and antiquated” telephony infrastructure.
“We had evolved it over many years into something very clunky, almost to the point of being completely unmanageable,” Cloete told Computer Weekly. “We couldn’t benefit from advances in technology, so we had to look for a replacement solution.”
Nconnect came up with the goods, said Cloete, both on price, substantially below the six-figure sums Prodrive was quoted for on-premise, and the elimination of the need for on-premise hardware: “Embedded hardware wasn’t actually going to solve our relocation problem,” Cloete pointed out. The 400-strong company went live on nconnect in July, reporting minimal downtime in the process. Besides capital expenditure reductions associated with the move to cloud, Prodrive has also reported benefits for its racing teams when working abroad.
Previously, said Cloete, a typical race scenario saw a multitude of mobile phones having to be set up with roaming add-ons, which was becoming a tedious administrative exercise. Now, handsets can be configured to an engineer’s profile, meaning they can use the same extension as they move around the world.
Nconnect will also be extended across mobile devices, with iPhone and Android users able to download an app associated with their profile to enable them to make and receive calls at trackside as if they were in the office.
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Microsoft Office 2016 will arrive later this year
Microsoft finally revealed more details about Windows 10 this week, among them new touch-centric versions of its popular Office apps.
Today, the company took to the Office blog to share some additional info – and to reveal that the next version, Office 2016, is scheduled to be released in the second half of 2015. The new Office apps are universal, offering a unified experience across smartphones, tablets and desktop and laptop PCs, Microsoft has demonstrated.
“Over the past 12 months, you’ve seen us reimagine the traditional Office experience for a mobile-first, cloud-first world,” Microsoft Office Product Management General Manager Julia White wrote in the post.
“The next step in this journey is the delivery of touch and mobile optimized versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook for Windows 10,” she continued.
The apps will be installed out of the box on phones and small tablets (meaning sub-8-inches), and available as a download on other devices. In addition they’ll will be available with the next Windows 10 Technical Preview, arriving “in the coming weeks.” article found here.