News Release

The Eden Project Adopts Converged Communications Platform From BT And Cisco Systems

IP System Cuts Communications Cost and Turns Information into Knowledge at the 'Theatre of Life'
May 28, 2003

LONDON, May 28, 2003 - BT Convergent Solutions (BT CS) and Cisco Systems today announced the roll-out of a new IP Telephony system for the Eden Project, the UK's third most successful visitor attraction and Cornish home to the largest geodesic conservatories, or biomes, in the world. Deployment of the new system will generate #500,000 in new service revenues for BT CS.

The IP Communications system has been designed to deliver the framework for one of the country's richest e-learning experiences, and provide the basis for introducing operational benefits such as instant communications to staff across multiple platforms including PDAs and mobile phones.

As a magnet for tourists, the Eden Project's visionary approach to extending its reach beyond just its visitors required a system to provide innovative new services such as e-learning for schools across the country so they can all remotely access this 'theatre of life'. Operationally, the converged technology was to also cut communications costs and improve employee productivity.

The IP Communications system, deployed by BT CS, incorporates Cisco Catalyst switches, delivering IP-based data and voice services over a Local Area Network (LAN) using the fibre-optic cabling that was installed as part of the original construction of the site. Overall, around 250 Eden Project PCs, as well as 288 IP Telephony handsets, utilise the converged network.

IP Telephony is the first application that has been deployed across this converged voice and data network and replaces the existing telephone system that was unable to cope with the volume of incoming calls and management of internal traffic that was the by-product of the Eden Project's rapid success.

In addition, to help ensure business continuity and resilient communications, BT CS installed two Cisco Call Managers in separate parts of the Eden complex.

Looking forward, the Eden Project aims to harness the capabilities of the converged communications platform with new internet-enabled intelligent communications that can offer both enhanced productivity and reduced operational costs.

These include:

  • E-learning classroom sessions with schools across the country
  • New web cams in the geodesic biomes to allow people to access The Eden Project remotely from the desktop
  • XML applications to facilitate mobile communications, and new workflow management systems for staff rosters, expenses and procurement
  • Global connectivity to educational establishments, research institutions and companies for real time collaboration and knowledge sharing

The XML applications embedded within the IP network, for example, are designed to allow the Eden Project to communicate daily activity programmes to the PDAs and mobiles of operational staff instantly, including last-minute changes to rosters that may be caused by sickness or conflicting priorities. Dubbed 'Mayfly', because the programme lasts for just one day, the XML-based application will transform Eden Project's operational effectiveness.

Howard Jones, head of organisational development at the Eden Project, said: "Thanks to BT and Cisco, The Eden Project now has a communications framework in place to transform information into knowledge. Our converged network enables us to share information effectively and develop a very flexible and powerful Knowledge Bank that can be accessed worldwide via the internet. In our view, open access to knowledge such as this is a force for democracy."

Simon Tilden, account manager, BT, said: "Our integration of voice, video and data services will enable the Eden Project to reduce the cost of business communications and significantly increase organisational agility during 2003."

Mike Adcock, account manager, Cisco Systems, commented: "This is a great example of how IP telephony can not only deliver cost savings but also enable businesses to prime themselves for offering enhanced services in the future."

BT CS' IP communications solution is based on Cisco's Architecture for Voice, Video and Integrated Data (AVVID). Cisco AVVID delivers the e-business infrastructure and intelligent network services that are essential for rapid deployment of emerging technologies and new internet business solutions.

BT is deploying Cisco Catalyst 6500 and 2950 series switches, Cisco Call Manager 3.3, Cisco Unity 4.0, Cisco PGW2200 voice gateways and Cisco 7960 series IP phones at the Eden Project to support this new infrastructure.


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