The family-run company KARL STORZ is one of the leading international manufacturers of endoscopes, endoscopic instruments and devices. The company is also the leading supplier of integrated solutions for the modern, networked operating theatre. More than 5,800 people are employed at the company’s headquarters in Tuttlingen and in the sales and marketing subsidiaries based worldwide, as well as in its production facilities. The distinctive international structure of the company and its strong growth dynamic demanded a new, VoIP-based telephone system.

For many years three conventional telecommunications systems carried out their job at the company’s headquarters in Tuttlingen. After a while it became increasingly difficult to provide modern telecommunication functions with the ageing systems and to keep step with the dynamic growth of the company. It was decided, therefore, to procure a new, cross-company communications system for KARL STORZ.

One reason for selecting voice-over IP technology by innovaphone was that it allowed both existing and new locations to be integrated easily and straightforwardly into the infrastructure – a serious advantage in light of the intrinsic dynamic of the medical technology firm. Thanks to the welcome growth of the KARL STORZ Group, many systems in the existing subsidiaries had to be expanded, while new locations needed to be integrated. The innovaphone PBX made a large impact with the possibility of “smooth migration”, with which the technology is introduced gradually, thus enabling existing telecommunications systems to be integrated into the new infrastructure in stages. Only when the existing maintenance contracts expire will the old system be replaced completely, and all functions will be transferred to the innovaphone PBX.

Christian Wolf, Information Services/Networking at KARL STORZ, summarises succinctly what ultimately swung the decision in favour of the technology from Sindelfingen: “A definite advantage of innovaphone over other suppliers was its good price-performance ratio. In addition, the innovaphone PBX allows smooth migration into the new technology. By these means we can protect the investments that have already been made and at the same time enjoy the benefits of the new technology.”


Scenario and technical implementation

innovaphone and KARL STORZ have enjoyed close business cooperation for a number of years. The first innovaphone devices were installed as early as 2004. By 2007 190 users were already connected to an IP3000 in Tuttlingen – at that stage still with the firmware V5. The innovaphone PBX was linked to the existing systems and inserted into the trunk line. At other company locations the innovaphone PBX was installed from the outset as the new telecommunications system. Furthermore, a fax server is also installed in the telephone infrastructure. It was clear from the start that the entire communications infrastructure would eventually be converted to IP.

By now – as of 2013 – 1,500 subscribers at the headquarters in Tuttlingen 1500 are connected to two innovaphone PBXs on the basis of IP6000 VoIP gateways. In all, KARL STORZ has acquired 1,250 port licenses (V8) in Germany. In the Swiss location at Schaffhausen the existing systems has been replaced completely by two innovaphone PBXs with a total of 180 licenses. All innovaphone PBXs were installed simultaneously and went into operation at the same time. There were no problems during installation. In the summer of 2012 the systems in Tuttlingen were set up in a master-slave scenario, so that in the event of a breakdown, the constant availability of one PBX is guaranteed.

As well as the locations in Tuttlingen and Schaffhausen, four further subsidiaries in Germany and Asia have already been integrated into the telephony infrastructure. All of the locations are equipped not only with innovaphone IP communications systems, but also with IP200, IP230, IP232, IP240 and IP241 innovaphone end devices.

“Very good,” is Christian Wolf’s reply when asked to judge the maintenance and installation outlay of the innovaphone telecommunications systems: “The innovaphone PBX is very easy to use. This greatly reduces the cost of support provided by external service providers,” says Wolf.


New uses, UC applications

At present there are two operator desks in Tuttlingen and two more in Schaffhausen. The operator desks are computer-supported switchboards for the innovaphone PBX, which allows access to the innovaphone PBX’s holding pattern and to transfer calls at will – even across a number of locations.

In addition, desktop sharing and Microsoft LYNC video telephony have been integrated as UC clients in the innovaphone PBX.

“The goal we have set for the future is to transfer the VoIP idea to WLAN architecture. That will make the redundant DECT structures obsolete,” concludes Christian Wolf.


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