The service company DransEnergie SA was founded in the Swiss canton of Valais by the municipalities of Bourg-St-Pierre, Liddes and Orsières and the companies Forces Motrices du Grand-St-Bernard and Forces Motrices de Sembrancher, which are involved in electricity generation and distribution at a regional level. DransEnergie SA operates the hydroelectric power plant on the Dranse d’Entremont and Dranse de Ferret rivers, the on-site electrical services and provides various services to private customers, companies and public authorities in the fields of electromechanics and renewable energies including solar energy. As a result of ISDN being phased out in Switzerland and of demands in terms of mobility and flexibility increasing, DransEnergie has converted its infrastructure to the state-of-the-art, fully IP-based work and communications environment innovaphone myApps.
DransEnergie sees itself as a local partner company that promotes "sustainable development using renewable energy" through state-of-the-art global services in the fields of water, energy, electromechanics and technology. With a total of 50 employees, apprentices and trainees, the Valais-based company offers competitive technical and administrative services adapted to the needs of its shareholder partners and customers. The company’s various sites - an administration building, three hydroelectric power plants and a dam - were equipped with outdated, heterogeneous systems that no longer met the increased mobility requirements of employees in the power generation and distribution departments, electromechanical workshops and engineering department. The company Swisscom, one of the leading operators in Switzerland, had been in turn commissioned to provide the telephone services, including programming and maintenance of the telephone system. Since the contract with Swisscom had expired and the ISDN network phase-out was imminent, DransEnergie was looking for other providers on the market which provide an end-to-end IP-based solution in order to invest in a future-proof, state-of-the-art communications system. "The obsolescence and heterogeneity of our communications infrastructure required a complete reorientation towards a homogeneous, more IT-intensive system that would allow better integration of business applications, especially mobile applications. Our engineers and technicians travel a lot to operate our hydropower plants and our dams. They need reliable and efficient communication tools for their work. Therefore, the requirements in our specifications also stated that the future solution should be flexible and secure and should allow mobile workers to be integrated in the communication system. These were the criteria on which we based our selection and which led us to opt for the innovaphone solution", explains Didier Jacquemettaz, technical director at DransEnergie.
The sites were inter-connected by installing an innovaphone PBX which was set up as an innovaphone Virtual Appliance (IPVA), i.e. as a virtual communication platform. This made it possible to ensure all users in the various branches could be managed centrally. The management and the finance and planning department in the company’s administration building were equipped with 21 innovaphone IP222 IP telephones. In the FGB, FMO and FMS hydroelectric power plants and at the Toules dam, around 30 type IP112 IP telephones were installed. In addition to their modern design, they are particularly user-friendly and intuitive to use and offer a wide range of UC applications. The hardware infrastructure is supplemented by innovaphone IP29-8 analog adapters with 8 analog interfaces which are used to integrate numerous analog alarm systems and other analog devices in the hydro power plants.
The innovaphone solution was installed within a period of six months, from the technical feasibility study over the introduction of V12 in the first stage to the final upgrade to V13 in summer 2019. In fact, version V12 was in use until the beginning of 2019 to bridge the time until V13 was to be introduced during 2019. With the introduction of V13, numerous new functionalities were brought to the collaborative myApps platform. "The V12 version was installed without the integration of a CTI solution in order not to unnecessarily confront our employees with different systems. The upgrade to V13 took place during the summer. As a result, we discovered the solution had additional strengths, such as the modernity of the applications, the automated backup and automatic updates of the PBX as well as the fact that all maintenance tools are integrated into one application," continues Didier Jacquemettaz. Although already very powerful and efficient, the innovaphone PBX has gained even more speed, simplicity and convenience in terms of installation and configuration with the introduction of the V13 version. The collaborative myApps platform provides administrators with a variety of management applications. With the Devices app, they can set up all innovaphone devices and access the extended administrator interface of the hardware. The "PBX Manager" app allows telephone applications such as queue management or call distribution to be configured. The "User Admin" app makes it easy to add, delete or edit user accounts. The entire administration takes place from a central user interface, even remotely, without the administrator having to be on site. Another plus: myApps works the same way on any platform and the responsive design can be used on any screen type and size.
With version V13 and the work and communications environment myApps, DransEnergie now has a comprehensive solution with apps for working, apps for communicating and apps for administrators. The numerous IP telephone functionalities, the all-in-one unified communications solution and the myApps platform make the innovaphone PBX a versatile, powerful and compact overall system. All UC functions of the innovaphone client myApps can easily be accessed from anywhere: innovaphone apps for iOS and Android convert smartphones and tablets to innovaphone end devices in no time at all. The mobile users of the Valais-based company can now be reached on their smartphones while on the go and have access to the company PBX and all necessary Unified Communications applications, such as their colleagues’ Presence information, video telephony, application sharing, video conferences, company contacts, favorites lists, chat, etc. This means that communication is perfectly integrated into work processes and is not only very fast and effective, but also very user-friendly – regardless of where, when or with which device. The security aspect was not neglected either - on the contrary, innovaphone guarantees maximum security with its integrated security mechanisms Reverse Proxy and Session Border Controller (SBC). These provide effective and reliable protection for the innovaphone PBX against attacks from the Internet and secure the connection to the operator.
The customized tools from innovaphone myApps have improved efficiency and cooperation at DransEnergie. For example, thanks to the Presence information in the Favorite Contacts, employees always know exactly when and how they can reach the person they want to call.
Didier Jacquemettaz is satisfied with the new innovaphone system and emphasizes how important it is to consider mobility when choosing a solution: "We are satisfied with the product and the integration. innovaphone myApps has simplified the maintenance and administration of the communication infrastructure and increased the efficiency of our business processes. Our mobile employees can now be reached wherever they are and have access to all necessary UC applications. We are well positioned for the workplace of the future with the innovative innovaphone myApps solution and are convinced that we have invested in a long-term solution".