ERU - Energy Regulatory Office

The Energy Regulatory Bureau (ERU) was founded in 2001 in Jihlava in the Czech Republic and also holds offices in Prague and in Ostrava. It is the administrative authority of the Czech Republic, responsible for all matters of regulation in the energy sector. About 200 employees are currently working for the ERU in 7 different departments. An outdated communication system was modernised and replaced by an innovaphone PBX, leading to a considerable cut in call charges.

Initially, the ERU started off with a standard situation: The outdated telephone system could no longer cope with modern requirements for high-end business communication. The telephone switchboards were obsolete, spare parts were no longer available. Furthermore, it was increasingly difficult to obtain adequate service. In a nutshell: There was the need for a new telephony infrastructure. One major requirement was to reduce telephony costs considerably and to improve intra-company communication, such as between home offices and the company headquarters.

Thus, a list of requirements was drawn up, including

-       the deployment of new technologies
-       financial savings: free calls between the branch offices
-       integration of MS LYNC2010
-       unified user management
-       the integration of mobile devices.

When the final decision fell in favour of German manufacturer innovaphone, these were the crucial factors: MS Lync could easily be implemented into the innovaphone PBX. Furthermore, the innovaphone solution offers the possibility of gradual migration from the old system to the new technology. New users can be added in no time and the administration of the innovaphone PBX is simple, without any need to install special software on the computer. Finally, everything is included in a small box with low energy consumption.

Implementation process and final architecture

Throughout the implementation process it was absolutely vital for the interoperability of the existing Bosch PBX system and the analogue GSM gateways to be maintained. Furthermore, fax functionality as well as Polycom video conferencing had to be maintained while the new PBX was installed. Therefore, the new innovaphone PBX – based on an IP6010 VoIP gateway – was placed in front of the existing PBX so that everything could be kept running throughout the installation process.

Now, an IP800 VoIP gateway has been added to the system providing 4 ISDN lines. An IP24 IP adapter provides analogue ports for connecting fax machines as well as security devices. Furthermore, MS LYNC2010 has been implemented for the transfer of the ISDN30 interface to the IP trunk. In order to ensure that all internal calls are free, all analogue gateways had to be replaced by the new system supporting the IP protocol. Thus, a VPN between all fixed and mobile numbers and, as a consequence, full mobility of all ERU employees was obtained.

Thanks to detailed planning before the installation started, the migration into the new technology went off without any problems. The complete modernisation of the company infrastructure was completed within three months.

Today, all ERU sites – with the exception of the headquarters, there are three more bureaus in the Czech Republic - are integrated into the new system. They use the modern IP telephony solution in order to communicate with the authorities and citizens. Networking and collaboration with MS Lync are effective tools for planning meetings as well as for video, voice recording, instant messaging, texting or any other Unified Communications applications. The entrances of ERU offices are equipped with video-communicators which means that the person called can see the visitor on his PC screen and then activate the door opener. ERU uses ATECO software for a detailed overview of the telephone expenses which offers a profound evaluation of the ingoing and outgoing telephone traffic.

The integration of mobile phones into the innovaphone PBX is being realised with GSM gateways and also via the VPN network. The latter allows dual ring on a fixed number along with the employees’ mobiles so that everybody is available on his own phone number, in the company premises as well as outside. Full integration of Active Directory Services enables the synchronisation of phone directories and allows people to access the Active Directory from their terminals as well as their mobiles. As a result, better use of communication skills is made and employee efficiency has been increased significantly.

Benefits of the new system

Headquarter ERO in Jihlava

The employees at ERU are extremely satisfied with the new system. Sound quality is very good and there have been no problems whatsoever with the handling of the new telephones. Administration and maintenance are much easier compared to the old system. The innovaphone PBX enables central administration which saves a lot of time and money. Yet, the most significant cost saving item is the fact that all internal calls are now free. The person responsible for the IP telephony project says that the new solution means “a qualitative leap for us.” When asked about future plans concerning the IP telephony solution, the response is that changes will only be considered if the number of employees shall further increase.

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