The new communications solution by innovaphone ensures extremely high availability as well as enabling mobene to be reached at all times


Mobene GmbH & Co. KG with its headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, is one of the leading oil trading companies in Germany. Approximately 320 employees serve more than 30,000 commercial and governmental users, as well as over 250,000 private end customers. A distribution network with around 30 sites ensures mineral oil products from various prominent brands reach nationwide commercial and governmental consumers. The company, which was formed from the merger of two companies, has modernized its communications infrastructure by introducing the innovaphone solution and a uniform system for all branches.

Formed from the merger of the aws Wärme Service GmbH and Aral Direkt GmbH, Mobene GmbH & Co. KG had a heterogeneous PBX environment with a mixture of different systems and manufacturers. Distributing incoming calls proved difficult because no ACD system (automatic call distribution) was used, which would ensure optimum utilization of own resources. When all lines were busy, additional incoming calls were redirected to an external call centre. Against this background, the objective of a new PBX solution was clear: a uniform solution should be installed at all company sites, including an ACD solution. One important fact to be adhered to dealt with mobene’s policy that hardware should be kept to a minimum at each individual site, where often just one to five employees work. Last but not least, a sophisticated redundancy concept should ensure maximum reliability. In particular, the requirements included the following items:

- Better utilization of resources
- Uniform telecommunications end devices
- Centralized management
- IP-based solution
- Possibility to connect the solution to the carrier’s SIP trunk
- Cross-site redundancy concept.

Following detailed research into the eligible manufacturers, there were two providers in the running, innovaphone AG and Voxtron AG, an affiliate of Enghouse AG. The fact “that we were talking with German or European manufacturers with an economically sound background and which cooperate well together, as well as the consideration of the cost and technical sophistication of the products tipped the scales in favour of these two manufacturers", says Michael Peter, senior IT consultant at mobene.

The architecture of the new solution

Currently, 24 company branches and two data centres are integrated in the newly installed VoIP infrastructure. The two data centres in Oberhausen and Essen are equipped with innovaphone PBXs, set up as a redundant system; i.e. in case of failure, the standby PBX system automatically assumes the function of the innovaphone PBX without delay. The other company sites have slave PBXs, which are in turn covered by slave standbys in the data centres. Thus, mobene has a sophisticated, extremely powerful redundancy scenario, which is characterized by the highest level of stability and reliability.

The innovaphone systems in the data centres are set up as IPVAs, thus requiring just a minimum amount of hardware, i.e. they were set up virtually as software applications and include an application platform for Reporting and Fax. At the moment, all innovaphone firmware V10 Unified Communications features are available via myPBX, such as Chat and Presence. However, an update to the latest innovaphone firmware is planned and will make further UC components available such as Conferencing and Application Sharing.

WAN access is realized at the individual sites via LANCOM products. Connecting the innovaphone PBXs to the local provider takes place over distributed SIP trunks, which have high availability. Certain security mechanisms are necessary to ensure the security of SIP connections. innovaphone has implemented them in its security concept and has directly integrated a so-called Session Border Controller (SBC) in the innovaphone VoIP gateways. This means all relevant security mechanisms are provided and maximum network security is ensured. Another security mechanism is in place at mobene for network-related errors: Because it is essential for the company to have high availability and to be reachable at all times, a backup LTE system secures corporate communication in the event of a line failure.

mobene uses the “innovaphone call connector” by Voxtron for optimal distribution of incoming calls. It connects the innovaphone PBX with the Voxtron call distribution, thus ensuring maximum call management efficiency. In total, about 165 active agents are integrated in the mobene call centre. The other mobene sites use the central "Voxtron communication center" (VCC), to which a call is routed. VCC is the proven customer interaction solution by Voxtron. It distributes contacts (phone calls, emails, chats, fax, etc.) to competent employees within the whole company organization and is based on an existing infrastructure.
At mobene, the calls are processed here locally on the branch’s gateway. When the call can’t be taken immediately, waiting prompts are played, if necessary.

Advantages and benefits of the new communication infrastructure

One first advantage of the new solution already arose during the rollout: "We installed the innovaphone PBX ourselves at all 24 sites within 10 weeks", emphasizes Michael Peter. Asked how the staff with the new telephone system cope, Peter says: "Employee satisfaction is certainly positive. Almost all users use myPBX actively." After the planned upgrade to the current version of the innovaphone PBX, employees have even more unified communications components. Smaller issues during installation “were quickly solved by the manufacturer" continues Peter. And one other issue also ensures high levels of satisfaction for the IT manager at mobene: "One important premise for us was the fact that the new PBX could be managed centrally. The innovaphone PBX can largely be managed centrally and requires minimal training for employees. New employees can understand the matter quickly. The innovaphone solution has proven to be very simple, even with managing the firmware. We can save so much time compared to the previous model, because with other manufacturers especially this issue was considerably more time-consuming, particularly if a downgrade was necessary." The innovaphone system has also proven to be very simple when connecting new sites - an important aspect of a dynamically growing company like mobene: "New branch offices or smaller sites can quickly be integrated in the corporate infrastructure".

As regards the cost aspect of the new communication infrastructure, which was another must in the requirement catalogue, the innovaphone/Voxtron solution has turned out to be a good decision: “We were able to reduce our operating costs by some 25% compared to the old solution. In addition, by entering into service agreements with both manufacturers, innovaphone and Voxtron, we were able to put a figure to costs involved over 5 years", Michael Peter adds.

mobene was able to achieve the high target that it had set itself, namely, extremely high availability in order for the company to be reachable at all times. This was thanks to the sophisticated redundancy concept (redundant telephony and redundant WAN) and the decentralized availability of the telephone system via distributed SIP trunks and the "innovaphone call connector" with failover using innovaphone Queue control.

Conclusion and Outlook

Michael Peter briefly summarizes his experience with the new system: "The new solution is highly scalable. New sites can be connected in next-to-no-time, because the hardware has no long delivery times. Managing the licenses by the manufacturers, innovaphone and Voxtron, is efficient: These are all these issues that prompted us to define innovaphone and Voxtron as a standard within the group. Thus new sites or companies that are acquired shall also be equipped with this system." For the near future, the introduction of an ERM solution by Voxtron (email response management) is planned to optimize the company’s email traffic. Furthermore, the implementation of WebRTC is under review to support the innovaphone Video solution. Last but not least, we are looking forward to the new innovaphone firmware, which will make Application Sharing and Conferencing possible.

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