Belgabroed is Belgium’s largest hatchery of day-old chicks. At Belgrabroed, innovation and collaboration are of paramount importance, also with respect to ICT. When the company had to relocate because of its strong growth, it was clear that the new communication infrastructure needed to follow suit. One major criterion was that the new system should be easily expandable so that the company could adapt to changes, also in future. innovaphone’s scalable VoIP Telephony and Unified Communications solution met all the requirements of Belgabroed and now contributes to a higher degree of efficiency within the company.

Belgabroed is part of the hatchery group BHV2. The BHV2 group is a partnership between the hatcheries Belgabroed, Vervaeke-Belavi, Vepymo from Belgium, Van Hulst from the Netherlands and the export company Incubel. Over the years, their collaboration has led to optimised business operations. All the companies from the BHV2 group are true family businesses that have acquired a pioneering role in the poultry market in north-western Europe through their cooperation. However, each company has simultaneously retained its own identity.

Gradual Transition to a Scalable VoIP Solution

Belgabroed employs 45 people and is the largest hatchery of day-old chicks in Belgium. Due to the strong growth of the company, the building in Merksplas had to be renovated and expanded further. Therefore, the offices had to be moved to a temporary container village. Belgabroed’s existing PBX  was outdated and not suitable for the fibre-optic connection of the container village. This made the switch to a VoIP solution the next logical step. It was also important that the new system could easily be expanded, according to demand.This should not only apply to the further growth of Belgabroed itself but also to a possible extension of the system from other partners of BHV2. Here, the benefits would be that the partners can communicate with each other more efficiently and free of charge. The choice fell on the VoIP Telephony and UC solution from innovaphone. “The scalability of the innovaphone solution played an important role in the decision-making," says Lars Corstiaans, VoIP Engineer at Comitor, IT partner of Belgabroed, and responsible for the implementation of the new system. "It is a viable, pure IP solution that can be implemented step by step and that supports further growth.” The innovaphone solution also offers the possibility of integrating further sites at any time, even in other countries. Each PBX  can still operate independently and in terms of licenses, it can also be tailored entirely to the specific requirements of the respective company. "innovaphone has a unique multi-PBX concept", states Corstiaans. "Each PBX can function as part of the whole or individually at the same time.” All requirements for a possible integration of the other partners into the new communication system have been met:

Multi-site and for multiple countries (BE & NL)
:: Close cooperation and a great deal of internal communication -> should be free of charge & efficient.

:: Each family business operates fully autonomously
:: PBXs must be able to operate independently (also in terms of licences). Free choice of provider

:: Progressive implementation + supporting further growth
:: Possibility to add other firms one by one.

New Communication Infrastructure: IP, UC and Integration of Analogue Devices

The innovaphone IP solution at Belgabroed is based on an IP3011 gateway. The company has implemented the hot desking concept: Most employees do not have a fixed workplace, but log into one of the 25 IP112 phones by using their own code, thereby loading their own specific configuration onto the device. Two IP222 phones, from the innovaphone design telephone range and a corresponding extension module (IP2X2-X) are used at the reception.  Furthermore, all employees use the innovaphone UC client myPBX. This client combines various UC elements such as traditional IP Telephony, Presence, Chat, Application Sharing and Video Telephony. All of these come together in a clear and intuitive user interface. myPBX runs on a cloud-based Citrix Environment which also manages the telephones.

For the time being, Belgabroed still has a number of analogue devices that need to be operated. Here, the principle of gradual conversion also applies. All these devices are now integrated into the VoIP system using IP29 Analogue Adapters. These are special long-range DECT devices that shall eventually be replaced. Further, there are analogue telephones in production sites where no network cable is available, analogue telephones at home workstations that need to be connected to the PBX and an analogue connection to the intercom system and door opener so that the gate can be opened via the telephone.

In a next stage, wireless devices will also be added to the solution. Yet, at first, the company will have to decide between DECT, Wi-Fi or GSM repeaters. Currently there is a preference for GSM, in combination with Mobility

Improved Efficiency

Belgabroed is very satisfied with the new communication system. "We have a production environment where different communication needs have to be met. All our employees, both in the office and in production, and of course our drivers, must be able to work flexibly. The innovaphone solution offers a wide range of possibilities for this. Several devices can be set up for each user," says Carine De Houwer from Belgabroed. The VoIP Telephony and UC solution from innovaphone has also contributed to a further improvement in efficiency. "With our old system, we had to spend a lot of time searching for contact details of colleagues and partners, and you couldn’t see if the person you were calling was available by telephone at that time. Now, with the One Number Concept, every user can always be called at the same number, on various different devices. In addition, the call status of all employees is visible, as is the status from the outlook agenda.”

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