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BMW Manufacturing Rolls With Wireless Upgrade

By William Atkinson  |  Posted 02-07-2011 Print
The Spartanburg, S.C., automaker needed to improve communications for its 7,000 on-site workers. A combination of cellular and VoIP services -- including the deployment of 2,000 new wireless handsets -- makes it easier than ever for employees to keep in touch as they build BMW X3, X5 and X6 vehicles.

BMW Manufacturing Co. LLC (BMW MC) of Spartanburg, S.C., a 4 million-square-foot facility with more than 7,000 workers on-site, needed to simplify communications and converge its infrastructure technologies. Part of BMW Group's global manufacturing network, BMW MC is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all BMW X5 and BMW X3 sports activity vehicles, as well as BMW X6 sports activity coupes.

"We wanted to migrate from a combined VoIP and TDM voice solution to a strictly VoIP solution," says Alonzo Seaborne, Americas Region Network Operations Manager for BMW Group North America. "However, one of the things we had to address in getting rid of the TDM solution was the need to have wireless capabilities for the vast majority of our users who had traditional wireless phones."

Indeed, the goal was to upgrade users from the old-school 900 MHz handsets deployed throughout the plant. The genesis for the project came about as a result of the plant's desire to migrate from its legacy PBX system, combine all communications services, and reduce the number of devices that employees had to carry and manage. BMW MC ultimately wanted to limit the number of required desk phone sets and leverage its existing infrastructure to reduce costs and improve communication speed, ease, and efficiency.

In addition to studying 802.11 WiFi phones, BMW MC went out to cellular phone providers in the area for recommendations on solutions. Seaborne says BMW MC had an existing relationship with Sprint for its domestic and international MPLS and its managed network solutions, and ended up selecting the telecommunications provider for its unified communications project as well.


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