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Al Ahli Holding Group is an enterprise holding group working in different sectors through more than 20 companies in steel, plastic, logistics, including the Outlet Mall in Dubai. As a diversified group, the company requires a reliable, stable communications networks to support its growth strategies. Al Ahli is one the first groups in the region to invest in high definition VoIP, integrated with the wireless infrastructure.

“As technology grows faster, we needed a solution that would grow with the business and can be customized to meet our unique business requirements. One of the reasons why adopted IP Telephony is to future proof our network,” says Wael Shawky, Group CIO. The company has deployed Polycom VoIP solution in three of its companies – Dubai Outlet mall, Gulf Spring Contracting and Emirates General Contracting.

Shawky says the decision to choose Polycom was due to a host of reasons. “It was first vendor to offer high definition VoIP and they gave us a live demo. The system integrated into our existing network infrastructure without us having to make any upgrades or changes.”

The Polycom system, integrated with a Swyx IP PBX on the backend and Cisco’s wireless infrastructure, supports around 250 users and has brought in a raft of new functionalities and benefits to the Al Ahli network. “The most important benefits have been the integration with our mail servers and conference capabilities with multiple geographic locations. Now, we have softphones in addition to traditional handsets and many features like voice mail to e-mail, fax to e-mail, etc, “ says Shawky.

Another benefit has been reduced costs. With the implementation, says Shawky, the group has reduced its communication bills by over 30%. “Now, we have the ability to review logs and reports and everything related to voice communications and analyse the patterns. It also enables us to centrally manage everything and apply policies to specific groups or people.”

Polycom’s investment started right from the planning phase by gathering the requirements from the group’s needs, future expansion plans and user requirements. “This made the implementation process smooth, as the system was customized even before it was brought in. In fact, implementation took less time than compared with that we planned for. We only faced some minor issues mainly related to network cabling,” says Shawky.

During the planning phase, Shawky sat down with users and executives to gauge their requirements. “When we showed them what the system was capable of it far exceeded their expectations.”

Shwaky plans to add video to the IP network in the next phase along with rolling out the system to other companies in the fold such as Al Ahli Plastic Industries, Emirates Engineers Services and Al Ahli General Transport, which will add another 450 users to the system.

“Our experience with Polycom led us to start considering and investigating the ability to apply the whole system to Dubai Outlet City to have a complete integration between the different services provided by Polycom from wireless to audio and video conferencing,” adds Shawky.

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