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Swartland Winerfy toasts ordless telephony

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You don’t always know you need mobility when you do, but it might just blow you away. This was the surprise that famous wine makers Swartland Winery got on installing a Kirk Dect (cordless) telephone system from Tellumat Telecoms.

Acting as the agent for Tellumat in an exclusive wireless telephony supplier deal, Swartland’s incumbent telephony supplier, Canon North, proposed the Kirk system last month as an alternative to maintaining or upgrading Swartland’s existing wired system.
Canon North PBX manager Daniel van Vuuren says the rambling, ageing premises of Swartland had three generations of telephone cabling when Canon was called in.
“They didn’t really think they needed mobility, but we felt that their cabling and extensions could be sorted out very elegantly with a wireless solution. Any recabling would have cost a lot of time and effort, and that was what sold them.”
Canon North, a supplier of PBXs in its own right, called Tellumat in to do a site survey and devise a solution architecture. During installation, performed by Canon North, a Tellumat engineer guided placement of base stations and repeaters, and commissioned the new system. While Canon North received training to install the system, Tellumat offers third-level support, should it be needed.
Kevin Smeda, project manager: telecoms at Tellumat Telecoms, says a Kirk 1500 single carriage solution was chosen, supporting a maximum of 64 users. Swartland initially took four handsets for its winemakers, but on seeing the benefits, soon agreed to 12 more for bottling and despatch. All three types of employees are highly mobile with communications needs ranging from marketing to engaging suppliers and customers.
“This will serve their purpose for a good while,” says Smeda. “Should it be necessary to go beyond the 64 extensions, we will simply slot in another carriage, taking them up to a maximum of 128 extensions.”
Integration with the PBX was a cinch, as the Kirk system comes as an add-on, interfacing with the PBX via analogue port. “As long as the PBX has analogue, it’s no problem,” says Smeda. “Other cordless systems have integrated line cards, and are PBX-specific.”
Smeda explains that the site survey was crucial. Base stations were placed in cellars and outside winery buildings, but once inside, massive three-foot-thick walls and steel fermentation tanks presented problems of penetration. The most prudent solution was to place base stations strategically to ensure overlapping coverage. Where dungeonous  corridors caused signal loss, repeaters were placed.
The high humidity, while ideal for winemaking, presented another danger, that of damage, so inside base stations were given waterproof casing. Handsets, on the other hand, are splash- and dust-proof. While they cannot be submerged, it’s possible to despatch wine to the needy in a rainstorm. “They’re also very robust,” adds Smeda.
The 4040 handsets chosen come with LCD screens with backlight (whereas the 5000 series has colour screens), 120 hours standby time and 20 hours talk time, and they support all normal PBX functionality, such as hold, divert and transfer of calls.