Plymouth City Council is deploying a Microsoft unified communications system to support 4,000 staff with the aim of cutting costs and supporting flexible working.

The new Microsoft Lync platform, being deplyed by NEC IT solutions, will give staff individual and group instant messaging, video conferencing, a collaborative virtual meeting space and remote access and support.

Neville Cannon, assistant director of ICT at Plymouth City Council, said: "Having considered what we were paying on maintenance and the costs to bring our current environment up to a standard for unified communications, we concluded that even with the cost of implementing the new Microsoft Lync technology we would achieve a tangible return on investment."

Plymouth City Council can now incorporate remote workers through a single interface onto instant messenger, voice communications and video and web conference calls. This makes it easy for users to collaborate together and stay connected from virtually anywhere.

The council said that in the future it may consider extending its UC system to other public sector organisations.

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