South African IT services provider, Bromide Technologies, an EOH company, has been awarded a contract by the Limpopo-Lipadi Game and Wilderness Reserve for the provision of a comprehensive broadband wireless communication infrastructure, software and services, including VoIP.
Estimated at an initial cost of R1-million, the project will see Bromide providing full wireless broadband connectivity, Internet telephony and peripheral services to a variety of locations onsite. These include the reception area, staff village, six private shareholder lodges, commercial lodge/s, restaurant and conference facilities, aerodrome and operations and management facilities that are being developed for shareholders from predominantly Europe and the USA.
“We have already commenced with the project, achieving our first objective of connecting the Limpopo-Lipadi Game Reserve Association Headquarters to the Construction Operations Office, over 11 km away, through the implementation of a Proxim wireless broadband network and Mitel VoIP infrastructure,” reports Bromide’s Theo Storm. “The fact that we are experienced in the deployment of Mitel systems actually suits the project, as the reserve is a South African-Botswana Consortium, and Botswana Telecoms operates on Mitel. In addition to the installation in Botswana, we have also installed the Mitel VoIP system at the reserves sales and marketing offices in Pretoria and entered into a service level agreement with them to provide services and support,” he adds.
Once the first lodge has been completed, Bromide will set up a Wi-Fi hotspot, similar to the one at the Game Reserve Association’s Headquarters, to allow the shareholders and their guests to access their e-mail and browse the Web. These areas will be carefully engineered so as not to devalue the remote location of the reserve, while still providing crucial connectivity to the world for its international visitors, if and when they need it. For added safety there is a two way radio system installed on the 32 450 ha reserve.
“Not all our shareholders want connectivity. Some come out to the 32 450 ha reserve specifically to get away from civilization and avoid contact with the outside world. Others consider the fact that we can provide them with conference facilities, Internet, e-mail and voice communications in such a remote area, as an absolute gem. They can now increase the length of their stay here in the bush, as they can check their mail and communicate with the office back home between going out on a game drive or hiking to one of the tree platforms on the reserve for example,” says Francois Wannenburg, IT manager for the reserve.
“The VoIP solution that we have engineered for this client will save them significant costs in areas like international telephony, and will provide the network backbone for all other operational systems from paying by credit card for meals at the restaurant and landing fees at the aerodrome to accounting and reservation systems for the commercial lodges,” Storm concludes.