Seamless Call Recording for Microsoft Lync
With headquarters in London and several offices around the world, Gazprom Marketing and Trading (GM&T) is a subsidiary of OAO Gazprom, the largest producer of natural gas in the world. GM&T is an energy trading company, trading in a variety of commodities including gas, oil, electricity and carbon.
Before 2011, the company’s head office was located in Kingston, Surrey, on the outskirts of London. As a result of its extremely rapid growth, the company decided to relocate its head office to brand new premises in central London. This move led GM&T to review its telecommunications infrastructure and take advantage of the latest developments in enterprise communications technology.
In July 2010, GM&T had deployed Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 to introduce instant messaging and presence features to its employees who were using TDM based PBXs for their voice calls. With the move to its new offices, the company decided to phase out its TDM equipment and install an entirely IP-based unified communications system. The solution that was chosen was Microsoft Lync Server 2010, which offered a full realtime enterprise communications solution including instant messaging, presence, file transfer, peer-to-peer and multiparty voice and video calling and conferencing.
While Lync itself provides a wealth of real-time communications functionality, there are still some functions that the system does not support natively. In many cases, customers can deploy third party solutions to complement Lync’s own offering. An example of this is the ability to record calls made in a Lync environment.
GM&T had been using a call recording solution with their existing TDM PBX for some time. Although not required to do so from a regulatory perspective, it was GM&T’s policy to record all calls involving traders and their support staff for potential use in resolving disputes and cases of litigation. A crucial requirement during the company’s move to Lync was that calls made by its traders and supporting staff could still be recorded in a seamless and efficient manner, just as they had been until then using the TDM based solution. The selected solution needed to be fully compatible with Lync with the ability to provide high quality call recordings of Lync IP-to-IP calls as well as calls to and from TDM systems via VoIP gateways. The recordings had to be stored securely and available for retrieval on demand.
As part of their procurement process, GM&T investigated a number of available call recording solutions for the Lync environment. Most of the tested solutions did not meet GM&T’s basic requirements of simplicity and seamlessness. They required the user to initiate recording manually or force all calls to the level of a conference saturating the network with duplicate traffic.
Once the evaluation process had been completed, GM&T selected AudioCodes’ SmartTAP call recording solution for Lync. SmartTAP was the only solution that met all of GM&T’s requirements.
The entire solution was installed remotely in London and Singapore from the US. The solution offers seamless centralized management of both locations from any standard browser based user credentials. GM&T installed support for 100 Lync users at the London office with an additional 30 users in Singapore. 30 extra licenses were allocated at the London office to act as a backup for the Singapore users in case of a failure of the local Lync servers.
At each office, the SmartTAP plug-in software was installed on the Lync Front End servers. The SmartTAP plug-in registers as a trusted application with Lync and passes information to the SmartTAP recording server over a secure connection to trigger recording based on call state. By configuring a mirror port on the local network switch, the SRTP media streams are routed to the SmartTAP server where they are stored. As SmartTAP provides native support for Microsoft’s RTA codec, calls are recorded without any degradation in voice quality.
GM&T use the web-based management interface to configure the system, manage recording targets and retrieve recorded conversations. Recordings can be played back or downloaded to the user’s own computer directly via the web client.
GM&T successfully deployed SmartTAP systems in both the London and Singapore offices, with the former also providing failover capabilities in the event of a system failure in Singapore. SmartTAP enabled GM&T to achieve a migration to unified communications without comprising on existing functionality and resulted in a number of benefits for the company:
- Seamless operation with no need for user intervention
- Centralized management of all locations and users.
- Rich functionality including recording of IP and TDM calls, secure, centralized storage and straightforward retrieval of recorded calls
- Global support enabling rapid and reliable deployment
- Reduced total cost of ownership
Following the successful deployments in London and Singapore, GM&T is already planning to expand its use of SmartTAP to its offices in Manchester, UK, and Houston, TX. In addition, with SmartTAP, GM&T is well-positioned to achieve compliance with the UK’s financial regulatory body, the Financial Services Authority, in the future.
Commenting on the successful SmartTAP deployment, Ian Burgess, Head of Global Infrastructure at GM&T, said, “SmartTAP ticked all the boxes as far as our requirements for a Lync-compatible call recording system were concerned. Recording calls is completely seamless without any need for user intervention. The success and ease with which the initial installations took place have given us the confidence to roll out SmartTAP in our other offices around the world.”