At the latest meeting of the Digital Transformation Leaders Forum (DTLF) IT Assist's Network Services Manager, Jonathan Smith outlined how NICS continue to implement a unified communications suite of products that have been designed to enable call processing, video conferencing and messaging for approximately 27,000 users across more than 200 sites.

The need to embrace innovative solutions to aid successful communication and collaboration has taken on ever-increasing significance since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. With that in mind, IT Assist currently has an Enterprise Licence Agreement (ELA) with global networking technology specialist Cisco for Unified Communications (UC) and collaboration systems until August 2024.

This has recently provided many benefits such as the Cloud Cisco Webex collaboration platform being able to regularly host over 1300 daily meetings with up to 6000 participants and supporting over 80 cloud registered video systems. In addition, on premise Cisco Telepresence Video solutions have provided point to point calling, multi-party conferencing and external access through the internet and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) for approximately 400 units. 


IT Assist have had many notable achievements in collaborative technology in the past year including:

  • Cisco Unified Communications (UC) Upgrade - Major upgrade of on premise core CISCO UC application and services to 12.5 and associated virtual environment.
  • Webex Video Mesh - Deployment of CISCO Webex hybrid Video Mesh for video units to reduce internet bandwidth utilisation.
  • Webex API Development - Webex API (Application Programming Interface) development to allow tribunals to deploy a custom application that creates Webex meetings.
  • DECT Pilot in NI Courts - Spectra-link DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) Pilot for Laganside Courts Custody Suite.
  • MS Teams & Cisco Jabber Integration - Evaluation of the Microsoft Teams client with Cisco Jabber to utilise the existing on-premise telephony platform.
  • Webex Calendar Integration - Webex calendar integration with Outlook to provide video unit 'One Button to Push' join functionality for Webex, MS Teams, Google Hangouts and Zoom.

Cisco Dual Screen Boardroom Unit
Cisco Dual Screen Boardroom Unit

Going Forward

There are a number of software and hardware upgrades required on underlying UC server hardware in the coming months and IT Assist also has several upcoming UC and collaboration projects during the rest of 2022.

  • Microsoft Teams Pilot Phase 2 - The evaluation of Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR) viedo units. This will provide vendor choice flexibility for departments that prefer to use Microsoft Teams for collaboration services.
  • Microsoft Teams Pilot Phase 3 - The evaluation of inter-operability between Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex to provide feature rich inter-operability for departments that regularly use both Microsoft Teams and Webex.
  • Evaluation of Cloud Calling Services - To avail of the flexibility, resilience and features of cloud collaboration services an evaluation is needed as on premise server hardware will be coming to the end of its support in 2024.
  • Departmental Video Unit Migration to the Cloud - As on premise core video servers have reached the end of their support, migration is needed to avail of flexibility, resilience and features.

Unified Communications Software in Action
Unified Communications Software in Action

The continued development of these innovative technologies and their expanded implementation will no doubt aid NICS staff to effectively engage together whilst also being able to facilitate a hybrid-working model as practices evolve in the months and years ahead.  

For more information on unified communications and collaboration solutions in NICS please contact

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