Extreme Home Makeover adds VoIP and Video to fire station

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Extreme Home Makeover adds VoIP and Video to fire station

Nortel, AT&T Texas and TANDBERG teamed up to provide ABC's hit reality show, "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" with a state-of-the-art communications system for a fire station in southeast Texas damaged by Hurricane Rita. The Sabine Pass Fire Station No. 4 was severely damaged when the hurricane made landfall east of the town last September and has been out of operation for the past five months, forcing its firefighters to work out of a trailer at a local U.S. Coast Guard station.

AT&T Texas donated the overall coordination and project management time, network planning, design and installation during the weeklong shoot. Nortel also donated a Business Communications Manager 50E platform, which includes a voice mail system, a dozen VoIP phone sets and a 24-port data switch for the fire department's LAN.

TANDBERG provided a video communications solution designed especially for emergency communications and firefighter training, which includes two desktop videphones and two room-based video systems with 50-inch plasma screens. Sweet! Of course, the 50" plasma screens will be used exclusively for video communications - there will be no high-definition football or other TV programs going on here.

The solution also includes a Tactical MXP Command Center, a mobile system that allows firefighters at emergency scenes to connect to the command center visually through integrated satellite capability.

Rebuilding the Sabine Pass fire station is one of two main projects of the fourth episode in the special "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition - After The Storm" series. The Sabine Pass episode will air at 8 p.m. EDT on tomorrow (Friday), April 14, on ABC. I'll have to keep my eye out for the VoIP system and see if the Extreme Home Makeover cast pronounces it "voyp" or spell it out - "V O I P", or say "voice over IP".

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