A seamless upgrade to the existing telephony services was essential to ensure no impact on the school’s day-to-day operations. This unique school caters for pupils aged 4 to 19 who have physical disabilities and complex medical needs. The large site caters for both day and boarding places, and provides high quality teaching, social and health care facilities.
The school’s old phone system that supported 130 users was end of life and running on ISDN2 lines, which are currently being phased out of the national telephone network. The school needed to find a new future proof telephony solution within budget, which would meet the needs of over 200 members of staff with minimal disruption to the school’s operations. The school also wanted to utilise some of the existing telephones at site to minimise cost and disruption.
A requirement for complex call management and call flows was identified, with some members of staff needing to have access to multiple devices to provide flexibility and ease of contact. The school also had a requirement to run audio conferencing with multiple users securely.
Avian installed an Ericsson LG IP telephone system located at the site and connected via the schools’ existing 100mg ethernet leased line. The use of SIP lines provided a resilient and flexible solution with additional benefits to the school with disaster recovery. The new telephone system comes with online management tool enabling the IT department to control and make changes quickly and efficiently to the system, while always having the support of Avian’s service and engineering team as required.
The variety of handsets supported on the telephone system – from IP, Polycom voice conferencing, existing analogue devices, twinning with mobile phones and mobile applications running on staff mobiles – ensured the most cost-effective implementation. An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) on the front end of the system greets callers and efficiently directs calls through to various levels, enabling callers to quickly contact the right departments and then specific teams.
The system has a Unified Communication System (UCS) which enables a desk phone, mobile phone via an App and softphone/PC to be connected.
The benefit of one touch call recording, which is built into the system at no extra cost, is that key personnel can record a call to the voicemail or send a call recording as a WAV file to dedicated email address providing a useful tool for safeguarding and monitoring.
A conference bridge has been set-up on the system with a Direct Dial In (DDI), so the school can set-up secure conferencing for multiple users with secure access via a dedicated line and the use of secure PIN numbers.
The new telephony solution has future proofed the school against the upcoming changes on the national telephone network with a flexible IP service, as well as providing room to grow and change with the school over the coming years.
The school benefited from substantial savings of approximately £4,000 per annum on the existing telephony costs by moving to the new IP solution, which enabled the project to be self-funded over three years. Comprehensive planning, project management and engineering teams worked closely with the school’s IT department, ensuring a seamless implementation with no downtime for the school.
The school procured the services with Avian using the KCS Professional Services Framework for telephony. This means that they benefit from a contract that is fully compliant with The Public Contracts Regulations 2015, and provides safe terms and conditions designed to protect the school. The contract will be managed and monitored through the duration by KCS Professional Services (acting for Kent County Council).
“Before working with Avian we had an aging phone system, the support we received was terrible and at a high cost. We now have a much more stable, future-proof, and cost-effective solution; but what we appreciate the most is the support and customer service we receive. We know we can just pick up the phone or send an email if we ever get stuck and we will get support.”
Ricky Babwah, ICT Network Manager