The first involvement between 1st Communications and Sir George Monoux occurred approximately 6 years ago when an early version Nortel BCM 1000 was installed at their site to cater for the college's voice requirements when they had a new teaching block added. The main college site was using an Index PBX with a mixture of digital and analogue extensions, but the college decided against further investment in this aging technology and looked to explore more future proof options.
The Nortel BCM 1000 was installed utilising mainly digital sets with a few IP sets being trialled, mainly by Harvey Baxter's IT department. The Nortel BCM and Index systems were linked using DPNSS to give cost free dialling between extensions, providing a large cost saving for the college.
Over time the Nortel BCM 1000 was expanded through the use of more digital sets in yet another new teaching block, in addition to more IP sets being introduced as confidence in the technology grew.
Sir George Monoux College then contacted 1st Communications as they needed a flexible solution for their communication requirements as they continued to expand. The planned building work would cause much of the existing telephone wiring to be rerouted and even necessitate the Index switch and main reception being moved to a temporary location. The ongoing building work would cause constant re-siting of departments and staff in the main building with temporary cabling being required.
It was decided that it was therefore a good time to explore all of the technological possibilities available, with a view to future communication trends and directions. As such, the prospect of Unified Messaging and various other applications that would add tremendous value to the college came to the fore.
1st Communications approached Nortel, and together with Sir George Monoux, we entered into a joint development of the proposed Nortel Communications Server 1000 (CS1K) solution. It was a great opportunity for all parties to pioneer a UK college based solution, with a view to providing an excellent case study and invaluable experience as we looked to provide a similar solution to a number of other educational establishments within the London area.
With all parties on board, Sir George Monoux decided to go ahead with the Nortel Communications Server 1000 system (CS1K) as it provided for all their current needs, with a number of added features that they hoped to explore in the future. These included the capacity and capability to support unified messaging, a customer contact centre, interactive voice response, wireless VoIP and IP Phones. It also had the capacity to grow as needed over time, ensuring a fantastic long term return on investment from the solution.
During the refurbishment, the new Nortel CS1K solution allowed full VoIP networking in areas where the existing cabling was being cut out, ease of movement of people and phones during the refurbishment work and the utilisation of existing digital and IP sets, as well as keeping familiar technology to a third of the campus site were also seen as benefits.
The college, particularly Mr Baxter as Head of IT, were very keen on this solution which would take the control and administration of the voice communications in the college and bring them under his department's domain.
The college then started to look for other ways in which the features of the Nortel Communication Server 1000 solution could be used to ease the college's admin costs, while increasing the college employee's productivity. Voicemail was added for each user as well as the introduction of the built in Auto Attendant to answer calls on the college's main number inviting callers to "dial the extension number you require or press 1 for reception". These calls are then presented to a Call Centre, with the on duty receptionists being logged on as agents to take these calls. This allows for greater flexibility as to how many receptionists were needed and allowed them to be located anywhere on campus. The Auto Attendant put calls through to any extension on the campus, with the ability to divert calls off campus being looked at as an option for remote workers or new building sites.
The Nortel solution included an ISDN30, and went live with 70 IP Phones, 70 voicemail seats, Call Centre Professional and 16 VoIP trunks. This system would handle over 500 calls a day so it was imperative that downtime was kept to a minimum. An additional specific requirement was for the system to be programmed and preconfigured by a spreadsheet provided in advance of the installation so as to ease the time it took to transfer from the old to the new system.
We configured the system in the 1st Communications office to make sure all the programming was completed and to minimise time on-site and subsequent costs. The main hurdle we needed to get over was ensuring that the VoIP was working from day one. We also had to deploy a large number of IP sets throughout the 3 buildings in the college environment. By going to site with a tested and configured system, we were able to provide a much easier changeover.
Once the system was installed, we went through a host checks to make sure that everything, with a particular focus on the VoIP was working and the quality of the solution was up to the required standard. We also checked all the IP phones worked with the Ethernet switches and again, had very few problems.
Sir George Monoux now has an extremely flexible communication solution that has provided them with significant savings as well as noticeable productivity gains ever since it began operations.
After this project was completed, we found our skills at 1st Communications were more focused toward thinking from a complete 'solutions perspective' rather than from merely a voice point of view. We gained a real insight into what convergence really has to offer, further cementing our close relationship with Nortel, which has given us the confidence and a great platform for further work with other colleges and institutions in and around London.
If you would like to know more about this case study or would like to know how we could help you then please do not hesitate to contact us as we will only be too happy to help.
Sir George Monoux College turned to 1st Communications to install a new Nortel BCM 200 on to their network. More »
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