New VoIP Phone System for Secondary School – Case Study

“We have a brand new flexible and future-proof telephony infrastructure which was delivered within our existing telephony budget and which will afford us with a fast ROI.”

Lord Williams’s School is a thriving, popular comprehensive school serving the Thame community and its surrounding rural area. The school has two sites, 2,070 pupils aged 11 to 18 on its roll and employs 340 members of staff.

The Challenge

The school’s 10-year-old legacy telephony system was incurring around £7,000 a year in maintenance charges, had limited functionality and increasingly, parts couldn’t be replaced as the system had reached end-of-life and was no longer supported.

The incumbent telephony provider encouraged the school to upgrade the existing system. However, a project team headed by Network Manager Darrell Smith; viewed VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) as the way forward and began work on a 12-month long project to investigate and explore the options available utilising this technology.

After investigating the best way forward, the decision was made to  to migrate to a VoIP infrastructure, this would enable the school to utilise the high quality network cabling already in place at both sites and remove the requirement to add in new cabling and network points for additional handsets.

The Solution

The team at Channel Comms looked at a number of different systems available from several manufacturers, including the Aastra 470 IP Communication Server. Darrell Smith and the project team were very clear on their requirements which included the ability to link both sites and the solution had to allow for business continuity in the event of a power cut or similar across both locations.

“We put a detailed project plan together and were specific on our requirements. Channel Comms listened to the brief and responded with a solution that exactly met our needs.”

The project team conducted a comprehensive review of the options open to them. This involved consultation with the school’s receptionist and staff, as well as hands-on demonstrations and trials of the systems being considered Channel Comms considered the brief and the school’s telephony requirement and recommended Aastra as the best in class provider.

Working with the project team, they illustrated how the Aastra 470 IP Communication Server was a flexible and future-proof solution which would seamlessly link both sites and which would enable the school to benefit most from the productivity gains that VoIP would bring. In particular, during the trials, the Aastra reception console was very well received with staff commenting on its ease of use and feature-rich functionality.

The solution included the recommendation to install an Aastra system in both sites to allow for resilience and business continuity if one site was inoperable due to unforeseen circumstances – the school also retained a handful of digital phones for this purpose. To support some 200 extensions across both sites the Aastra 6731 SIP deskphones and Aastra 5370 digital phones were also provided.

The Aastra 400 series encapsulates the best of Aastra’s expertise, combining a full range of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) applications, mobility solutions and user centric devices, into a single solution.

The Results 

Aastra’s single system solution from Channel Comms has seamlessly linked the two school sites, improved efficiency and delivered significant cost savings. One key benefit was the fact that installing VoIP across both campus was relatively straightforward, utilising the school’s existing network cabling. And another big plus was the fact that there was no need to install additional network or phone points in classrooms and office space.

The new system has been purchased on a lease agreement and the school expects to see a return on investment within three years. Previously Lord Williams’s School was paying £800 a quarter for a kilo stream link between the two sites – the new system has removed this cost. Around 18 months ago Lord Williams’s School moved onto Channel Comms call plan, a move which saved them £3,000 a year in call charges and with the new Aastra system, this saving is set to increase further, as making inter-site calls which were previously charged at an external call rate, are now free of charge as internal calls.

The Aastra system is future-proof and the school won’t incur additional charges for moves and changes – phones can be moved around and extra handsets added, without extra cabling being installed. Another key advantage that the Aastra system had over the others was its integration with Microsoft Exchange. Lord Williams’s School plans to roll Exchange email out campus-wide to link voice and email, which will further improve communications for all staff.

The Feedback 

“We have a brand new flexible and future-proof telephony infrastructure which was delivered within our existing telephony budget and which will afford us with a fast ROI.”

Darrell Smith – Network Manager  

Talk To The Experts

At Channel Comms, we understand that no two businesses are the same – so why would their telecoms requirements be? We work with businesses and organisations across a wide range of sectors, providing telecoms systems that are built with your business in mind. For more information, call one of our team free today on 0800 856 6900 or email info@channelcomms.co.uk to discuss your individual requirements.