Case Study: North London secondary school migrates seamlessly to a modern communications system enabling fixed costs and independent internal management.
The high-performing comprehensive school and sixth form in North London weren’t receiving the benefits of a modern communication system. Their existing phone system was basic, expensive and siloed from the rest of the IT function. In order to meet the needs of a modern school, M-Tech proposed a PBX that was manageable in-house, provided unified communications features and within budget.
- The school had a traditional, Digital Samsung PBX phone system which wasn’t servicing their modern communications needs.
- BT will be phasing out the ISDN and PSTN networks over the coming years. The school were mindful of the need to migrate from this legacy technology on their own timeframe, rather than forcibly nearer the deadline.
- Although the school had a capable in-house IT team they were unable to make amends independently of their phone provider.
The Project in Detail
M-Tech was selected as the school’s partner on this project following their proposal of a virtualised 3CX telephony platform, running on existing server hardware.
The phone system was configured to the school’s specification, including the setup of an auto attendant and hunt groups, with 16 SIP trunks. The chosen package allows for 64 concurrent calls (16 external and 48 internal) on 71 new IP phones. As a virtual system, no additional cabling or disruption to the school day was required during installation.
Phone System Features
3CX includes an abundance of communications features all in one user-friendly platform, at no additional cost. School staff can see the availability of others through the ‘presence’ screen. This prevents unnecessary interruptions during lesson time, meetings or private consultations.
Faxes and voicemails are delivered directly to the recipient’s inbox as either PDFs or sound files. There’s no requirement to have any fax server software.
Web conferencing for multiple participants is included free of charge, reducing the reliance on and expense of third-party plugins.
As well as these features, the phone system also provides call queuing, forwarding rules, an auto-attendant, click to dial and a call centre tools.
The call centre module lets the school monitor calls, manage real time queue strategies and track how many staff members are logged into the phone system at any one time.
3CX also provides intuitive VoIP softphone and smartphone apps, giving staff members instant access to communication tools on the go.
All of the school’s communications would be reliant on the same connection following the switch to an IP phone system. A disaster recovery plan was called for.
An FTTC connection was installed to allow for disaster recovery in the event of the school’s main internet failing. M-Tech also installed a WatchGuard Firebox router to give hardware resiliency in the event of the school’s internet router failing. This has been complemented with the M-Tech carrier’s inbound calling disaster recovery service which monitors the availability of the telephone system and SIP trunk provider and will automatically re-route calls to the available path or in the event of a total site outage, a mobile telephone.
Training and Handover
M-Tech were committed to ensuring a smooth handover. The lead engineer delivered a full day’s onsite training to staff to build user confidence and encourage adoption of the newly available features. The technical team learnt how to add and move extensions, set up forwarding rules and more.
The End Result
The school now benefit from regular monthly billing. Calls to 01, 02 and 07 numbers are all included in the package – only international numbers are billed on top.
The inclusive features of web conferencing, a mobile application, voicemail to email and a reception console have dramatically improved efficiency for staff.
M-Tech provide unlimited remote support for the system during regular office hours. The school always have someone on hand to advise them on any amends.
The IT team can rest assured in the knowledge they now have a unified, scalable communications infrastructure, one to which more advanced features and functionality can be added over time.
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