Pimlico Academy is an Outstanding secondary school based in south Westminster, and is part of a family of schools run by Future Academies. It is a large publicly funded non-fee paying school for local children. The academy opened in 2008 following a large scale expansion; there was another large scale expansion in 2013 with the opening of Pimlico Primary, creating an all-through school for local families.
Since the academy’s expansion in 2008, Clearlink has continually maintained and provided new telephony hardware in order to meet new demands. Even during a new build project, it was crucial for safety and security to ensure that all communications were kept operational. The school has used cordless handsets which have been a key part of the way they use the system. We have now been able to supply a host of options to continue with this as well as securing easily implemented expansion using the up to date IT infrastructure.
- IT integration means that handsets can be easily deployed
- Easy upgrade path from existing cordless phones to mobiles
- Able to make use of VoIP telephony and external networking
- Software integration features easily added to the system
The schools existing system supplied the needs in its own building but was starting to reach its capacity, especially since incorporating Pimlico Primary within the same building, sharing this system.
The future aims to allow the addition of schools in to the same network was not possible with the existing equipment as it wasn’t capable of connecting to the IT network.
The old cordless handsets were subject to being dropped and needing expensive repairs, In addition, the system components were very old at this point making maintenance costly and a concern should replacements be needed for continued system operation.
Clearlink have supplied the academy with a Unify Openscape Business X8 system. This was a direct upgrade path from the previous HiPath 3750.
As a result of this direct upgrade, it meant that the academy has been able to reuse its existing handsets, providing the flexibility of upgrading them only when it suits them.
In addition the cordless handsets could be re-used until such time as a decision could be made upon how the academy staff wanted to move forwards with the mobility options that are now available.
Work Carried Out
Our Unify qualified engineers replaced the old HiPath chassis with the new X8 system and connected this to the academy data network. The existing cordless handset base stations were connected to ensure continued use of this facility.
As part of an ongoing trial, mobile handsets were configured to provide the opportunity of staff using this as an alternative to cordless handsets.
- Significant upfront savings and maintenance cost reductions.
- Future proof technology providing clear options to choose from.
- Telephones will be deployed easily through the data network.
Results, Return on Investment and Future Plans
The academy now has a clear way forward with its communications system, and is able to incorporate a great deal more through IP technology that is now available on the new hardware.
The system is now fully integrated with the data network and as part of this; it means that it is visible to IT staff. The IT department is now able to log in and administer the system, giving the academy more independence and control of its communications equipment.
New hardware means an extremely high level of reliability and as part of this the maintenance costs have been significantly reduced.
The use of old handsets means that the upfront costs of an upgrade had been significantly reduced without the immediate requirement to replace them with the current up to date range of handsets.
The academy can now look to take on much more extensions and even network with other telephone systems within its family of schools. This means that communication between different sites will become seamless and cost effective for both the academy and joining schools.
Pimlico Academy has been a Clearlink customer for over 10 years, during this time they have provided a truly superior service, whilst remaining cost effective. Their experience in the education sector provides a wealth of ideas and solutions making the feat of replacing our antiquated telephony system genuinely painless. Creating a resolution that is ready to scale with our MAT whilst still being easily managed by onsite IT staff, safe in the knowledge that help is only a phone call away. – Adam Konn, IT Support Technician