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Home | Case Studies | London Bible College

London Bible College - Voice and Data convergence with VoIP

In a clear demonstration that voice and data convergence and in particular Voice over IP (VoIP) provides business benefits and cost savings today, the London Bible College depends on an innovative Alchemy Series solution for all their communications needs. This article has also been used by Avaya as one of its case studies.


Background

The London Bible College (LBC) situated in Northwood, Middlesex, caters for approximately 500 students, 150 staff and doubles up as a hotel and conference center outside of term-time. IT Manager, Robert Draper, needed to update his voice and data communication system to meet the requirements of the students and staff in addition to the demands of a first class hotel and conference center - all, of course, on a limited budget! In addition to fulfilling the basic requirements, Robert also had a "wish-list" that included Internet access in every bedroom, along with a private phone, voicemail facility and personalized billing.


Our Solution

Traditional technologies could certainly fulfill some of Robert's requirements, but at a far greater cost than the budget allowed. Additionally, these solutions would have required copper cabling to be run throughout a large campus to every room. A combined Alchemy Series and Penguin (a Linux based billing system from Q.931) solution proved to be the only way Robert could meet his goals and his budget.

Caltell Communications (01484-423456), now part of the Xpert Systems group, are a long standing datacomms distributor, who seeing the opportunities offered by voice and data convergence, started distributing the Alchemy Series in January 1998. For the London Bible College project they partnered with us as voice and data convergence specialists, the two parties working closely together to design a solution to meet all of LBC's requirements.

The solution based around two Argent Branch platforms, utilized a combination of standard analogue telephones and Voice over IP technology at a significantly lower cost than any legacy configuration could possibly have met. The network infrastructure used a combination of structured cabling and long fibre runs to provided the required connectivity.

The Results

The Alchemy Series solution, installed in late Summer 1999, has achieved the following;

  • The first installation of its kind in the education sector
  • Telephone and Internet access in every room
  • Students/delegates can view their personal phone bill on the LBC Intranet, hear the balance read to them over the phone at any point and preview the cost per minute of a call before it is made.
  • For pre-pay use, the system stops calls being made once the students/delegates credit limit is reached, without the use of credit cards
  • The entire network can be managed remotely, via Remote Access with corresponding security. This can even be achieved from a Web browser on Robert's mobile phone.
  • Within two minutes, Robert can change the configuration of the system from normal term time operation to that required by the Conference Centre with hotel-type billing functionality.

The measure of a successful installation is the degree to which it satisfies the original brief. However, the key as to whether the brief matches user expectations is harder to quantify. Within the relatively new technology area of voice and data convergence and in a demanding configuration such as the London Bible College, the comments of the users and the IT Manager are paramount.
Robert Draper found the Alchemy Series platforms to be "stable, easy-to-use and flexible, furthermore, a recent student survey found that they were really pleased with the voicemail facilities. As for the VoIP, the Quality of Service is truly excellent, you cannot tell that it's not a traditional telephone system." Clearly the customer and the users are happy.


Summary

Clearly the solution designed and supplied has met the brief of the customer and pleased the users. That it has done so within a tight budget speaks volumes for the cost-effectiveness of the Alchemy Series and of their ability to converge within the customer's data requirements. What is also clear from this installation is that the partnership between the parties (supplier, reseller and customer) is of critical importance in achieving such a satisfactory conclusion.

If this case study proves one thing, it is that, with the Alchemy Series, the theories of the Next Generation PBX and voice and data convergence are theories no longer. The future is here!


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