“ I am very pleased. We now have a very stable PBX platform, that has dramatically reduced our call costs while at the same time inheriting a feature rich, open platform which has also improved the mobility and efficiency of our organization ” Ben Willcox, British Gymnastics
British Amateur Gymnastics Association
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A way to replace a costly and outdated phone solution.
VoIP networks and IP phones can offer tremendous benefits to organisations with multiple locations. British Amateur Gymnastics Association (BAGA), the Governing Body for the sport of Gymnastics in the UK required a call management solution that would allow them to connect their remote offices and home workers while considerably reducing call costs.
Based at the Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire, British Gymnastics works from three separate buildings with a total of 80 staff of which 20 work from home or remote offices. Considering the vast advantages of Internet telephony, British Gymnastics decided to make use of its broadband connection to create a robust VoIP environment.
British Gymnastics had an Avaya PBX system in place. Three years after its original implementation, the system reached its end-of-life. They did not want to upgrade the system with its current replacement product and wanted instead to opt for a feature-rich platform which adopted open standards technology.
British Gymnastics explored the possibilities of a VoIP solution, primarily because they had a number of remote offices that could easily be linked using voice over IP on their existing broadband connection and the considerable potential for cost savings on inter-office calls. The system also needed to be scalable and interoperable with other vendors' equipment. Overall, they required high reliability and flexibility.
Their foremost concern was, if their existing LAN infrastructure would cope with the additional VoIP traffic. They were also concerned if QoS (Quality of Service) would be an issue, both on the LAN and WAN.
With prior experience of using an Asterisk PBX, British Gymnastics chose to go with an Asterisk-based VoIP solution due to its overwhelming advantages over a proprietary hardware-based VoIP PBX.
British Gymnastics chose Telappliant as its Internet telephony solutions vendor having had previous experience trialing its VoIPtalk service and utilising its superior technical support services.
British Gymnastics approached Telappliant specifically asking for an Asterisk implementation. Although Telappliant has its own web-based IP PBX solution, called VoIPOffice, British Gymnastics wanted to leverage their internal I.T. expertise to get the most out of a pure Asterisk platform. Telappliant was chosen to supply, configure and install the Asterisk solution.
Telappliant managed an out-of-hours migration strategy to ensure that BAGA's users would be seamlessly migrated from the legacy telephone system to a fully VoIP-based solution. I am very pleased. We now have a very stable PBX platform, says Ben Willcox, IT Manager for British Gymnastics. By migrating to an Asterisk platform, we have dramatically reduced our call costs while at the same time inheriting a feature rich, open platform which has also improved the mobility and efficiency of our organization. Telappliant provided us with support and assistance every step of the way to ensure that our migration was as seamless and straightforward as possible.
In the short term, the implementation of a single unified dial plan across all of the remote offices is the biggest improvement for British Gymnastics as it means that calls can be made between extensions regardless of the physical location at no cost. Remote users can use softphones on their laptops to make telephone calls back to the office from anywhere in the world. While inter-office calls are free, calls to any other destination can be made at huge cost savings using the Telappliant VoIPtalk Internet telephony service.
In the long term it offers BAGA the possibility to integrate the IP PBX with their existing operational and business support systems to provide additional services to their members, such as information services delivered via SMS. This is made possible by using the Asterisk server as a gateway to a third party bulk SMS provider.
There are numerous advantages of opting for an open source Asterisk solution. These include the ability to run on standard server hardware and provide easy integration points with our existing systems and applications. Asterisk has a global support community which means that my team has access to an extensive existing knowledge base. Furthermore there are no ongoing software licensing costs and adding features and fixing bugs is simply a software upgrade. An advantage of a software-based PBX is that we can now run a test/development server with identical configuration, to test any required changes before applying them to the live system, for just the hardware cost of a spare PC.
Despite the initial challenges with the implementation, the technical team at Telappliant were very helpful and responded very quickly to get all the issues resolved to ensure that we had a reliable, solid PBX platform, said Ben Willcox.