Abingdon and Witney College

Leading Oxfordshire college chooses IPCortex to deliver comms confidence and cost savings

Project overview and benefits

  • Easy in-house management of adds, moves and changes
  • SIP trunks link five campuses
  • A system that grows with the college
  • Comprehensive suite of features

The requirement

The campus at Abingdon is the largest of the five, and while primarily a teaching location it’s also home to the administration offices, with over 300 members of staff – including Lee Reszeter, Head of IT Services.

While Reszeter’s key objective was to put an end to the risk they were incurring by using outdated and unsupportable hardware, he also wanted to use the opportunity to invest in new technology that could help to reduce costs. “Every time we wanted to phone an extension at another site it would have to travel across the PSTN, costing us money. However, I’d just increased the bandwidth of the network between the sites so it was the perfect opportunity to look at an IP based implementation. The idea that we could link the sites via VoIP to reduce call costs and then perhaps adopt Unified Communications functionality across all of the campuses was compelling,” Reszeter explains.

Adding to the challenge, it was critical to the college that they could protect their investment in the new technology – it had to be openly compatible with future solutions. “I didn’t want to have to rip and replace in a few years because I’d been constrained by the proprietary software and handsets of one sole vendor,” asserts Reszeter.

The solution

The college opted for the VoIPCortex Pro PBX and Polycom handsets for all office based staff. As a hybrid solution the VoIPCortex Pro IP PBX is ideal for the college, providing them with the flexibility to route their external calls via ISDN30 while using VoIP for internal calls – including those made between each of the sites. It also meant that it would be trivial to implement VoIP for external calls at a later date – either as the main calling solution or as an emergency back up to increase resilience.

The value

“First and foremost, the phone system is no longer a liability,” affirms Reszeter. “While I could have upgraded the existing system it would have been expensive and I would have been constrained. I didn’t want to have to use their proprietary handsets, be limited by licences, or locked in for the future. That’s what was so attractive about the VoIPCortex solution; we have the freedom to use any open SIP handset, reducing our costs and protecting our investment for the future, and the system was still less than half the price of any of the serious alternatives.”

A fit for purpose solution with advanced core functionality at a competitive cost, the VoIPCortex IP PBX offered everything the college wanted and more. “The users now feel as though they’re in the 21st century, able to easily take advantage of functionality that was either clunky or non-existent on the old system. Internal calls are easy to make, even between sites. Plus they’re free,” explains Reszeter.

“And what difference has the solution made to the day to day running of the system? We now have complete control. We no longer have to call up (and pay for) an engineer to make changes, we can just do it. It’s easy to do so, too – all of the team have picked it up really fast. Even adding a new user is as simple as plugging the phone handset into the network and making a brief configuration change – and with no user licences we are free to do so without great expense,” Reszeter adds.

What the client said...

“We have the freedom to use any open SIP handset, reducing our costs and protecting our investment for the future, and the system was still less than half the price of any of the serious alternatives.

It’s so easy to use, too – all of the team have picked it up really fast."

  • Lee Reszeter
  • Head of IT Services
  • Abingdon and Witney College

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