South West Comms gives Bideford College access to Interactive Learning

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South West Communications Group has recently been awarded a sizable contract to provide a wireless, ICT-rich environment that could be a blueprint for schools and colleges in the future.

The Exeter-based communications specialist has designed an Alcatel-Lucent multi-media network for voice, data, video, CCTV and digital signage for Bideford College. The network comprises a local area network and a wide-ranging WiFi solution.

South West Communications Group’s specialist engineering team has already begun the installation process at the College’s brand new £44 million building that is set to be completed before the start of the new academic year.

The new wired data network will connect all 200-plus staff and more than 1,600 students with access to full multi-media content, such as video streaming and audio visual presentations, providing the latest tools for interactive, modern-day teaching and learning.

However, it is the campus-wide wireless WiFi solution that will give the students the ability to roam the site, both inside the building and outside in its grounds, giving them access to College resources from laptops and mobile-enabled WiFi devices, such as iPhones and iPads.

The solution also provides a new Alcatel-Lucent IP telephone system, which will use the new data network to connect to the 180 telephone extensions within the college, to take advantage of cost savings and the streamlined working practices associated with IP technology.

South West Communications Group sales director Sarah Flowers said: “This project represents an innovative approach into the provision of data in schools and colleges. It also provides a blueprint for educational establishments in the implementation of data, voice, digital signage and video, including streaming media across entire college campuses. We are proud to be involved with Bideford College and its vision to become the ‘School of the Future’.”

Mike Newby MBE, Bideford College’s project co-ordinator, said “Having looked in depth at the range of technologies available to meet with Bideford College’s aspirations for site-wide access and connectivity, it was identified that not only did South West Communications Group provide a system that met with the intent but that, as a company, they showed the ability to listen to the customer’s requirements.

“They ably demonstrated that the systems could achieve sufficient resilience and capacity to allow all projected use, and more, within budgetary constraints. The knowledge and customer awareness of the on-site installation and technical team, along with the off-site project management team, have been a creditable asset to the way in which the systems have been bedded in at the College.”