Unified Communications Graduates with Honours in Education Sector

ShoreTel say there is a growing adoption of Unified Communications by schools and colleges in the United Kingdom.

U.K. schools and colleges are looking to transform communications by making staff more accessible to colleagues and parents, while also under pressure to reduce costs. As a result, ShoreTel has found that new UC alternatives are being considered, adopted and rolled-out at a rapid pace throughout the education sector. Colleges spread across multiple campuses are seeing significant cost-saving and efficiency gains by transforming their communications networks.

At the forefront of U.K. colleges deploying UC systems are Richard Huish, a leading sixth form college in Taunton Somerset, Coleg Glan Hafren, Cardiff’s largest further education college, and Trafford College with five sites across Manchester, the result of a merger between North and South Trafford Colleges.

In the case of Coleg Glan Hafren, IT staff was able to consolidate four sites under a single, reliable, centrally managed ShoreTel UC system. Configured with ShorePhone IP Telephones for 600 users, parents can now easily contact teachers and college administrators by simply selecting an extension, or dialling by name or department.

After its recent merger, Trafford College was faced with two management-intensive legacy phone systems, and different PSTN providers from the old North and South Trafford Colleges. Not only was it difficult to track costs, as calls could not be logged and all cross-site calls were billable, but most importantly the two main sites operated on totally different ISDN circuits, making it impossible to transfer calls between sites on the legacy PBXs. The ShoreTel UC system enabled Trafford College to benefit from the reduced costs of VoIP, and to consolidate all five sites on a single phone system, resulting in significant savings on internal calls between the sites.

Mark Swendsen, managing director, EMEA, ShoreTel: “Unified Communications is no longer the reserve of large enterprises and high-tech companies. The education sector is now viewing UC as a powerful way to help teachers become more accessible, while enabling them to maintain control of how they manage their communications, and allowing them to focus on the most important thing – teaching.”