Leicester Theatre Trust implements new comms from NEW Philips

Leicester Theatre Trust (LTT) has turned to NEC Philips Unified Solutions to implement a revolutionary communications solution to match the innovative nature of Leicester’s new Curve theatre, a £61million state of the art cultural project which was opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 4 December.

Based around a service-orientated unified communications architecture called NEC Sphericall, the solution integrates the communications technologies with business applications providing a flexible and open infrastructure to support its current and future development plans.

Designed by renowned architect Rafael Vinoly, Curve is a huge curved glass building which features two auditoria, one with up to 803 fixed seats while a 400 flexible seated auditorium provides a versatile smaller space. When the 32 tonne steel walls separating the stage and the foyer are lifted, the stage is visible from street level. The stunning glass façade encloses a magnificent open plan foyer with views onto the café, bars, backstage area, and across the stage.

Rob Greig, ICT and operations director at the Leicester Theatre Trust explained: “Curve is a unique space, covering 139,000 square feet and combining the best of today’s technologies both front of house and behind the scenes to provide the ultimate arts experience. The space utilises technology on every level, from the opening of the front doors through to the scanning of the tickets by barcode readers at the entrance, to the stage flying control system. As such it was vital that any communications solution we decided to implement was innovative enough to meet the unusual demands of the building, and to provide a high level of flexibility and mobility for staff and theatre users.”

The solution NEC Philips delivered utilises the NEC Spherical software-based IP communications platform to underpin the mix of SIP wireless, fixed and pc–based communication devices. It also includes a unified contact centre solution for the ticket office, with integration to the theatre’s CRM and point of sale applications. The solution has built-in redundancy to ensure the constant availability of the communications technologies, and hospitality features to enable the theatre to offer communications services to corporate and other theatre users.

Greig continued: “With such a unique space we envisaged several issues in designing a communications solution to match our needs. However, the NEC Sphericall platform delivered against all our expectations and with its open architecture offers us endless opportunities to continue to develop our technology as the theatre evolves; ultimately it puts us in control of our own destiny.”

The NEC Sphericall is based on the award-winning Sphere Communications Services Engine (CSE) software and is used by a range of organisations around the globe. It runs on industry standard servers without the need for expensive proprietary hardware, and will enable the LTT to connect up to 30,000 ports across standards-based Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and analogue phones, gateways and other communications endpoints. By combining XML and SOAP technology the solution offers the LTT the capability to access a wide range of rich communications web services which can be embedded into critical business processes.

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