SpliceCom & Gamma SIP Trunks

Cambridge Assessment has chosen to deploy Splicecom maximiser with SIP trunks to simplify a potentially problematic office relocation.

Cambridge Assessment has verified the ease-of-set-up and rapid deployment capabilities of SpliceCom’s maximiser IP PBX with Gamma SIP trunks, by deploying this next-generation solution to provide the communications infrastructure for an office move forced upon them in extremely short time scales.

Established in 1858 and employing over 1,400 people around the UK, Cambridge Assessment is a department of the University of Cambridge and a not-for-profit organisation. Incorporating three major exam boards – University of Cambridge International Examinations, University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations and OCR – alongside a suite of supporting services, Cambridge Assessment is Europe’s largest assessment agency.

At short notice, a small satellite office of about 20 senior staff had to be permanently relocated to a new site across London, something of a challenge for the Cambridge Assessment telecoms team. The phone services in the existing building had grown with the office over the years and comprised of an eclectic mix of lines and numbers delivered via BT Featureline and an old Meridian Northstar. For the move to be able to proceed, it was essential for the three business groups located within the office to be able to retain their existing telephone numbers as they were both well known and well used by the organisation’s long established client base.

Cambridge Assessment chose the SpliceCom maximiser as the on site IP-PBX because of it’s ability to support SIP trunking and back-up ISDN2 services in a cost effective, robust and resilient manner. maximiser’s internal flexibility also allowed the three business groups to operate with completely separate dial plans, offering telephony feature sets that emulated the old office set-up

maximiser’s integral support of SIP was seen as key as the deployment of this IP service with Geographical Number Porting (GNP) from Gamma Telecom, was viewed by Cambridge Assessment’s group telecoms manager Chris Barron, as the ideal trunk solution, delivering exactly what was needed in the tight timescales that were required. The challenge of creating a new office location from scratch in four weeks seemed an ideal opportunity to test the robustness of this IP technology and the support processes.

“The success of the project was a testament to early planning and good project management between all three parties,” said Chris Barron, “Cambridge Assessment, CS Comms and Swains – the latter two being the suppliers of the SpliceCom maximiser system and Gamma trunk services respectively.”

Working closely with Cambridge Assessment, Swains managed geographical number porting, the provision of multiple ISDN and ADSL lines and the deployment of the SIP trunk ADSL bearer, set up to work with maximiser.

The pre-configured maximiser IP-PBX was installed by CS Comms on the Friday at mid-day. Porting of the first group of BT numbers onto the SIP trunks was managed by Swains during that afternoon. “We just plugged in the maximiser and some handsets, made a few test calls, and within a few minutes we were handling live calls,” said Chris Barron. The remaining numbers from the old site were ported on the Monday morning and the users were fully operational in a “business as usual” style before Lunchtime.

Often, the hardest part in any significant or complex telecoms deployment is in getting the billing right. It’s all very well getting dial tone and fancy phones on people’s desks, but if you can’t ensure accuracy and discrimination in the ongoing charging you’ll end up with an unhappy customer and a major administrative headache. Swains web based billing portal allows the customer to view and annotate all the services in their estate and ensure costs are controlled and allocated correctly. Swains see its new generation billing platform as one of its key differentiators in the marketplace.

Chris Barron highlighted, “In 30 years managing complex voice and data systems, its my experience that small site deployments usually demand a hugely disproportionate amount of management time and worry. As a customer, we were breaking new ground for a first site deployment so we had to do a lot of planning up front. But once we engaged with the sales channels of CS Comms and Swains it merely took a few phone calls, with orders and configuration requests being handled straight off the desk. No lengthy conference calls, no sales visits or costly site co-ordination meetings.

“Although relatively new technologies, the combination of maximiser and Gamma SIP trunking allows access to simpler, lower-cost, dial tone bandwidth and calls in very short lead times,” said Chris Barron. “Coupled with Geographical Number Porting the maximiser and Gamma SIP Trunk solution allows disparate and costly legacy systems to be replaced and sites brought up to date in an almost transparent fashion to clients and employees. And, if new facilities are needed, such as remote and mobile working or site resilience, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity solutions, then the combination of maximiser and SIP trunking can be equally effective here as well, concluded Barron.

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