The Royal College of Radiologists is based in Portland Place London and became incorporated by Royal Charter in 1975. The college is a registered charity and has over 6500 members and fellows worldwide, who are registered medical or dental practitioners. The College's main objectives are the advancement of the science and practice of radiology and oncology, the furtherance of public education and the promotion and study of research.
Much of the college's day to day activities involve communicating and exchanging important information with worldwide members and fellows, such as research papers and news bulletins, offering its members advice and generally keeping them abreast of all college developments. To ensure that the college can support its members fully in this capacity, it was important for them to have a robust and flexible communications tool. The college's existing phone system (a GDK162 Goldstar), had limited functionality and was analogue based.
The main college building was grade II* listed, so any alternations in terms of cabling or drilling could not be carried out without obtaining necessary consents from the local authority. However, the college wished to get maximum value out of existing cabling and better usage from the local area network, which had been established.
The College looked to upgrade its phone system to IP telephony and decided to explore a number of options on the market, including Cisco, Mitel, NEC, Avaya, Siemens, Panasonic and Swyx. The Swyx solution offered similar functionality to its competitors but with a key difference - it was a software based sophisticated all-in-one solution with no hidden extras. As a registered charity, it was important for the college to invest in a cost effective solution that could improve communication capabilities for its members.
To experience Swyxware IP telephony in a live working environment Swyx Solutions organised for Peter Lumb, the IT Manager at the Royal College of Radiologists to visit existing installations. Impressed with Swyxware in action, and encouraged by the comments from existing users, the college decided to upgrade its phone system straight away. The college already had existing PCs, and the LAN was already set up, so it was just a matter of installing the Swyx server and software and putting phones onto desks. The Swyx solution was installed in March 2004 by Swyx Solutions reseller Quantum Business Concepts and the whole installation took around 4 days. According to the Royal College of Radiologists staff training and service received from Quantum was very good.
Features and Special Benefits
One of the first challenges for the college was to replicate existing ways of working. One attraction of the Swyx solution is its choice of phones. The college chose to install traditional style IP desk top phones, as these are very easy to use, required minimal training and satisfied the comfort needs of staff. Consequently, employees at the college have welcomed the new phone system.
The college has installed 60 phones, with some located across site in meeting rooms for conference calling. The IT Manager, Peter Lumb, and the receptionist are using PC based soft phones as this provides them with greater flexibility and functionality. As the Swyx solution is pure IP telephony and software based, the college has also been able to utilise its existing PC desktops, whilst also capitalising on the expenditure already made in its existing local area network.
However, the most fundamental benefit of the new phone system for the college has been the improved flexibility, mobility and the extensive communication possibilities it has afforded.
For example, to meet various business needs staff have to move offices from time to time, such as for decoration and maintenance works.Prior to using Swyx, any staff moves or changes involved setting up new phone extensions and laying additional cabling. This was not only time consuming, costly and disruptive for staff but it also compromised the décor of the building. With Swyx, the IT Manager can move extensions in-house without the need for a maintenance engineer or extra cabling, saving considerable time and money.
Using Swyx, staff can work flexibly by logging themselves into another IP phone using a unique ID. Also if staff members need to move around the building, calls can be re-routed to them by setting up sophisticated call routing options via the Swyx graphical script editor. This enables the IT Manager to define the destination of incoming calls, according to caller ID, enabling calls to be diverted for example to a mobile, a voicemail or re-routed back to the receptionist after so many rings. By initiating special dialling routines, the college has been able to ensure that staff members are always available to receive important calls. Other functions such as faxing from the desktop, speed dialling, and caller line identify have all helped to improve the level of service staff at the college can offer its members.
One other challenge faced by the college was to ensure continuity of service for the new phone system, and this has been achieved by installing a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply). Now, in the event of a power failure, the Swyx desktop phones will continue to operate.
Lastly, the Swyx solution is also being used to improve entry to the college out-of-hours. The door entry system has been linked to Swyx, so that if the house manager who resides at the college is not available to answer the door, a call is diverted to his mobile, which also has a voicemail facility.
The college is currently developing its main database of contacts, and once completed this will be linked to the Swyx solution so that incoming calls are displayed on screen. Once the new database has been installed, staff at the college will have access to far more member information and will be able to handle enquiries in a more personal and efficient manner.
Another development the college envisages is further support for remote workers. The beauty of Swyx IP telephony is that remote workers can be located anywhere in the world but still be part of the central phone system, giving them access to data and information as if they were based in the UK office.
What the customer says
Commenting on the Swyx Solution IT Manager, Peter Lumb for the Royal College of Radiologists said "The great thing about the Swyx solution is that all the features are included in one standard package. It really is an all-in-one solution, and we saved around £12,000 to £16,000 by choosing Swyx compared with similar systems on the market. Another major saving is being able to administer the phone system in-house. Now, if we need staff to move desks, we don't have to get maintenance engineers in, which saves money and the system is far more sympathetic to the needs of the building, as less cabling is required. Overall, we are delighted with Swyx, and the voice quality stands up for itself. We will definitely be recommending it to other business colleagues"