16 October 2016
Ipswich-based Orwell Housing Association has 3,500 properties with 7,500 residents across 14 sites. It sought to upgrade its existing system for greater reliability and coverage, and to avoid any chance that residents and staff could not contact each other.
Jamie Hopkins, head of ICT for Orwell Housing, says: “We are constantly looking at ways to improve the facilities at our support and care housing schemes, and the Warden Call system which allows tenants to quickly contact a member of staff is a key requirement.
“Our existing system was starting to show its age in terms of reliability and features, and the growth of our extra care schemes over the years had led to coverage issues. Our concern was that there was a small chance that a call might not get through to the right person in a timely fashion.”
Orwell already had a SIP-based cloud telephony system called YourUCP from Comms Supply, a long time supplier, and a Warden Call communication system.
Based on the need for better coverage, seamless call handover between cells and integration with both the Warden system and Orwell’s SIP-based telephony platform, Comms Supply designed a new setup based on Gigaset’s pro Multicell base stations and DECT handsets.
Each pro N720IP Multicell system is designed to support up to 100 DECT handsets, 30 parallel calls and, says the vendor, allows up to 30 base stations to be easily connected to extend coverage and number of users. The N720IP also supports both on-premise and cloud based telephone systems.
Karl Alderton, project manager for Comms Supply, says: “The highly configurable nature of the Gigaset pro devices meant that with just a short migration project, we were able to integrate the system with the Warden Call platform and all the features from our cloud PBX.”
To date, Comms Supply has upgraded the phone systems at Orwell sites in Lowestoft, Woodbridge, Stowmarket and Loddon, as well as installing new systems in Felixstowe, Saxmundham and Kesssingland, benefiting over 150 residents.
Hopkins says the new DECT system has offered great coverage and call quality, while the handsets have proven easy for staff to use. He adds: “Our plan is to upgrade the majority of our sites over the next few years.”