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October 1, 2009

Talk is cheap at Hertford Regional College

Agito platform cuts mobile bills by 50%

By Steve Evans

Hertford Regional College (HRC) has rolled out Agito’s RoamAnywhere Mobility Router to improve in-building mobile coverage. The College has also cut its telephony bills in half with the platform.

HRC is currently undergoing a £65m regeneration, which includes new buildings in Ware and Broxbourne. The new campus in Ware is up and running, but a foil covering on insulation installed to make the building more energy efficient was blocking all mobile signal.

Daniel Hidlebaugh, network services manager at HRC told CBR that a full mobile signal outdoors would immediately be cut off when entering the building, which made it virtually impossible for mobile members of staff to stay in touch. “It made communication between staff very difficult. We had to use runners to track people down if we needed them. On one occasion it took three hours to find someone,” he said.

Agito’s platform was recommended by wireless network vendor Convergis. Agito’s service enables devices to connect to the company’s PBX over a Wi-Fi network and can automatically switch between Wi-Fi and cellular networks depending on which signal is stronger.

The RoamAnywhere Mobility Router was initially rolled out to about 30 members of staff and has since been extended to about 60 staff. Hidlebaugh added that it may eventually be extended to all members of staff.

Installation to half a day with only a couple of issues; one regarding a router and the other regarding the type of Nokia phones HRC was using, where the phone would crash when a call was attempted.

The main benefit of the Agito system is the improved communication between staff that the in-building coverage has provided, Hidlebaugh said. “We now have total coverage at the two sites, and we know where people are all the time. The desk phone-like features mean that someone can dial my extension and it goes through to my mobile,” he said.

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The College has also seen its telephony bills reduced by 50%, as calls over a Wi-Fi connection cost less than calls over the cellular network. Hidlebaugh added that he expects the investment to be paid off within two years as a result of the lower mobile bills. “But for me, the real ROI has been the man hours we’ve saved by ensuring that staff are easily reachable,” Hidlebaugh said.



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