Rowville Secondary College and eComms successfully deployed a complex virtualised Mitel solution across two campuses in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic in order to assist with remote learning and staff working from home.
Rowville Secondary College caters for over 1800 students across their Western and Eastern campuses. In striving for excellence in learning and progressive use of technology, they provide programs such as their Maths and Science Academy, which includes a robotics unit; a Sports Academy with a dedicated sports precinct; and an Institute of Arts, with it’s own 500 seat performing arts centre.
Rowville has a long history of working with eComms and had been using a Samsung system for many years. Several factors propelled them to consider refreshing their system – Samsung’s exit from the global PBX market, the shutdown of the ISDN network across Australia, and wanting a more resilient solution.
Rowville is underpinned by a proactive internal IT department that is focussed on enabling better services to students and staff through the enhancement and adoption of new technologies. They already have a large Aruba WiFi network footprint, use Office 365 including Microsoft Teams extensively as their collaboration platform, and the two campuses are linked via a fixed wireless radio link.
The Mitel solution comprises of two pillars: MiVoice Business and MiCollab that not only replaces the Samsung environment, but also introduces mobility feature sets and a range of new handsets.
A primary controller was installed at the Western campus and a resilient controller at the Eastern campus. Enterprise SIP was used between the campuses allowing for total redundancy – if either campus fails, the system auto-fails over and the phones continue to work. If the radio link between the campuses goes down, the Mitel handsets can still operate over the Internet.
Once the school went into ‘lockdown’ eComms had to replan the implementation to ensure social distancing and the safety of all concerned. We utilised RCS (Redirection and Configuration Service) to enable touchless deployment of over one hundred handsets that reduced 75% of the typical effort and enabled us to condense the project timeline.
We collaborated closely with Rowville IT to tirelessly stand up the server infrastructure and network changes over the brief school holiday period. Hats off to the Rowville internal IT team for such a tremendous effort! eComms then provided remote training to empower their IT team and close off the project.
All this was possible due to the cloud based virtual nature of the Mitel solution – no bulky PBX hardware was required, it was simply deployed on existing server infrastructure and configured remotely. Handsets can easily be plugged in by IT or even teaching staff themselves, and then configured over the Internet if required.
The mobility feature set enables the staff to communicate in flexible ways; including being able to take handsets home which operate over any Internet connection and using the MiCollab software on a laptop or even their iPhone or Android devices.
The Mitel solution has already proven itself, allowing for features and capabilities well beyond what the Samsung or other vendors could offer. It was designed well before Covid-19 occurred and suddenly some of the ‘nice to have’ Mitel attributes became essential, ensuring staff could easily work from home.