Unified communications lets university staff work from home during pandemic

West University of Timișoara modernized its telephony platform, consolidated phone numbers and enabled work-from-home.

At a glance

The university modernized its telephony platform into a flexible, modular IP system with extension capabilities and a fiber-optic network that connects its locations and buildings.

Outcomes

  • Expanded capacity for new subscribers
  • Gained flexibility in allocating or installing phones
  • Implemented work-from-home to remain active during the COVID lockdown
  • Eliminated multiple phone numbers with One Number Service that sends calls to mobile numbers

Universitatea de Vest din Timișoara (UVT)/West University of Timişoara (WUT) is the main higher education institution and research center in Western Romania. It comprises roughly 16,000 students and 700 academic staff. It offers nationally accredited programs at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels in arts, design, chemistry, biology, geography, economics, business administration, law, letters, history, theology, mathematics, computer science, music, theater, physical education, sports, physics, political sciences, philosophy, communication sciences, sociology and psychology. More about WUTA.

The needed migration to IP telephony

WUT had four old HiPath 3700 telephone systems that had been neither updated nor upgraded, all networked via an old HiPath Gateway. As WUT’s requirements grew, its aging private branch exchanges (PBXs) weren’t making the grade. They were at capacity without room for new users. They couldn’t be upgraded or migrated to IP — and surprisingly for the year 2020, some buildings could not be connected. Meanwhile requests for new telephone stations were increasing, with more were expected as the university was adding new offices to its 23 locations.

There was no choice. The Technology and Communications services department requested a new PBX solution with a dedicated server that allows expansion to 1,500 users. This solution would eliminate the old and obsolete PBXs. Leadership also decided to create an internal fiber network and not invest in old copper cabling.

Smart as SPOC

The project had to accomplish three things: address the increased numbers of internal phones, optimize external lines, and create a single point of contact (SPOC) for the entire university rather than different lines for different facilities.

In mid-December 2020, the project team of engineers and specialists from Romservice Telecomunicatii, Atos and WUT collaborated to implement:

  • OpenScape Business Server Edition – for IP communications and required expansion
  • OpenScape Business X8 – for connection with operators and for existing TDM users (analog and digital)
  • OpenStage 30T digital phones
  • OpenScape CP 200 IP phones

They created new numbering plans and prepared IP plans to work with an existing server. Then they upgraded the old phone system and finally used OpenScape Business Server S to migrate the old digital ports to IP phones.

The biggest challenge was keeping the network operating with the old HiPath system. Because of this protocol and the different network types for old HiPath versus new OpenScape systems, the team had to do all the programing manually.

Accelerated commencement

The team delivered WUT’s telephony platform with all requirements in fewer than 30 days. And it accomplished the main goal of using IP/SIP technology to increase the number of internal phones — plus mobile phones.

Now the university has a modern, flexible, modular IP system with extension capabilities. And, it can connect all the university locations and buildings through its own fiber-optic network.

WUT was also able to retain some of its existing hardware, which it appreciates. Other benefits of implementing the new solution:

  • Expanded capacity for new subscribers
  • Flexibility in allocating and installing phones
  • Implementing work-from-home services that allowed activities during the COVID lockdown
  • Consolidation of phone numbers
  • The ability to route calls to mobile phones

Creating teachable moments

As an added bonus, the new infrastructure has transformed the WUT Technology and Communications department into a working study lab for students.

Why Atos for unified communications

OpenScape Business is the modern and future-proof all-in-one solution for unified communication and collaboration, specially tailored to the requirements of small and medium-sized enterprises with one or more locations.

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