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Calthorpe Estates

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Calthorpe Estates is a leading property developer and investor responsible for the development of the Calthorpe Estate in Edgbaston, creating a range of mixed use, office and science park developments. They also provide both freehold and leasehold residential and commercial properties and their focus on sustainable regeneration has won them many awards.

When Calthorpe outgrew their existing premises and needed to extend into a second building, they chose Total to provide a new system along with a value add solution.

Connecting the two sites would not have been possible with Calthorpe’s existing system. Instead IP telephony was the obvious solution to provide easy to use, reliable communication and seamless continuity between the premises. Thus following consultation, Total recommended an Avaya IP Office system. Initial discussions also revealed that Calthorpe proposed installing a wireless data link between the two buildings, providing a 100mg connection, which could be utilised as a cost effective and beneficial network solution.

Richard Johnson, IT Manager at Calthorpe Estates explains: ‘Fortunately, the new building was just within the line of sight of our existing premises, thus this data link could also be used for telephony. It also offered far greater bandwidth than a VPN could provide.’

‘Our switchboard is located in the original premises and standard digital phones were used in this building. In the new premises, IP phones were set up, which work from the data system. The install process couldn’t have been easier, then the ISDNs were switched on and we were ready to go – in fact, services were only down for about ten minutes in all.’

Richard reports that the sound quality of those users with IP phones via networked PCs is superb and that Reception find the Avaya system straightforward to use, despite the differing locations of staff. And, as the company grows in size and further personnel move into the new premises, accommodating them is as simple as ordering and plugging in the additional handsets.

Having opted for a system that is user friendly means the company has also increased their use of services such as teleconferencing. ‘Previously people struggled remembering strings of keys and codes for conferencing or diverts. However, with Avaya Phone Manager, it’s so easy and as a result we have seen an increase in people utilising the full functionality offered.’

Generally, Richard finds the majority of maintenance is un-complicated too but if they need help, it is only a phone call away due to their Total maintenance cover. ‘We have only ever experienced one technical issue and this was swiftly resolved by a skilled engineer from Total.’

Calthorpe Estates originally became a Total customer, following the impersonal service they were receiving from their mobile existing supplier of ten years.

Richard says: ‘Our primary issue at that time was lack of continuity of service, as we were passed between departments. During the tender process, Total proved competitive and I liked their ethos, structure and intuitive online billing facility. Since choosing them, our call charges have decreased further and we have also implemented Windows Mobile devices. Due to the frequency of communication, I have quickly become familiar with many of the team at Total and I know if we need assistance I can always be confident that any issues will be resolved swiftly. In short the service is excellent.’

Richard concludes: ‘Having a partner you can trust and develop a strong working relationship with is invaluable, and as everything is available under one roof, I don’t need to spend time managing other telecoms suppliers. So often, a company will promise visits and regular pro-active contact yet this doesn’t happen. It has been so refreshing to work with Total who have consistently lived up to all their service promises.’

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