The London Ambulance Service (LAS) is the busiest emergency ambulance service in the UK and has to offer a service that is always available and operating efficiently. It has therefore chosen BT as its partner, to ensure that its technology infrastructure equips LAS staff to deal with every eventuality.
Explains Chidi Oparah, UC Project Manager for LAS: “We initially decided to transform our voice and data networks to meet increasing demands on our service. However, it became clear during our discussions with BT that we could achieve maximum operational benefit, now and in the future, if we were to deploy a Unified Communications platform at the same time as moving to IP telephony across our 80 sites.”
To reduce complexity, individual IP phone numbers have been issued so that employees can log in at any phone on the network, regardless of location - which make office moves and changes easier to organise. Fewer lines into each building saves money, while IP telephony means that operational directors can be in constant contact with their teams, wherever they are based.
“For an organisation like ours, reliable communication is vital,” says Chidi Oparah. “Having a system down could severely impair our ability to do our job effectively. BT has therefore installed a WAN acceleration solution and fibre ring network with alternate routing to give us resilient fall-back systems.”
The success of the initial project led to further work to utilise the platform with video conferencing facilities being installed at eight locations to reduce travel to meetings. The efficiencies gained in employee productivity have prompted three more locations to be set up and a MeetingPlace® facility extended to all staff to enable them to initiate conference calls, live meetings and collaborative web sessions at amoment’s notice.
In a second project phase, BT has developed a Digital Media Signage solution for the LAS Command and Control Centre to help deploy its ambulances more effectively in the busy capital. An event commander can see London’s hotspots, assess what is happening and decide what resources need to be allocated. The screens give live ‘red, amber, green’ feedback on LAS vehicles, so that there is always clarity on their availability, allowing them to be more quickly mobilised.
Chidi concludes: “BT has been a very knowledgeable and flexible partner… The level of experience and expertise was first class, flawlessly deploying the solution with no impact on day-to-day operations, and we know we can trust the team to continue to work with us to provide the most effective service possible.”