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Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Cheshire Fire Service goes wireless
Fire appliance onboard computer information helping improve responses to emergencies

Cheshire Fire Service has awarded Xpert Communications a contract to provide wireless technology in all 24 fire stations in the county. With this new technology, fire appliances can have their onboard computers updated with essential information improving effective responses to all emergency calls and incidents.

“To date it’s been necessary for stations to undertake a weekly information update to the Appliance PC’s using a floppy disk arrangement. In addition ICT technicians have had to visit each fire station and update the computers whenever a technical fix or update was required. Now, with the introduction of wireless technology, the PCs and information can be updated remotely. Not only will this improve the speed of update but will ensure timely dissemination and utilisation of information to fire fighters.” said Ian Davies, ICT Operations Manager, Cheshire Fire Service.

Using the onboard computers , fire-fighters can call up accurate information whilst responding to a 999 call. En route to, and at the site of an incident, details of a particular location and significant features such as flammable and explosive materials, hazardous substances can be viewed. With this information, fire-fighters are able to quickly make an informed decision about the incident strategy thereby helping reduce the chance of casualties and damage to property.

Updating the information remotely ensures that all computers have the most current information as soon as it becomes available without the reliance on manual intervention. This process will help to prevent failures, oversights and delays that can happen when relying on an individual to conduct updates.

Neil Andrews, Xpert Communications said “We have a very strong relationship with Cheshire Fire Service that has spanned many years and we’re extremely pleased to have won this contract. Wireless technology will bring a new dimension to the Fire Service helping them put critical information into the hands of fire-fighters, improve its response to emergencies and deliver an improved public service.”

Each of the fire stations in Cheshire will have a Cisco Wireless Access Point installed in the appliance bay. Thirty seven of the fire appliances already have a ruggedized PC installed which will have a client adapter attached to allow the PC to connect to the Local Area Network when the appliance is in its bay. Sophisticated security products will be implemented to ensure that only authorised PCs and users and connect to the Fire Service network. Cisco’s Wireless LAN Solution Engine will provide a management platform to enable the devices to be remotely managed from the Service Headquarters in Winsford.

Xpert commenced installation in January and the new system will be up and running by the end of March 2005.
Press Contacts:Ann Fielder / Kate SmithInsight Marketing & Communications0208 564 6385 / 01625 506 420afielder@insightmkt.com / ksmith@insightmkt.com
Monday, March 07, 2005
Xpert Communications installed 200 extra phone lines at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in time for the G7 Summit

London, 7th March, 2005 – Just seven days before the start of the G7 Financial Ministers Summit, Xpert Communications was called upon to help install 200 extra phone lines at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre so that it could act as the Summit press centre.

Conference Centre ICT Manager, Richard Battersby commented: “With only one week to go until the summit, we needed an incredibly fast turnaround. Xpert was familiar with our system so they were able to install extra PRI (Primary Rate Interface) cards in just a few hours enabling us to provide an extra 200 phone lines for the two day summit.”

This installation follows Xpert upgrading the centre’s 18-year-old phone system. After a rigorous tender process, Xpert Communications was identified as offering the best value-for-money, and because of the company’s professionalism and attention to detail, were chosen to upgrade the existing Plessey ISDX switch, to a Mitel 3300 Integrated Communications Platform (ICP).

“We were aware that the technology was becoming out of date,” continued Battersby, “and we wanted a more modern system that would provide better functionality and make maintenance easier. The new system has integrated voicemail and is far more reliable.”

The Mitel Networks 3300 ICP offers over 500 features including voicemail, auto-attendant, hot-desking and support for touch-of-a-button, drag-and-drop video and audio conferencing. The system also has support for the broadest range of IP desktop devices within the industry today.

With The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre only closed for four weeks during the summer, this upgrade also had to take place during a strict time frame. “Xpert completed the upgrade in just four weeks and it was this rapid turnaround that convinced us that they were the right suppliers when it came to installing the new phone lines for the summit,” explained Richard Battersby.


About Xpert Communications
Xpert Communications is the UK’s leading independent converged IP solutions provider, with expertise in contact centres, voice and video, IP networks and security. Offering solutions for health, education, local government, retail and finance, Xpert Communications understands the unique demands faced by organisations in these sectors and is able to specify solutions which provide real commercial advantage and operational efficiencies. Xpert Communications partners with the world’s leading providers of hardware, infrastructure and applications, including Avaya, BT, Cisco, HP and Mitel.

For further information visit www.xpertcommunications.co.uk

About The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre
The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (QEIICC) is a premier purpose-built venue in a prestigious location in the heart of London. The QEIICC is an executive agency of the office of the Deputy Prime Minister and is uniquely situated against the stunning backdrop of Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, The Houses of Parliament and The London Eye.

The QEIICC has four main auditoria, seven conference rooms and over 20 smaller meeting rooms across seven floors, catering for events from 40 to 1,000 delegates in plenary session and 3,000 in total capacity. It is renowned for the experience and professionalism of its staff, the quality and reliability of its services, its high level of security and use of leading-edge technology.

The majority of the QEIICC's business is private sector, whether corporate or association business. In the last financial year, over 400 events were held at the Centre. The Centre's turnover in the last financial year, 2003-2004, was £9.263 million – up 18 per cent on the previous year.

Press Contacts:

Ann Fielder / Kate Smith

Insight Marketing and Communications

0208 564 6385 / 01625 506 420

afielder@insightmkt.com / ksmith@insightmkt.com
Friday, March 04, 2005
IT headache cured for SMEs with launch of new managed service
SystemHost provides all IT needs through a simple network connection

4 March 2005 – Carnforth-based SystemHost Ltd today announced the launch of its new service providing total IT management for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). SystemHost will provide customers with a secure and reliable managed IT service for a fixed monthly fee, which then frees managers and directors to concentrate on their core business activity.

Many SMEs do not have the resources to employ a full-time IT manager, and IT-related issues are often dealt with by staff as part of their day-to-day responsibilities. This can often lead to frustrated staff, diverted from their ‘proper’ jobs to spend time trying to fix IT problems, and an ad-hoc IT infrastructure with no provision for future needs. SystemHost is aiming to provide these smaller companies with a better way of working by using high speed, low cost broadband connections.

“SystemHost is itself a small business. We understand that what an SME needs is help, support, guidance and experience. With our well-developed relationships with the key industry vendors such as HP, Microsoft and Your Communications, and our fully qualified and accredited IT personnel, we can take away the pain of managing an IT infrastructure by, in effect, becoming the SME’s IT department. This means we can offer peace of mind when dealing with all IT issues,” explained Darren Clement, managing director of SystemHost Ltd.

SystemHost provides organisations with up-to-date equipment, software, helpdesk and support services, reducing IT-related downtime and speeding up many working practices. By providing IT as a managed service instead of a set of products, SMEs are able to increase productivity, and therefore profitability, through a more efficient working environment for staff.

SystemHost will consult on the exact requirements of each individual company and fit its service around their own specific needs. It then manages the systems for a fixed monthly fee, making IT spend completely transparent, predictable and manageable. The service provides companies with exactly what they need, on demand, when they need it.

Forward-thinking customers that have already signed up to SystemHost include Quay Equestrian (manufacturing and supplying horse care products), RG Construction (a construction company), and C&S Civils (civil engineers). Fisher Wrathall, a Lancaster-based, high-value estate agency and chartered surveyor business, has also seen the benefit of SystemHost’s service. “Effectively, IT is no longer a problem and we have been freed up to do our jobs - run our business - confident in the knowledge that SystemHost will be looking after our IT. Our IT was suffocating the business at one stage, but we are now breathing freely,” said Geoffrey Rowlinson, partner at Fisher Wrathall.

Further details on the new service can be found on www.systemhost.co.uk. SystemHost is a subsidiary of NetCentrix Ltd, a well established server based computing and storage systems reseller.

- ENDS -

About SystemHost:
SystemHost’s mission is to provide UK-based SMEs with a better, hassle-free, more cost-effective, more resource-efficient way of acquiring, using and disposing of IT. SystemHost delivers a company’s entire IT requirements through a simple network connection. For more information visit www.systemhost.co.uk or email info@systemhost.co.uk.

Media enquiries:
For further details please contact:
Natalie Gross, Insight Marketing & Communications Ltd
Tel: 01625 506 427 or ngross@insightmkt.com
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Specialist Holiday Group creates a ‘virtualised’ contact centre with Avaya and Azzurri to improve customer service
Specialist Holiday Group creates a ‘virtualised’ contact centre with Avaya and Azzurri to improve customer service

Newbury and Guildford, UK – Avaya, Inc (NYSE: AV), a leading global provider of business communications software, systems and services, today announced that Specialist Holiday Group (SHG), a leading UK tour operator dedicated to providing specialist holidays, and part of the TUI Group, has implemented a new Avaya Internet Protocol (IP) based contact centre system across its two sites in Kingston, Surrey, and Harlow, Essex, and has extended this network to its home-based agents, which has enabled TUI to reduce agent churn (and thus cost) by providing more flexible working practices. Azzurri Communications, a leading communications and technology company and an Avaya Platinum Partner, was responsible for implementing the project, which produced substantial return on investment (ROI) on the first day of implementation.

SHG operates a variety of specialist holidays to a range of destinations. The contact centres receive customer calls covering various issues, such as customers booking holidays, pre-travel enquiries, customer services and special requests. Previously, SHG’s two contact centres ran on independent networks using traditional TDM switches and digital handsets. Customers dialling the company’s single call centre number were assigned equally to either one of the centres and queued there until an agent was free to answer their enquiry. If one of the centres became excessively busy, or there were fewer agents at one site, the system prevented SHG from releasing allocated calls to the other, less busy site, creating large queues at one site while agents at the other site might be free.

Having two separate systems in place meant that SHG was forced to produce two sets of analysis on call rates, response times and purpose of calls. Also, it prevented SHG from listening to calls taken by its 35 home-based agents, which is an essential part of protecting employees and improving service levels.

SHG decided to move to IP telephony as part of an improvement programme initiated by its parent company, TUI UK designed to increase customer service through the virtualisation of their contact centres. As Azzurri was already providing telecommunications support to SHG, it requested advice on the best-fit solution for its requirements. Azzurri proposed an upgrade to their existing Avaya system to allow a combination of the current digital turrets and new IP connections. This enabled SHG to create a ‘virtual’ contact centre environment which could distribute customer calls more efficiently. IP telephony is software-based technology that uses Voice over the Internet Protocol (VoIP) to transmit voice as data over a computer network.

“Our move to IP telephony was driven by a company-wide initiative but we already knew of the potential that implementing this new technology could bring to the customer experience through our contact centres,” said Billy Fish, head of telecommunications at SHG. “We were confident that Azzurri would provide us with the best solution for our needs as we have worked with them for over ten years and the team has a full understanding of our business and technology requirements.”

The new solution enables all agents to access the same network, allowing them to work as if it were a single contact centre. All calls are queued together and distributed to the next available agent, irrespective of their location, shortening call waiting times and making better use of agents’ time.

On the first day that the new system went live, all the telephone lines connected to the Harlow system went down which would have meant the call centre was totally unusable for the day. . With the Avaya solution in place, the 100 agents based at the Harlow site were able to utilise SHG’s wide area data network to log on to the Kingston contact centre and continue working within minutes. “It was a pure coincidence but having the new technology in place meant that we could continue business as usual, rather than losing a whole day’s custom, which would have happened otherwise. It turned out to truly be a lifesaver and probably provided ROI in that one day alone,” continues Fish.

Martin St Quinton, chief executive officer of Azzurri Communications, said: “Customer loyalty and satisfaction levels are often linked to how accessible a company is when the customer wants to speak to them. Lengthy queues at faceless contact centres only serve to frustrate, and those companies who value their customers, such as SHG, have sought ways in which to improve the experience. SHG has benefited further from suffering a severe failure in its existing infrastructure, which was easily recoverable thanks to the IP telephony solution it had in place, otherwise the potential loss would have been substantial.”


For further information contact:
Rebecca Dean
Insight Marketing and Communications
Tel: 01625 500800
Email: rdean@insightmkt.com

Joe Doyle
Azzurri Communications
Tel: 01635 520 360
Email: joe.doyle@azzu.co.uk

About Azzurri Communications

Azzurri Communications was formed in June 2000 with support from 3i and the Bank of Scotland and is currently made up of twelve strategic company acquisitions. Azzurri Communications is one of the largest and leading voice and data resellers and managed service providers in the UK. Annual turnover stands at £80 million. There are 500 employees nation-wide. Headquartered in Newbury, Azzurri currently has sales and support operations in Fareham, London, Kingston, Birmingham, Burnley, Leeds, Hull and East Kilbride.

Backed by leading manufacturers and networks, Azzurri provides solutions that include voice, data, consultancy, networking, digital print and mobile. Azzurri also provides consultancy such as in-depth communications audits for large corporations and comprehensive telecoms management services. For further information visit www.azzurricommunications.com

This feed contains news releases issued by the technology clients of Insight Marketing and Communications Ltd


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