Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service
Nasstar deploys resilient communications for 700 employees across 35 locations
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service undertake several activities, all with the purpose of making Staffordshire communities safer and stronger. Responding to emergencies is the Service’s first duty but they also recognise how important it is to help prevent fires in the home and workplaces.
The Service runs a range of programmes designed to inform and help members of the community to protect their homes and business premises. Whether it’s educating children or raising awareness of road safety among drivers, what the Service does has a significant impact in reducing risk and saving lives.
It is a complex organisation, comprised of 700 employees across 35 locations. With such a large number of employees and locations, internal communications are collaboration is essential.
The Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service was running on a complex unified communications infrastructure with several elements that would no longer have vendor support. Internal communications were reliant on a Cisco IP telephony infrastructure, but it needed to be brought up to date and to a position where it could be supported effectively.
For emergency services, an unsupported infrastructure can be dangerous. Emergency services’ performance and ongoing durability are regularly audited, and any outdated technology could compromise Staffordshire citizens’ safety.
Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service therefore had only limited time to identify an alternative, deploy it and achieve a compliant and supportable infrastructure. It was important that any replacement technology met precise functional, cost, and ease of implementation requirements and was also future-proofed for many years to come. Any system also had to have a high degree of operational and commercial flexibility due to the instability of public services.
Feedback from fire officers and managers alike commented on the time and effort saved now they can record meetings and training sessions and distribute them via emails rather than relying on physical meetings with station, watch or crew managers.
One fire officer said: “It [the new tools] offers a perfect solution straight out of the box and I’m really excited about using it.”
Internal communications are revolutionised using robust video conferencing and broadcast functionality that allows management to address teams directly.
Nasstar’s solution future-proofed a significant proportion of the Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service’s communications roadmap, whilst still being cost-effective and affordable. The solution is bespoke and secure, with all services paid for on a “Per User, Per Month” operating cost basis.
- Simplified moves, adds and changes with VOSS provisioning tool
- Removed the cost of new technology releases
- An IL2 accredited service
- Removed complexity of UC licensing
- A purpose-built solution fully dedicated to Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service’s business
- Predictable financial outgoings
- The ability to consume “Unified Communications on tap” – migrating from IP Telephony to advanced UC functionality and productivity savings at a time to suit the organisation. This provided an instant return on investment, traditionally one of the challenges in justifying a UC investment
- Advanced flexibility to access new applications and productivity-enhancements at a time to suit
- Reduced infrastructure and data centre management costs with significantly less on-premises physical equipment
- Reduced cabling as voice, data and other services to any user location can be provided over a single cable
- Space saving as the use of extension mobility and hot-desking requires less office floor space
To Emergency Service organisations such as Staffordshire Fire & Rescue, the communications system is a critical and integral part of business operations. It must provide the maximum amount of flexibility, both commercially and technologically (i.e., the availability of features and functionality both now and in the future).
Nasstar analysed its requirements and decided that the most suitable approach for the Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service would be to utilise cloud-based functionality. This allows the organisation to deploy new, scalable and flexible technology without relying on capital expenditures (CapEx) investment.
Nasstar recommended deploying ‘Workplaces’ - its Collaboration as a Service (CaaS) offering, comprising of a unique suite of cloud-delivered communications, collaboration and contact centre services.
Workplaces is based on the same Cisco telephony that the team at Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service already used, however, it has been deployed through the cloud with several improvements. The need for additional training has also been removed here, saving time and money.
The flexibility that a cloud model provides is particularly beneficial to the Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service should organisational changes be needed in the future. The ability to scale up and down as required, or to move premises easily, is vital.
The adaptability of a cloud approach means that the Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service can also transform end-user experiences at its own pace, rather than introducing wholesale changes all at once. More features like unified communications, collaboration tools, mobility tools, video and contact centre can all be gradually introduced as appropriate and necessary, and with individual customisations to improve user comfort and familiarity.
Workplaces has also given the organisation the capability to roll out collaboration tools on a much wider basis including mobile devices where the Cisco Jabber client is being installed on mobile phones and tablets. As one of Cisco’s most valued partners, Nasstar efficiently replaced several outdated legacy systems. As new innovations become possible, the team at the Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service can now quickly and easily adopt and implement them to improve their ways of working.
Nasstar’s solution was quickly deployed over four months to both main office locations at Stone (HQ) and an additional 34 other sites around the county – a total of around 700 users. Nasstar’s delivery architecture with service offered from a resilient pair of data centres locations gives 99.99% resilience – a key requirement for emergency services.
Nasstar provides 24/7 and fully ISO:20000-compliant managed services to ensure ongoing support and uptime. This is delivered through UK-based Network Operation Centres (NOCs), while still enabling local control where Staffordshire Fire & Rescue wishes to make its own moves, additions, and changes.
What made the proposal from Nasstar ideal for us was their close appreciation of our existing infrastructure and cost-saving requirements. We recognised that a cloud-based approach was the best way to achieve our objectives, especially ease of implementation and flexibility. Nasstar’s ability to build upon and reuse the remaining viable infrastructure was a welcome bonus, both in terms of avoiding additional investment and user training. The most impressive thing about migrating to this new service is that no one noticed. We have achieved great resiliency to our systems while ensuring we have the flexibility to make changes and benefit from future technologies without any disruption in service.
The support we received was second to none. Nasstar really went above and beyond. Their engineers and consultants were so knowledgeable and supportive. If someone was to ask me about moving to a Nasstar managed system, I’d definitely say yes.