Agito Networks, a specialist in enterprise mobility, today announced that Hertford Regional College (HRC), the largest further education college in Hertfordshire, had deployed its Agito RoamAnywhere Mobility Router to improve the accessibility of mobile staff. Agito Networks worked with UK-based partner Convergis on the new customer deal.
Based in Broxbourne and Ware just north of London, HRC was formed from the merger of Ware College and East Herts College in the early 1990s. Since then, HRC has grown in size, currently employing 900 staff and serving more than 12,000 full- and part-time students.
According to Dr. Daniel Hidlebaugh, Network Services manager, the college is finalizing a $140 million construction project to update its facilities, with a grand opening of the facilities in Ware this month. While the new facilities in Ware and Broxbourne, a 4-story building that covers half of a city block due to open in October, are state of the art, their building materials do not allow cellular coverage indoors. Mobile phone accessibility is critical to the college's staff, he said.
Andy Forbes, Principal and Chief Executive, stated, "Our aim is to offer our students and staff the very best technology to support learning. Our belief is that a 21st century further education college should have a 21st century learning environment, and that means fast, reliable, mobile communications in all areas. I'm very excited at the extra communication capability that Agito offers to our staff. Whether we're working at our two main campuses, training at the workplace, or out in the local community, we'll all be able to stay constantly in touch. It's another big step forward for Hertford Regional College."
HRC learned of Agito Networks' mobile convergence for high-quality voice communications from its partner Convergis. Understanding the colleges' communication problems, Andrew Dominic, senior sales consultant at Convergis, introduced HRC to Agito Networks' FMC solution.
"Agito Networks was an easy choice for all," said Dominic. "The long-term strategic partnership and scalable network design, delivered by Convergis and the HRC IT team, meant the college already had a solid, voice-ready network available. With Cisco VoIP and campus-wide Cisco Unified Wireless LAN already deployed, the Agito RoamAnywhere was the logical additional hardware requirement."
In addition to Agito Networks' Mobility Router and Cisco's WLAN and IP-PBX, HRC's has deployed Nokia handhelds and subscribes to T-Mobile cellular service.
"We had a one-day set up and it was easy for technicians to deploy to users' dual-mode phones," Hidlebaugh said. "The handover inside and outside is very slick, the voice over WLAN quality is good, and it works seamlessly on mobiles acting as extensions from Cisco Call Manager, providing all the features as if users were on a desk phone."
Hidlebaugh's initial roll out was to key staff in network services, security and maintenance that are mobile and don't always have access to a fixed-line phone. The next rollout is planned for teachers next Spring, with students potentially to follow.
"Now we can't do without our Agito system, after one day it became a must have," he said. "Coverage was a concern before, but now we can reach each other at all times. Everyone is benefiting from this, and we no longer have to spend over an hour trying to find someone."
An added benefit Hidlebaugh said is that the college was looking to reduce its $6,000 in telephony charges each month. As a result of this deployment, he estimates the college will cut its monthly mobility charges in half.
"This is exactly what we were looking for, and accessibility is huge for us," he said. "Organizations depend on their infrastructure to deliver for them, and with Agito if a system goes down a support technician can be reached quickly."
"HRC is a growing college serving the education needs of the Hertfordshire area, and its new facilities are impressive and truly state of the art," said Paul Donovan, Agito Networks VP of European Business and Market Development. "We are pleased to enable continuous voice connectivity for them. Agito is seeing good growth in Europe, and coverage issues and cellular cost savings remain the biggest drivers for our innovative FMC solution."
Agito's RoamAnywhere Mobility Router is said to be purpose built for organizations to help them mobilize enterprise voice and UC applications to increase mobile user productivity while reducing costs. It fuses WiFi, cellular and Unified Communications with location information, improving the accessibility and responsiveness of mobile users, while reducing mobile costs and improve in-building coverage. RoamAnywhere high availability, redundancy, security, enterprise scalability, and IP-PBX and mobile handset support, including support for the Research In Motion (RIM) BlackBerry smartphone.