Brecon Beacons National Park adopts Unify OpenScape Voice


Brecon Beacons National Park is one of three national parks in Wales. The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority was established in 1957 to conserve and enhance its natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage and to help people understand and enjoy its special qualities of the National Park. The National Park Authority’s permanent staff and volunteers are tasked with maintaining the 519 square miles (1344 km²) of uplands and mountainous terrain that makes up the park. Given the size of the National Park remote working is often essential, and at times access to offices is limited due to weather conditions, especially in winter when the weather can change dramatically in a matter of hours. An ageing ISDN system that allowed only 16 simultaneous connections had become unrealistic to use, so the Authority turned to Unify for a solution.

The problem

The National Park Authority was previously using an ageing ISDN telephony system that allowed only 16 simultaneous connections at any one time. Moving telephones from one location to another was a challenge as the previous system was on-premise, with each phone requiring its own networking port. As the full-time and volunteer workforce has steadily grown since the Park’s inception in 1957, this restriction made it difficult to track incoming calls and often created a struggle to communicate effectively with multiple remote teams at any one time.  The National Park Authority acknowledged that it was necessary to update its communications infrastructure so that it could meet these growing requirements. The new system had to offer staff flexibility and the ability to realise the benefits of new ways of working more collaboratively while being in remote locations, as well as offer reliability for the National Park Authority’s staff.

The solution

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority enlisted communications software and services specialist Unify, to modernise its communications infrastructure. The new partnership signals a move by the National Park Authority to invest in technology to empower its 100+ full time staff, as well as its supporting volunteer groups, to work more collaboratively and communicate effectively, even during disruptive weather.

Unify OpenScape UC solutionUnify’s OpenScape Voice technology is being delivered to the National Park Authority’s HQ in Brecon via the Unify Wales portfolio, a suite of SIP gateway, hosted telephony and hosted contact centre services, which is available to all public sector organisations in Wales and is exclusively enabled by Public Sector Broadband Aggregation (PSBA), a secure managed network service connecting public services in Wales.

“Brecon Beacons National Park Authority needed a solution that was both scalable and affordable – we have been able to meet these requirements, as well as guide and train the team in how to use OpenScape Voice to unlock the benefits of remote working,” explains Nia Morgan, Alliance Director, Wales from Unify.

The benefits

Selecting the OpenScape Voice solution enabled Brecon Beacons National Park Authority to become a more flexible and mobile workforce, able to take and make calls with virtually no limit on the number of connections, as well as the ability to reroute calls to mobile phones, allowing staff to work remotely when necessary.

As OpenScape Voice does not require a fixed line, being a hosted solution in this instance, IT staff at the National Park Authority can now effortlessly switch a phone from one location in an office to another. The Authority’s IT team can also empower other members of staff to make previously technical changes, such as changing a phone log in or display name, by themselves. OpenScape Voice also combines carrier-grade security and reliability – essential to maintain the safety of staff in remote areas – as well as massive scalability (up to 100,000 users per node). The ability to deliver the service over existing PSBA WAN connections also enabled the Authority to maximise investments and to provide a platform for future collaborative working.

“We have undertaken a bold approach to enable our staff and volunteers to communicate and work with one another effectively regardless of location or current call volumes. Unify’s OpenScape Voice has helped us deliver flexibility and the ability to work more effectively with remote teams, while maintaining the reliability of our communication systems within the park which is directly related to staff safety. We now have a much clearer view of our costs, which makes budgeting more accurate, as well as the ability to remotely manage and handle inquiries, which is a huge benefit to team efficiency. Moreover, the solution has helped us to align with the objectives of Welsh Government of gaining greater efficiency, driving collaboration and innovation via the PSBA.  We’re looking to continue rolling out the solution throughout our entire network of local offices in order to truly capitalise on the benefits Unify OpenScape Voice brings,” concludes Kevin Booker, IT Systems Officer at Brecon Beacons National Park Authority.

About Author

Gary Eastwood

Gary Eastwood has over 15 years of experience as a technology and business journalist and editor. He has held editorship positions on customer magazines for Microsoft, CSC, and EDF, as well as on B2B magazine Mobile Enterprise. He is the former Deputy Editor of Computer Business Review. In a freelance role, Gary has contributed numerous features and articles to a broad range of publications, including New Scientist, Computer Weekly, MIS, Marketing Week, Corporate Financier, Real Business, Wireless Business Review, and driven marketing communications projects for clients, such as Intel, the Confederation of British Industry, IBM, Logicalis, the Department of Trade & Innovation, and many others. Gary has written many white papers on a range of ITC subjects for Datamonitor. He is also an editorial photographer and business videographer, and has authored and ghost-written four books on photography. He is the Co-Director of EastwoodMiddleton Publishing, which provides contract/customer magazines for a growing list of clients, and publishes the B2B magazine for business leaders, Strategist.