de montfort university case study
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For the first time ever during clearing callers just got dead air so we started looking seriously at alternatives. With Gamma we were able to answer far more concurrent calls due to the extra SIP channels and had no issues whatsoever. We also had the reassurance that we could provide messages to callers or redirect them anywhere in case of any problems. The fact that Gamma could provide SIP via JANET was a huge factor for us. As well as getting extra scalable capacity we’re saving money on telecommunications too.

Jon O’Grady, Senior Technical Analyst, De Montfort University

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Gamma SIP Trunks and Inbound help De Montfort University telecoms meet the annual clearing challenge

De Montfort University telecoms infrastructure has four faculties to cater for – business and law, technology, art/design and humanities and health and life sciences – and is central to cutting edge research that aims to enhance lives, rejuvenate parts of British industry and improve the environment.

In total some 22,000 students are supported by 2,700 staff and the university boasts 13 national teaching fellows – higher education’s most prestigious award.

The challenge

When exam results are published in August, De Montfort – like its counterparts – is deluged with phone calls from unplaced students looking for vacancies on higher education courses. Known as clearing, this process runs mainly during one week in August but the vast majority of calls come within the first two or three days: in De Montfort’s case as many as 8,000 per day, and almost 30,000 for the month.

All this puts strain on De Montfort University telecoms systems and on staff. During clearing, De Montfort’s legacy telephone system crashed under the pressure. Callers looking for places could not get through. The university wanted to use its existing JANET (Joint Academic NETwork) connection to explore SIP trunking as an option to help scale their services to meet demands at peak times.

The solution

We supplied 120 SIP channels to De Montfort over their existing JANET connection, with the option to increase the number of channels for the duration of the clearing period.

This allows the university to operate with a lean and cost effective infrastructure for most of the year, increasing capacity only when required to cope with peaks, then reducing them down again to keep standing costs to a minimum.

Routing of the calls from two alternate Gamma network nodes into two different endpoints at the university enhances resilience and provides for failover. Inbound gives De Montfort complete control over incoming calls, enabling efficient handling during unprecedented traffic peaks experienced during clearing.

For the first time the university have also been able to add announcements for callers waiting to be answered. Inbound allows calls to be routed flexibly and adaptively throughout the day to any desired destination, allowing De Montfort to cope much more effectively with sudden peaks in call traffic.

Our solution supports a real-time wallboard display of queueing and in-progress calls. Inbound allows De Montfort telecoms to interactively change the size of hunt groups on the fly to handle calls more efficiently – something it was unable to do previously.

De Montfort now has the extra confidence of inbuilt business continuity through the Inbound platform which can be used to automatically route calls to mobiles or other numbers, or play announcements to callers in the event of problems.

The benefits

  • Estimated £3,500 quarterly line rental savings.
  • Call forwarding costs cut from £1000s to just a few £100.
  • Enhanced resilience and failover.
  • Inbound platform means calls are queued within Gamma’s network and don’t tie up university infrastructure.
  • Flexible, short-term capacity increases to meet traffic peaks instead of obligatory and expensive 12-month contractual tie-ins.
  • Real time display of live call and queue status allows informed, on-the-fly reconfiguration.
  • Supports De Montfort’s migration to Microsoft® Lync™ unified communications and collaboration