Virtual PBX Featured Article

Alberta Schools Invest in VoIP Initiative

May 10, 2018

By Paula Bernier - Executive Editor, TMC

Phone systems are an important tool for administrators, teachers, and support staff at schools.

These staff members commonly use phones to interact with parents about student successes and struggles. They employ voice technology to provide alerts and updates on things like school closures, parent-teacher conferences, unexcused absenses, and other events and concerns. Phone systems are also an important lifeline for students and school staff, as they enable them to reach emergency services in the case of fire, on-site shooter, or other threat.

So when the Parkland School Division in Alberta, Canada, ran into reliability issues with its existing phone system, it knew it was time for an upgrade. And this month the PSD board of trustrees approved a three-year VoIP initiative.

This new system is expected to increase reliability, add functionality, and lower costs for PSD. The price tag of the initiative is just more than $900,000, and it’s expected to yield $56,000 in annual savings.

PSD plans to use underlying VoIP, videoconferencing, and collaboration infrastructure donated by Cisco in 2015 to support the unified phone system. The PSD’s new costs are for hardware, professional fees required to set up the system, and upgrading the network cabling to support VoIP within the schools.

Parkland School Division is made up of the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, and West End areas in Alberta. All the schools will eventually receive VoIP phones.

The Prescott Learning Centre and Centre for Education in Stony Plain, Alberta, has already made the change. Next up is Copperhaven, a K-9 school in the Spruce Grove area, which will undergo an upgrade in the fall. Among the other schools first on the list for upgrades are Graminia, a K-9 school in the Spruce Grove area; High Park, a K-9 school in the Stony Plain area; Meridian, a K-9 school in the Stony Plain area; Millgrove, a K-4 school in the Spruce Grove area; and Spruce Grove Composite High School, which has a student population of 987.

Edited by Maurice Nagle


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