COMPUTER telephony specialist C3 has reached another milestone as it helps the UK’s top universities join the internet call revolution which is gathering pace across the country.
The University of Bristol has joined the transition to multimedia communication over the internet thanks to C3’s expertise in providing a new easy-to-use, centralised system for 8,500 staff.
A key issue for delegates from the UK’s major universities and higher and further education colleges at last month’s Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA) conference in Manchester, was the transition to new multi-channel Voice over Internet Protocol (VoiP) telephony, from traditional telephone systems.
Many higher education institutions are facing fresh technology challenges as they make the switch.
With 25 years’ experience as a leading technology-agnostic telephony specialist, C3 is working with a number of universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, to help them make the transition with minimal disruption.
C3 Director John Wood said: “A lot of people working in academia are finding the switch to newer integrated systems which are internet-based challenging.
“Some were frustrated at delays, others were worried about supporting outdated systems that don’t deliver the required functionality while updating to new networks.
“The older technology was a great innovation and served well for three decades.
“But there’s no doubt the new multi-channel internet solutions offer fantastic opportunities for universities and higher education that can be deployed now. A lot of the issues can be dealt with easily and at pace of change everyone is comfortable with.”
The newer systems allow universities to improve efficiencies in all internal & external communications, including multi-channel helpdesks, student acquisition, retention and fundraising.
This involves switching from old industry standard Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) telephone systems which carry voice calls over dedicated cabling, to new Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) controlled delivery, which delivers voice calls as data across the web as part of a multi-channel solution which offers calls, SMS, email and instant messaging.
C3’s Fusion platform delivers voice messages to University of Bristol staff with integrated mailboxes, and offers a popular user web interface function to retrieve and manage calls and messages.
The service also provides integrated call recording. It will also be rolled out to the IT department’s helpdesk service.
Kevin Thomas, University of Bristol, Telecommunications manager said: “We are very happy with C3. The reliability is ace and they are a pleasure to deal with. Nothing is too much trouble.”
C3 and the University of Bristol are also examining the use of PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) compliant technology to boost fundraising and donations from alumni.
C3 has also supplied University of Bristol spin-off Langford Veterinary Services with a technology upgrade to improve the efficiency of their response to calls to their state of the art Equine Centre.
This vital hotline offers access to specialist care for horse owners from all over the South West.
The system allows staff to monitor calls and hot desk, with automated reports and wallboard statistics, allowing more efficient deployment of staff.
A key feature of the Contact and Fusion platform, is that it is flexible, scalable and can be customised.
C3’s John Wood added: “C3’s Fusion platform was designed to be the easiest and most flexible GUI to allow organisations to customise it to suit their needs and support their organisation’s culture.
“It extends to voice recognition for user portals and allows them to develop and deploy interactive voice response services and respond much more quickly to market demands than their competitors.
“The key for us are solutions that are core network agnostic.
“Flexibility is also key when it comes to costs, which are much lower than rival systems. Fusion and our Contact platform can support voice only systems or be extended to run seamlessly with multiple communication channels.
“C3 promotes a flexible approach to the functionality, so clients to only pay for what they use, with a one-off fee, and without recurring licences or long-term billing. ”
We have previously worked with the University of Bristol on their Veterinary school call centre where our innovative Contact platform has been successfully deployed and we look forward to building on our successful partnership in the future as the system is extended to the IT helpdesk.
“This extends our university customer base which includes Cambridge and Oxford universities.”
The University of Bristol’s Graham Moss, praised the scripting features and added: “C3 Fusion gives us the ability to configure Interactive Scripts for various departments within the University, with an intuitive and user friendly web interface. “The system allows the script to be tested prior to go live and ad hoc changes to be made to the scripts which do not effect the live service.
“The text to speak function allows scripts to be demonstrated to the user before go live, then real people voices recorded over these quickly and efficiently. It is a solid product, user-friendly, reliable and, when needed, the support team are quick to respond, with a can-do attitude.”