About Stockport College
The college offers academic and vocational courses from pre-GCSE to degree level. It is a major provider of post-age 16 education and training and works with a number of universities to validate their degree programmes.
The college has a well-established student support infrastructure with a range of specialist teams who provide careers guidance, welfare advice, counselling and accessibility support.
The prestigious multi-million new build and on-going programme of capital improvements reflect a commitment to innovation and quality.
Stockport College is a large educational institute in the North West of the United Kingdom that educates over 7,000 students each year. It has a well-established history and plays a major role in providing educational opportunities for the community including school leavers, businesses and adult learners.
Network communication forms a key part of Stockport College’s ongoing strategy to effectively deliver day-today operations on its campus. It wanted its wide range of service users, such as maintenance and security staff, to be given reliable tools to communicate with each other on the go; be it when a student-related incident occurs on site or during a college-wide emergency situation.
Previously, the college used a voice paging system but this had become increasingly unfit for purpose. The paging system was deemed unreliable and cost prohibitive, and keeping it in place no longer made good commercial or operational sense.
Stockport College decided to review its communications network needs. It determined that it required a robust system with features that would safeguard staff and students, as well as provide a critical communication network.
The remit therefore involved the need to source a trustworthy building management radio system, which could deliver a reliable fire system, GPS capabilities,
Bluetooth and indoor location feeds. Furthermore, the system should be able to deliver full site communication coverage, with no coverage gaps or a single points of failure, and extend to out of bounds areas such as base rooms and plant rooms.
The TETRA Solution for Fit for Purpose Communications
Simoco Channel Partner, Paramount Radio Communications, a specialist in the supply, support, hire and maintenance of two way radio systems, partnered with Simoco to develop a fit-for purpose, cost-effective radio solution for Stockport College.
The consortium upgraded the college to TETRA-G2, the switchless twocarrier TETRA solution from Simoco, which includes two IP-connected base stations. Its IP-based and resilient architecture is implemented at the site as a fully redundant system, offering high flexibility and scalability as well as a secure environment for routine daily communication requirements.
It also supplied 30 portable radios from Sepura. These radios provide reliable, high quality coverage across the entire site. The integrated base stations and radios also connected to the college’s PBX (Private Branch Exchange) through the Cisco telephone exchange to deliver phone to radio communication.
Other technologies installed to integrate with Simoco’s TETRA system included Zonith alarm monitoring, to alert the emergency team in the event of a fire, and indoor location tracking using 84 Bluetooth beacons that allow Stockport College to track staff whereabouts.
It took three days to install the full system and deliver internal training to facilities management staff. Simoco continues to provide ongoing training to users on the management of the TETRA network and how they can maximise the functions and capabilities of Sepura’s radios.
Results One Year On
One year on from the installation of the TETRA system maintenance, security and other service staff have significantly improved their day-to-day operations. The infrastructure and integrated technologies have enabled them to effectively report issues, respond to incidents immediately, and locate lost or stolen handsets.
Steve Mayson, Building Services Manager at Stockport College, said:
The TETRA system is 100% better than the system we used before and it works seamlessly with our existing telecoms and handling systems. Now, we have reliable and clear communications across our extensive site; this is a critical requirement for the college. It has been particularly integral to the fire team, who are instantly alerted to the location of a fire alarm activation on the handset and can therefore respond quickly.
Other financial benefits have been reported too. The company’s investment in the new TETRA system has cost as similar amount as the costs relating to running the redundant paging system which could only deliver a minority of the capabilities of TETRA. Stockport College plans to expand the system further over the coming years and introduce more user groups.
A key provider of PMR (Private Mobile Radio), Paramount Radio Communications regularly promotes the capabilities that TETRA can offer for public safety networks.
It was Paramount Radio Communications’ proactive approach to working with Stockport College that led to the successful implementation of a radio system that not only met the college’s specific requirements, but also added value through technologies like GPS.
- CATEGORY Government and Infrastructure