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Belfast City Airport Upgrades Resiliency and Reliability With Unified Cloud Communications

George Best Belfast City Airport, a regional airport serving a range of destinations throughout the UK and Ireland and Northern Ireland‘s sole link with London Heathrow, had a problem. With more than 200 extensions in eight airport locations, their existing communications infrastructure and on-premises phone system no longer met their needs.

Unified Communications: George Best Belfast Airport Logo It needed a unified communications solution that could unite their locations, provide flexibility and enable efficient emergency response communications.

After assessing their requirements, the airport decided to replace its traditional phone system with business VoIP and cloud-based unified communications services from 8x8 Solutions. 8x8 Solutions, formerly Voicenet Solutions, is the UK-based European arm of 8x8, Inc.

Cloud-based Unified Communications Met the Challenge

“The existing infrastructure and on-premises PBX telephone system at Belfast City Airport could no longer handle the needs of the 1,500 employees and eight buildings spread across the airport‘s 100,000 square foot facility,” said Terry Moore, CEO of Outsource Solutions, Belfast City Airport‘s IT solutions provider. “After a thorough assessment, a decision was made to replace the airport‘s old PBX system with 8x8‘s cloud-based communications solutions. The challenge we faced was upgrading the technology during the airport‘s normal day to day operations, which saw over 2.5 million passengers using the facility in 2013 making it one of the busiest periods in the airport‘s 30 year history.”

The existing premises-based phone system required expensive engineering input for simple administrative changes and did not have the capacity for expansion. In addition, there were very limited disaster recovery options with no straightforward mechanism to activate additional lines to deal with periods of high demand. The system also lacked detailed reporting and analytics capabilities, which were necessary to evaluate the effectiveness of aspects of the airport‘s customer service.

Unified Communications Solution Sets the Stage for Flexibility, Resilience and Growth

Unified Communications: Airside Operations Manager Raymond Cooke “With the help of Outsource Solutions and 8x8, we determined that, in order to provide for flexibility, resilience and future growth, we had to move our telephony to the cloud,” said Raymond Hooke, Airside Operations Manager at Belfast City Airport. “We were truly impressed with how 8x8 proactively reached out to us, came prepared with an analysis of our needs and delivered what they recommended efficiently and on budget.”

Belfast City Airport‘s new cloud-based communications system is configured to not only handle the airport‘s present needs but to also scale to handle future requirements, seasonality and VIP communications with full wallboard and call statistics reporting. In addition, the airport can now accurately measure, rate and analyze telephone-based service aspects, along with providing real-time reporting and analytics.

Reliable, Scalable Unified Communications Solutions Meet the Critical Needs of Airports

“Belfast City Airport‘s deployment of cloud communications services could very well be the first for an airport, but I‘m certain it won‘t be the last,” said 8x8 Solutions CEO Kevin Scott-Cowell. “Airports all over the world are facing the need for reliable, secure and scalable services that are well beyond the capabilities of traditional on-premise PBX systems. The ability of cloud communications services to provide the resiliency and reliability necessary to keep the communications systems of a mission critical public utility like an airport online and available confirms that IP communications not only meet but exceed traditional telephony capabilities.”

Scott-Cowell continued, “Airports like Belfast City are leading the way in the adoption of cloud technologies that will forever change the way public transportation operators handle their communications needs. We are proud to be supporting them in this endeavor and look forward to helping facilitate the airport‘s future expansion and growth.”

8x8 Solutions‘ cloud-based software platform provides a comprehensive unified communications and collaboration suite of services that, in addition to replacing traditional solutions with more cost effective, flexible alternatives, address critical challenges faced by many businesses today such as managing globally distributed workforces and mobile devices, maintaining business continuity, and integrating with enterprise applications and IT systems.

Unified communications at the Belfast City Airport