University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS Foundation Trust has signed a £10m seven-year contract to overhaul its communications, including implementing voice over IP.

UCLH hopes the deal will save £1.7m over the duration of the contract and will replace an ageing communications infrastructure, standardise ICT operations and ease complexity.

Under the contract, Azzuri Communications will manage all fixed-line and mobile communications – including pagers, bleepers and BlackBerry devices - across six hospital sites.

"From fixed line extensions to BlackBerry devices, pagers for on-call remote staff and bleepers for medical consultants, downtime is not an option, but neither are spiralling costs," said James Thomas, IT director at UCLH.

"When it was time to update our ageing and disparate communications infrastructure, we looked to consolidate our spend while leveraging an improved service with greater cost savings.”

UCLH has employed Azzurri previously to install an IP telephony service at the UCLH flagship University College Hospital.

UCLH looked to mirror this success across its other institutions and turned to Azzurri to plan, project, manage and implement a new communications strategy for the entire Trust.

"We took the decision to update and standardise the Trust’s infrastructure by upgrading to IP Telephony across the board," said Thomas.

The UCLH was also looking to consolidate its communications contracts into one service and needed more than just fixed-line.

"The ability to incorporate all our communications needs, including fixed voice, IP Telephony and remote working into one contract was extremely compelling,” explains Thomas. “A predictable pricing structure was a key objective. We now have the benefit of fixed pricing and uncapped usage, without the extensive management overheads."

The service will be supported by seven permanent on-site Azzurri engineers and a 24-hour helpdesk.

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