The Swiss Council for Accident Prevention (bfu) works to improve safety in the fields of road traffic, leisure, and sport. Most of its 130 employees work in Berne, with the remainder in nine regional offices. All rely on the communications capabilities inherent in Microsoft unified communications solutions. bfu recently upgraded its solution by deploying Microsoft Lync Server 2010 to take advantage of more flexible architecture and voice hardware and capabilities that help employees be more productive.Business Needs
The Swiss Council for Accident Prevention (bfu) is a private foundation that provides safety advice to local authorities, institutions, and individuals. bfu has 130 employees, the majority of whom work in the main office in Berne, Switzerland, while others are located in the foundation’s nine regional offices. bfu addresses safety concerns related to roadways, sports venues, and housing, compiling statistics about accidents in these areas and then publishing safety recommendations related to road safety for schools, protective equipment for sports, and structural engineering. The foundation also runs a helpline that answers queries from companies and the public.
bfu has long relied on a Microsoft unified communications solution to help its employees maintain high productivity. For messaging, the foundation deployed Microsoft Exchange Server 2010. To provide instant messaging, presence, and conferencing capabilities, bfu deployed Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2. It also used the enterprise voice capabilities in Office Communications Server as its primary telephony service.
As a consistent early adopter of Microsoft technologies, bfu has experienced ongoing benefits from the solutions it has deployed, including reduced costs, eased IT administration, and increased mobility for its workforce. Even with those benefits, bfu continues to provide the latest technology for its employees. In 2010, the foundation decided to upgrade its unified communications solution to Microsoft Lync Server 2010. Lync Server provides enhanced versions of the communications capabilities provided by Office Communications Server 2007 R2—presence, instant messaging, robust conferencing, and enterprise voice—as well as improvements in topology, deployment, and management tools. It deployed the solution to all 130 employees.Solution
bfu deployed Lync Server 2010 in a virtual environment using existing hardware and Hyper-V virtualization technology, a feature of the Windows Server 2008 operating system. The foundation also deployed hardware optimized for use with Lync Server, such as Microsoft HD LifeCam Cinema cameras for video conferencing. “These cameras were basically plug and play, so people could start using them right away,” says Peter Schönthal, Head of Information Technology at bfu.
||We do not worry about redundancy because we never experience dropped calls or other issues.
Head of Information Technology, bfu
In conference rooms, bfu deployed Aastra 6725ip IP-based phones, which include a 3.5-inch color LCD screen. Because bfu has configured them to work both with Lync Server and Exchange Server 2010, employees can easily view the meeting room schedule to see available time slots or to search the company directory. It found the phones easy to deploy and configure. “We plugged in the Aastra phones and the firmware updated automatically,” explains Schönthal. “The LCD screen is also clear and easy to see from different angles, and people like that they know how much time they have to wrap up a meeting or discussion.”
bfu employees are taking advantage of the unified interface in the Microsoft Lync 2010 client. They can easily escalate an instant messaging session or phone call to a web conference, or share a desktop to view presentations or documents without opening a separate application. With the Rich Contact Card, employees can see each other’s pictures, in addition to viewing organizational information. bfu employees use Exchange Unified Messaging for voice mail, and now they can check voice mail messages directly from the Lync client.
The IT team also has better options for managing Lync Server. It can use the web-based management console to manage Lync Server through a browser on any computer with a network connection. Because the Monitoring Server captures end-to-end call quality information, the team can also produce reports to identify potential problems with network equipment and services.Benefits
With Lync Server 2010, bfu has provided employees with an upgraded communications solution that helps them collaborate more effectively and be more productive at their jobs.
Provides reliable voice solution at no additional cost. Without the cost of additional effort and hardware, bfu upgraded its communications solution to provide a reliable, quality IP-based telephony service for employees. “We do not worry about redundancy because we never experience dropped calls or other issues,” says Schönthal.
Enhances productivity. bfu found that employees were able to start using the features in Lync client without any additional training, so they did not lose productive work time learning how to use a new application. In addition, employees have found several features help them be more productive with everyday tasks. “Having the pictures and organizational information visible through Lync is very helpful, especially for new employees,” explains Schönthal. bfu has also taken advantage of displaying conference room schedules through the Aastra IP-phones to keep meetings on schedule and productive.
Streamlines management. The IT team can more easily scale and manage its communications solution with the more flexible architecture and management options in Lync Server. Because they can access the web-based management console from any computer with a browser, team members can work from any location. With the Monitoring Server, they can also more easily collate information, view trends, and diagnose problems. “With the monitoring reports, we can resolve issues more quickly,” says Schönthal.
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