Laying a foundation for success at The Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise

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The Cabling Company deliver an impressive fibre optic cabling solution for North Hertfordshire College, who provide IT Services to The Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise.

The completed installation took just two weeks and the school has saved £70k in incremental savings over a 20-year period.

Introduction

With the risk of an eight month wait for a cabling solution from BT and Virgin, North Hertfordshire College sourced an alternative, faster solution from The Cabling Company. The affiliated Da Vinci school saved thousands of pounds as a result and was able to open its doors on time, with no disruption to teaching and learning.

Challenge

Matt Greening, Head of IT at North Hertfordshire College, faced the prospect of a stressful summer. While 10,500 learners were enjoying the summer break, he and his team of 14 were tasked with implementing a new building-to-building cabling solution. A disused grammar school that was recently acquired needed full renovation and connectivity before the start of September. The college is located across seven sites so the IT team is familiar with multi-site solutions. Yet the school building in question is in Letchworth, an ancient parish of Hertfordshire, and an area strictly protected to maintain the aesthetics of the town.

Getting the new building connected to the Goldsmith Centre, the main college 'hub', on time, within budget and in keeping with regulations was proving to be a challenge. BT and Virgin were able to carry out the work but their lead times varied and their work could not be scheduled until the survey was complete. However, the nature of the building work meant that the survey might not be completed until just before the school opened. The implications of these lengthy timescales would have impacted heavily on staff and students, with the new school not being ready for use in September 2014.

The IT team needed to seek an alternative solution. In February 2014 Matt began talking to Sales Director David Jackson at Oxfordshire-based, The Cabling Company.

Solution

The Cabling Company carried out a full site survey in March 2014 and proposed a solution that offered cost and time savings, as well as peace of mind. According to Matt: "The Heritage Foundation in Letchworth is very strict and a new solution that involved digging was always going to be a concern. Yet David put my mind at ease." Having given The Cabling Company the green light, work began immediately. Licensing applications were submitted to the local council, British Gas, BT, Thames Water and the Highways Agency.

In fact all of this was carried out while Matt was on holiday so very little involvement was required from the IT team at the college. Having received all the necessary permissions, The Cabling Company were ready to begin installation of the new fibre optic solution in May. Yet the college requested that the project be delayed until the middle of June which The Cabling Company made possible, without incurring extra costs.

When installation began, Matt was updated regularly: "I always knew what was happening. I received constant updates and reassurance regarding licensing and cabling. I knew the job would get done on time". This is in stark comparison to previous installs by providers who passed calls from department to department and needed chasing constantly for answers.

Results

The college is highly satisfied with the results and The Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise is now fully connected and ready for teaching and learning in September 2014. Standout benefits include:

  • Cost savings:
    • £7-9k compared with competing suppliers
    • £70k accumulative savings over a 20 year period
  • A solution that was delivered on time and required little involvement from the college, resulting in a stress-free summer for the IT team
  • An installation that was sensitive to the look and feel of the local area
  • Engineers that worked with education in mind: for example, keeping quiet during exams
  • Frequent contact and liaison with the college and affected local businesses
  • A considered solution from start to finish: even laying new grass seed where lawns had been disturbed
  • A futureproofed solution that belongs to the college and is not rented as it would be with Virgin or BT
  • A project that was able to be surveyed while building work took place. Competing solutions often require build completion before a survey is carried out. Matt was just days away from signing up with BT or Virgin because he could see no other alternative. As soon as he heard about The Cabling Company he knew he had found the right solution. He has been so pleased with the result that the next project is now underway.

The Cabling Company are working hard to deliver a flexible and effective wireless solution to connect college buildings across a river and a foggy area.

Testimonials

"This wasn't a normal installation. Letchworth Council are incredibly careful about preserving the aesthetics of the town so obtaining all the licensing was a tough nut to crack. We managed it successfully and the college are thrilled." David Jackson, Sales Director, The Cabling Company

"I would absolutely recommend The Cabling Company. I never imagined that this type of work could be possible. Yet it hasn't been a difficult process at all and has delivered huge benefits to the college. The install is complete two months ahead of schedule and I can now focus on other tasks."

Matt Greening, Head of IT, North Hertfordshire College

Overview

Establishment name
The Da Vinci Studio School of Creative Enterprise

Location
North Hertfordshire, England

Industry
Education

Challenge

  • Expensive cabling solutions from BT and Virgin, with eight-month lead times •
  • A Garden City in an ancient parish, with strict regulations to maintain the aesthetics of the town

Solution
A fibre optic cabling solution and licensing agreements managed hassle-free

Results
A rapid resolution, cost savings, and no impact on teaching and learning

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