Polar Audio / SynergyConnect Case Study

London and Brighton – SynergyConnect, an international provider of managed network and managed voice services, today announced the completion of a project to move and upgrade the managed data connectivity and managed voice services for Polar Audio, as well as provide structured cabling throughout the new head office, warehouse and depot.

The new infrastructure, based on BT’s 21CN fibre connectivity & SIP trunking as well as Avaya’s IP Office technology, is backed by a three-year managed services agreement which will provide proactive monitoring and support services for Polar Audio’s network and voice estate.

Polar Audio Limited are a supplier of Intelligent Audio Solutions adding value to the products which they supply and the exclusive UK distributor for some of the best known names in the professional audio market. With the head office in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, Polar Audio work with brands including: Beyerdynamic, Mackie and Wyrestorm, to name a few. To meet the demands of their customers Polar Audio now offer a host of professional services including system design, product integration, project logistics and programming assistance in addition to the marketing and sales of the brands they represent.

One of the biggest challenges facing Managing Director, John Midgley, was the organisation of the key components of the move project. The creeping timeframe of agreeing contracts with previous and new landlords, delivery of voice & data connectivity with lengthy lead times, and managing all elements of a full refurbishment of the new premises were all critical elements needing thorough project management during a testing six month period - all whilst ensuring limited interruption to the Polar Audio staff.

Not only were Polar Audio looking at the move of their head office and main warehouse & logistics centre, but also the quality of the data and voice services they had. SynergyConnect’s senior network and voice consultants have a combined 40 years’ experience in telecommunications and data network consultancy, as well as a proven track record in delivery to some of the largest UK brands, and were able to understand the challenges John was facing and how new IP solutions would benefit him both now and over the coming years.

“We have core support technicians, design engineers and account management staff who need to be available to our customers at all times” said John. “We also use Microsoft products so we need an extremely resilient communications network”.

As a result of recent growth which resulted in an increased demand on the legacy telephone system and central application resources, coupled with a data infrastructure based purely on a single EFM circuit, meant that Polar Audio’s network was becoming less resilient by the day.

“We had reached our maximum usage on our old telephone system, which was starting to make the last few months at the old premises harder to function, even though we knew we would upgrade as part of the move. On our data communications side, our recent growth would very soon have impacted our users and any intermittent delays, circuits down, lack of backup circuits, and general performance issues would have been a major issue for the company”, said John.

With its existing network contract coming to an end, John saw an opportunity for Polar Audio to take advantage of the new reduced tariffs available on 21CN circuits which would allow the company to vastly improve the performance and resilience of its network without a significant increase in cost.

“After our meetings we looked to SynergyConnect as our preferred partner for the delivery of managed data and voice services,” said John. “But we also wanted someone to help with the technical delivery of the service and to be a single entity to take the burden from my team, who were having to continue looking after our customers. Within that service, we wanted a total end to end support function – total project management, total provisioning; someone who could work with major industry suppliers on our behalf to arrange engineering visits, deliver circuits and manage the contact with each site, so our IT and Facilities teams need only be involved with escalation”.

In addition, the ideal services partner would also work directly with Scania’s corporate IT group to ensure it complied with global standards for traffic flow and security. Lastly, John wanted a partner that could take responsibility for monitoring and managing the network on a daily basis, as well acting as an adviser for developing the network in the future.

“You always look for recommendations first,” said John. “We asked some of our other providers if they could offer the services we wanted for the managed network and voice estate but they said they didn’t have the skills or resources to do that. Then we met the senior consultants at SynergyConnect.”

After speaking to several Synergy customers, and with recommendations serving as further endorsement of the company’s abilities, Polar Audio decided to commission SynergyConnect to design and manage its new infrastructure.

Already deciding to become a customer of SynergyConnect for managed network and voice services, it seemed only natural for Polar Audio to leverage the SynergyConnect relationship further.

“Our priority is service levels, then cost,” said John. “The SynergyConnect offering was very attractive in terms of primary service levels, quality of service and meeting the cost requirement”.

Of course, one critical aspect of any network migration is completing the deployment of the new infrastructure before the old network is decommissioned and the Polar Audio project was no exception.

“We had a time limit of two months to deploy at least one circuit at the new site or we’d have overrun on our existing contract which would have added huge costs,” said John.

Accustomed to working to tight deadlines, SynergyConnect was unfazed by this detail and was quickly in a position to start the implementation. The new design, which is based on fibre leased line technology for primary network connectivity and EFM for backup (SynergyConnect advised Polar Audio that a voice VLAN would not work on an ADSL backup circuit which John realised was key to Polar Audio’s telephony communications and future growth), also features SIP trunking for 21st Century telephony, which SynergyConnect have been providing since 2004.

SynergyConnect’s partnership with BT enables them to provide a SIP solution that gives the customer resiliency of voice breakout gateway in the cloud allows traffic to be very quickly rerouted in the event of a core network loss.

Since completing the move, 21CN voice & data upgrade project, SynergyConnect has taken responsibility for managing the new network which includes monitoring and support for Polar Audio’s headquarters and is working with Polar Audio to independently analyse their mobile telephony estate and has provided assistance for Microsoft Office 365 questions and queries.

Making a final comment on the BT/SAS solution, John said, “Having a Single Provider with great experience and expertise for our UK solution is a lot more effective. The project management was the best I have experienced to date and the early levels of support we have received have been excellent. The new voice and data services give us the support we need today as a business along with the availability our users expect”.

“More and more organisations are waking up to the strategic benefits of bespoke converged 21CN or next generation voice & networking,” said Chris Penny, Director at SynergyConnect. “Yes, there are financial gains to be had when migrating from older telephony and data networks, but the chief benefit is not about ‘getting the same network for less’, it’s about getting access to the more powerful and more resilient networking, voice and support services that most organisations find they need today. Simply by switching to modern technologies, Polar Audio was able to massively enhance both the technology and the service management wrap it could afford, and that’s got to be good for the business.” - See more at: http://www.synergyconnect.net