Everyone agrees the health and safety of our students is priority number one. Schools, communities, and local leaders want to do all that they can to make schools as safe as possible with the limited resources that they have. And one way that schools are doing this today is by upgrading their phone systems to a VoIP (Voice over IP) system.
What Is A VoIP System?
A VoIP system is when which allows users to make or receive calls from almost anywhere as long as there is an Internet connection. The conversation travels through the computer network instead of the traditional landline phone lines.
What Are The Benefits Of A VoIP System To A School?
When a VoIP system is set up at a school, the benefits to the school are much like that of any set up at any other organization or business:
- Once set up organizations typically see lower costs
- Easier to integrate with other communication platforms for better customer service
- More customizable and flexible, particularly as the system needs to grow
- Presence, or the ability to quickly broadcast a users availability
- Call recording
- Ability to work with IVR technology
- Quality reporting and monitoring tools
On top of that, there are a number of features that make a VoIP system particularly beneficial to schools, especially during emergency situations:
In some scenarios a VoIP system can be more reliable than a legacy system. The VoIP infrastructure is massive and geographically distributed. A total power failure to a school (whether caused by mother nature or man-made) would not affect the phone system. Even with no power, a staff member could login from anywhere and carry on communications with emergency personnel, as well as access and use all the features of the system.
A VoIP system can more easily integrate with other technologies. This would include other products such as emergency onsite notifications and integration with digital signage.
In emergency situations, seconds matter. And if responding personnel can be certain of where an emergency is taking place they can get there sooner. With enhanced 911, schools have the ability to transmit the room number, or building location, to emergency services when they are contacted.
When Would A School Not Want To Upgrade To A VoIP System?
It does cost money to upgrade a phone system, so being able to find a way to pay for any necessary upgrade costs must be accounted for. But in addition to all the benefits mentioned above, over the long term it usually saves schools money when the switch over to a VoIP system.
And sometimes a school’s IT staff will have been trained on an older system, and have reservations about a change. We have even talked with some that have repeated some myths that have persisted through the years that are just not true. This includes that “VoIP will steal network resources and affect bandwidth”, and that “VoIP is not reliable”. These are false statements, so properly educating all staff that will be involved in a phone system upgrade decision is very important.
The fact is that there are numerous options available to schools, depending on their current set up. Today’s IP phones are capable of using the wireless network so even if your school is not wired for ethernet you can still use VoIP. And phone system providers like DiRAD can provide equipment that you may need to send the phone signal over the legacy wire to old phone sets if that is what you decide on (an option for areas that may have dead locations with respect to network availability).
So in most cases, there really is no reason for a school to stick with a landline phone system. A VoIP system will not only improve school safety, but also save money and provide more features for the staff to take advantage of.
Interested in learning more about upgrading your school district’s phone system to a VoIP system? Give DiRAD a call. We’re happy to answer all your questions regarding the benefits a VoIP phone system can have during emergency and non-emergency situations.