Since the pandemic began, conversations about communications and IT have changed. Our business development teams opening question is often: “Are you a Google or Microsoft school?” as this will influence the direction of the rest of the conversation with IT and school business managers.
Microsoft has its own Phone System app that can be added to their Teams package that many schools have used this to support online learning.
Meanwhile, Google schools can integrate their email and calendar apps with their on-site phone systems and associated unified communications (UC) platforms. This appeals to schools that want a traditional phone system to suit the needs of their end users, such as their receptionists.
As an example, we use Alcatel-Lucent’s OmniPCX OXO Connect phone system and their Rainbow UC app, with its blend of instant messaging, video meeting, screen sharing and mobility features, to achieve the following:
Easy call handling with Google Gmail app integration
Staff can use their Gmail app to search for and call a contact or can initiate a call from the sender of an email. They can also click to call a phone number from any Chrome web page.
Receive calls wherever staff are working
The Rainbow app twins desk phones with mobile devices to offer simultaneous ringing to ensure staff are always available and never miss an important call. This works well for senior leadership team members or caretaking staff who move around the school or for anyone working from home in self isolation.
Forward calls when your busy or the school is closed
Calls can also be easily forwarded to an alternative number or voicemail in the event of a school closure. Staff can also divert a ringing call to voicemail if they are too busy to take it at that time.
They can use their Chrome browser to access a simple management platform to remotely choose a prerecorded school closure greeting from an available selection, including snow day and COVID-19 closure messages.
Staff can view colleagues’ availability as the Rainbow app links to both the phone system and Google calendars. They can send instant messages and share documents with individuals and groups, and take part in and invite people to video meetings.
Using the elements above, schools can benefit from the latest remote and mobile working tools, but retain the telephony functionality they are used to, such as automated attendant to take the pressure off receptionists, tannoy messaging via handsets and call recording to meet safeguarding regulations.
If you are a Google school that wants to integrate a new phone system with your existing Google apps, then contact me for a free demo.