Gloucestershire County Cricket Club

Gloucestershire County Cricket Club (GCCC) is one of eighteen first-class county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. Founded in 1870, Gloucestershire have played in every top-level domestic cricket competition in England. The club played its first senior match in 1870.

Drivers for change

Gloucestershire County Cricket Club’s legacy ISDN phone system was approaching end of life and was no longer compatible with modern requirements and use case scenarios. In order to provide a fit for purpose customer experience and to maintain a reliable and resilient communications system for the stadium and wider club, they needed to upgrade their telephony infrastructure.  Blackstar were invited to provide initial recommendations and eventually contracted to install and support a new Mitel telephony solution.

Solution

  • MiVoice Connect with new handsets 
  • SIP with built-in business continuity features 
  • VMWare virtualisation 
  • Mobiles (in partnership with plan.com) 
  • Konftel conferencing phones 

Benefits 

  • MiVoice Connect has the tools to keep employees collaborating with each other and with customers, regardless of location  
  • Improved efficiency, cost reduction and streamlined operations 
  • Maximum resilience for the stadium in the event of a network issue 
  • Scalability to allow for immediate expansion, should operational requirements require it 
  • Intuitive, easy to use technology 

The solution

Blackstar recommended that GCCC replace their legacy Mitel phone system with another Mitel solution – MiVoice Connect, virtualised in VMWare.  

MiVoice Connect brings together all communication and collaboration tools into one simple interface. It allows employees to connect quickly and easily via phone, Instant Messaging, desktop sharing or conference calling, without having to open a separate window or log in to new applications. 

Blackstar also migrated GCCC’s mobiles to plan.com.  This allowed GCCC to bar specific usage such as gambling, a requirement from the cricket governing body.  Coaches and the management team also travel internationally so it’s also important to track their location to ensure a relevant bolt-on is applied and monitor their mobile spend. 

The Tender Process

GCCC undertook a detailed tender process with several suppliers. They decided on Blackstar Solutions (Blackstar) for many reasons, primarily because of their vast experience working with other sporting clubs, and understanding the complexities associated with technology deployment in sporting venues.

They also chose Blackstar for the benefit of centralising their telephony services with a single provider, having previously used several different suppliers for mobile, landline, support and management. 

The solution

Blackstar recommended that GCCC replace their legacy Mitel phone system with another Mitel solution – MiVoice Connect, virtualised in VMWare.  

MiVoice Connect brings together all communication and collaboration tools into one simple interface. It allows employees to connect quickly and easily via phone, Instant Messaging, desktop sharing or conference calling, without having to open a separate window or log in to new applications. 

Blackstar also migrated GCCC’s mobiles to plan.com.  This allowed GCCC to bar specific usage such as gambling, a requirement from the cricket governing body.  Coaches and the management team also travel internationally so it’s also important to track their location to ensure a relevant bolt-on is applied and monitor their mobile spend. 

Seamless deployment

Blackstar migrated GCCC’s non-IP ISDN telephony solution to a new IP system on SIP, which they vigorously tested before it went live. When it came to the actual migration, all they had to do was port the numbers over, which made for a risk-free, seamless cutover and minimal downtime. 

Changing the mobiles over to plan.com was also very quick and easy, set up efficiently by Blackstar behind the scenes, with no disruption to service. Once the numbers were live, Blackstar used the my.plan portal to set usage alerts, limits and bars for all users to control costs and usage. 

Blackstar deployed two Konftel videoconferencing phones, which connect via an OCC (One Cable Connection) hub. It is a simple plug and play configuration via a USB connection, giving GCCC the flexibility to bring any device to any meeting room.  

The telephony solution was implemented on an Opex basis, so it is flexible and can be quickly adapted, depending on GCCC’s data usage. 

Blackstar provided training for end users and administrators of the phone system and now support the Mitel solution on a 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday support contract, over five years.  

Great results

The ticketing system is now streamlined with specific lines for Conferences & Events, Hospitality, Ticketing and Membership. Alternatively, customers can hold for reception. Calls can now be monitored, and reports created to assess call volumes. In addition, it is quick and simple to change and record IVR messages when necessary.   

GCCC can closely track mobile usage, with full control over all mobile devices and use abroad during pre-season tours. This has kept monthly mobile costs consistent and avoided any bill shock. 

Joe Kaniecki, GCCC Head of Partnerships, commented, 

“We had a culture where we were slightly reluctant to change. But Blackstar held our hand through the entire upgrade process, and we are delighted with our new phone system. It was all so easy with Blackstar, and if I’m honest, I wish we’d done it sooner!” 

Elliot Mace, Sales Director at Blackstar Solutions, added, 

“We were absolutely delighted to be invited to tender by another high-profile sporting organisation and the synergy between GCCC and Blackstar was obvious from the outset.  We are very proud of the work we’ve done with them so far and are looking forward to helping them further improve their internal and external communications. It does also help that we are big fans of the club!” 

Future plans

GCCC are considering a Gigabit internet circuit and integrating with MS Teams for Voice in the future. They will of course be reaching out to Blackstar for advice and support, as their reliable, trusted supplier.