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Southampton Football Club

When Southampton Football Club was promoted to the Premier League in 2012 it resulted in a huge transformation in communication and IT demands and a rapidly expanding workforce. Head of IT Matthew Reynolds had specific requirements for a Unified Communications capability, including real-time collaboration, mobility and telephony.

Challenges & Requirements

“The promotion brought about a number of new challenges. We were struggling with no central directory, increasing call costs and no synergy between our sites. Plus the need for collaboration and video conferencing was clearly the way forwards for the club.” explained Matthew.

After thorough research it became very clear that the only offering that could completely fulfill every requirement was NEC’s UNIVERGE 3C solution. “I was amazed with the depth of features and functionality the 3C solution could offer. It met our selection criteria, something I assumed was unachievable in a single solution.” Other challenges included the need to maintain communications during match days with up to 32,000 fans congesting the mobile network, 3C offered a solution utilising the existing Wi-Fi infrastructure.

“No other vendor could accommodate our demands within a single solution”
Matthew Reynolds, Head of IT

The Solution

Presence and collaboration were essential features for the solution. Uniquely, 3C runs the same client across multiple devices (PC, Mac, iPhone and Android) so all users enjoy a consistent interface. Users also have the ability to access their information from either the stadium or training campus with hotdesking.

3C’s mobile client enables staff to communicate over the WiFi using IP. This now provides the capability to connect staff on match days as the cellular network, when shared with fans, became understandably swamped.

The integrated 3C DECT solution has transformed the working environment in the Megastore, which previously operated on standalone, unreliable DECT phones. Faxes were a major consideration and are an essential requirement in the process of international player transfers. The 3C’s embedded fax servers replaced the old fax machines, maintaining the requirements of a faxed communication and streamlining working practices.

“The technical support was first class and we were made to feel like a highly valued customer”

3C was also able to provide the ISDN2 gateways and 40+ ISDN2 So interfaces required for live Premier League broadcasts.

The stadium and training campus were already linked with a Gigabit infrastructure. 3C’s virtual environment provides complete business continuity and resilience for the club – 3C is a highly available solution. If there was an issue with any of the Data Centres across our sites 3C would automatically ensure communications were maintained throughout.

Southampton FC’s CEO Gareth Rogers adds, “We aim to run a well-managed and well-structured football club that is successful both on and off the pitch. To achieve this requires an incredible attention to detail and a continual desire to improve everything that we do.

“Our scouts & coaches can now collaborate on the go, with the ability to stream live video of potential players as well as recording an entire training session to analyse at a later stage. 3C’s technology helps give us a cutting edge.”

“We estimate we have saved each user 15 minutes per day,
the equivalent of seven full time staff each year!”

The Results

The Presence feature has shown a significant productivity gain simply by enabling staff to communicate more efficiently. Matthew adds, “3C’s Presence feature is a real favorite and we estimate we have saved each user 15 minutes per day, the equivalent of seven full time staff each year. Overall we estimate a saving of over £170,000 per annum for the club thanks to this solution.”

“The ease of administration offered by UC has reduced the time required to manage the system and halved the time required to fulfil service requests.”

Matthew continues, “Southern Communications provided a painless implementation which was delivered on time before pre-season training started. The technical support was first class and we were made to feel like a highly valued customer.”

About

Southampton FC, also known as the ‘Saints’ are an English Premier League football club regularly attracting crowds of over 32,000 fans to their St Mary’s Stadium.

Established in 1885 they have an illustrious history of producing some of the best footballing talent including Matt Le Tissier, Alan Shearer, Theo Walcott, Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and the world’s most expensive footballer, Gareth Bale.

Their current First Team Manager is the Dutch footballing legend, Ronald Koeman.

“Overall we estimate a saving of over £170,000 per annum for the club thanks to this solution” Matthew Reynolds, Head of IT

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