Empowering police forces with Symity Bluelight Teams Phone

As a pureplay Microsoft partner Symity delivered a complex Microsoft Teams Phone system to a large UK Police Force quickly, easily and securely. Symity is the force for change behind a police force’s smarter, more connected future.

Bluelight staff member on the phone via Teams Phone

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Teams Phone police forces flyer front page

The Customer

Name / Business: Large UK Police Force

Locations: 10,000 staff across 41 stations

Service: Complex highly customised Microsoft Teams Telephony solution

Symity were tasked with helping a large UK Police Force cost-effectively move to a multi-tenant cloud system where they could enjoy all the benefits these systems offer while still achieving the same bulletproof resilience they received from their on-premise system.

The Challenge

  • Complex environment – Bluelight services face multiple unique challenges including integrating with a range of services that cannot fail:
    • 999 and 111 – critical services that would not be replaced or sit in the cloud, but must sit alongside and integrate into cloud systems
    • Back-office services in offices
    • Holding cells & Custody Suites
    • Links into court services
  • The on-premise system was quite old in some locations, which was very expensive to support and end of life
  • High power costs – power usage of the old PBX and the air conditioning it required to run safely and optimally was astronomical
  • Security is paramount. The new solution needed to be achieved safely and securely
  • The drive to do more with less – the financial pressures of being a public sector organisation means cost implications are heavily scrutinised, capex controlled and savings welcomed wherever possible

The Solution

  • Setting up the business case
  • Once cost savings and ROI were clearly established, Symity developed a Teams Phone direct routing platform built specifically for police services that delivers a cost-effective solution more rapidly
  • The police force then deployed a single, easy to use solution for all internal, telephone and conference calls
  • Custom integrations were designed to make the solution fit their unique needs
    • Integrates with the non-emergency Contact Centre – the 101 service – so that incoming calls can be easily transferred to any member of staff
    • Integrates with Genysys in Custody Suites so detainees can receive calls
    • Integrates with Legacy PBX estate to maintain extension dialling from Teams during the migration
  • Symity worked with handset manufacturers so that, in the event of any network issues, they continue to work indefinitely, achieving full outage resilience
  • Reduced administrative complexity for IT staff, as well as greatly improved call logging and call statistics software
  • Opportunity to improve and secure communications with partner agencies and reduce call costs, by awareness of Teams to Teams calling
  • Removes security vulnerabilities from PSNP IT Health Check by replacing legacy phone hardware
  • The requirement for desk phones is reduced and people can now easily communicate from any connected location or hot desk. This enables staff to easily manage crime enquiries and witness statements over a telephone call with a headset-first approach
  • By utilising the mobile Teams application individuals manage all telephony calls via their mobile, leading to an improved user experience
  • Teams now delivers superior call quality and Improved phone experience with the option to display caller ID
  • The solution features:
    • Feature rich robust phone handsets – handsfree with calling / headset support
    • Easy to setup call diverts
    • Wealth of IVR (interactive voice recording) and call queues (hunt groups) to support discovery and improve efficiencies
    • Wealth of handsets and headsets options for the Teams platform
    • Voicemail for all users with auto transcription
    • A range of accessibility features for those with accessibility needs
    • Staff can easily find individuals’ contact details and simply ‘click to call’ which saves time

The Results

  • Revenue savings against existing platform attributed to reduced costs for
    • Power and cooling
    • Phone calls
    • Support contract
    • Infrastructure
  • Reduction of capital refresh projects due to evergreen cloud service
  • Reduces costs with flexible pricing model on a Pay-Per-User-Per-Month approach
  • Ability to rapidly respond to new and changing telephony requirements, can grow and shrink – bill can adapt accordingly
  • Reduced capital investment vs buying physical phone system
  • Aligns with wider force strategy of a Microsoft ‘cloud’ first end state by leveraging existing license investment and organisational knowledge in Microsoft Teams
  • Improved hardware and software support Service Levels with our geo-resilient UK infrastructure and 99.999% Platform Uptime SLA
  • System is more flexible during network outages; users only require an internet connection back to Teams and telephony
  • Multiple layers of resilience:
    • Business risk of telephony outage due to end-of-life solution removed
    • Teams mobile app
    • Desk phones within custody suites provide fallback during network outages
  • Builds on familiar proven office 365 products and leverages existing Microsoft E5 licences investment
  • Modern cloud-based telephony solutions are more energy efficient than older ‘physical’ on site solutions
  • Future proof solution not affected by the 2025 ISDN switch off as all legacy PBXs and ISDN circuits are retired