A new voice over internet telephony system is helping to drive Scottish Fire & Rescue service’s ‘cloud first’ digital transformation strategy.

The (VoIP) communications system was unveiled at the service’s new £12 million Cambuslang Asset Resource Centre (ARC) in Glasgow.

Implemented by telecoms firm MLL, the system is part of an ongoing contract to provide SFRS with fully managed wide area network (WAN) services.

SFRS required the new VoIP system to maximise the operational effectiveness of the new multi-purpose ARC facility, located at its national headquarters and training centre complex and which is designed to support the work of Scotland’s firefighters.

MLL’s solution will ensure SFRS staff from various support departments who have moved into the new building, and its team of mechanics responsible for maintaining fire appliances, can count on high quality, reliable and secure voice communications around the clock. 

The geographically diverse, fully resilient voice service was delivered by MLL from order to in-life within 48 hours and without any failures, allowing SFRS to meet the required go-live date. The solution was fully tested beforehand which also offered SFRS the opportunity to add new features that had not been considered during design.

Cambuslang ARC is the first of several VoIP installations that MLL is planning across various SFRS sites. In addition, MLL is currently trialling satellite-based communications at SFRS’s site in Dumfries.

Roy Harby, MLL’s public sector enterprise business product solutions architect, said: “We are very pleased to have been able to meet SFRS’s challenging requirement to deliver resilient new telephony services within only 48 hours and which are aligned with its digital transformation cloud first strategy. Together with the tools, facilities and expertise available on site for maintaining the fleet of fire appliances and other specialist equipment, our internet-based voice communications solution will be equally key to helping SFRS keep local communities safe.” 

Iain Morris, SFRS head of asset management, added: “Cambuslang ARC is a major new development to enhance the working conditions for our staff working across different areas of the Service. The building includes a state of art workshop for our mechanics who work tirelessly to keep fire appliances maintained to protect communities across Scotland. The design and materials used in this project has created one of our most energy efficient buildings, representing a tangible commitment to delivering value for money.”

Last year, MLL successfully completed a nationwide Wide Area Network (WAN) transformation at SFRS, the world’s fourth largest fire and rescue service. The new SDWAN connects over 370 fire and rescue sites located throughout Scotland, including highland and island areas, while ensuring reduced network latency for an enhanced user experience, especially at remote sites.