UK Atomic Energy Authority makes call on new UC telephony

National nuclear-based research facility replaces inflexible cloud-based system to add agility to enable staff to collaborate more effectively in a hybrid working approach

The need to pivot to remote working affected knowledge workers in companies of all sizes, shaking up – in some cases permanently – working models, especially towards hybrid. The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) is no exception, and it has now announced that it has partnered with Cinos to modernise and enhance its telephony and unified communications (UC) capability.

UKAEA was formed in 1954 when the British government set up a new body to oversee the nation’s nuclear research programme. The role was to provide Britain’s atomic weapons deterrent and develop reactor technologies for nuclear power stations of the future. UKAEA was also exploring the potential of fusion energy and opened a purpose-built fusion laboratory at Culham, Oxfordshire, in 1960.

UKAEA’s stated mission is to lead the delivery of sustainable fusion energy and maximise the scientific and economic benefit. It has four interconnected strategic goals to deliver on this mission – to be a world leader in fusion research and development; to enable the delivery of sustainable fusion power plants; to drive economic growth and high-tech jobs in the UK; and to create places that accelerate innovation and develop skilled people for industry to thrive.

UKAEA manages the UK fusion programme and its scientists and engineers work with partners around the globe to develop fusion as a new source of sustainable energy for tomorrow’s power stations.

For public sector organisations like UKAEA, having a flexible, reliable and robust unified communications service in place for employees is key, particularly with the need for hybrid working and being able to operate from any location. Yet UKAEA faced a challenge with its previous cloud-based system in that that it wasn’t very flexible.

“We needed a much more agile service to enable our staff to collaborate more effectively with the hybrid working approach that we implemented during the Covid-19 lockdowns,” said Andrew Hynes, head of CODAS and IT at UKAEA. “It was really important to us that the new solution would enable us to integrate Cisco telephony with Microsoft Teams and unify our services. Cisco Jabber has given us the best of both worlds and the level of engagement has been high.”

The new Cisco powered sovereign UC telephony service, based within the Cinos Cloud, is designed to provide UKAEA with a secure and reliable service that delivers the flexibility and robustness needed to power remote working and collaboration.

Migrating 2,000 users and handsets across two sites, Cinos introduced its Cinos Cloud Unified Communications service, which enabled UKAEA to retain its existing investment in hardware and handsets, while delivering what the audio-visual solutions and managed IT services provider says will be enhanced collaboration service to end-users.

Also, the Cinos service is integrated with Microsoft Teams, underpinning the collaboration system’s user experience with enterprise telephony capability. Now calls can be made and received through a range of handsets, as well as Cisco Jabber or Microsoft Teams, regardless of device or location.  

Cinos said facilitating reliable and robust communications formed a large part of the project and believes UKAEA has benefited from experience of delivering fully resilience critical communications. As part of the service, Cinos deployed a built-in internal emergency line, allowing urgent calls to be routed quickly and efficiently across the two sites.

“As we continue our partnership with UKAEA, we look forward to learning how the wider organisation can further benefit from the solution and how this will feed into innovation plans for the future,” added Cinos executive director Dan Worman.

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