EMERGENCY is an independent and neutral Italian organisation that was founded in 1994 in Milan, to offer free, high quality medical and surgical treatments to victims of wars, landmines and poverty. The humanitarian organisation obtained the status of a non-profit organisation in 1998 and has been recognised as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) since 1999 and as an NGO partner of the United Nations since 2006.
Since 1994, EMERGENCY has worked in 18 countries and has given medical treatment to more than 9 million people. EMERGENCY operates hospitals, first-aid posts, health centres, paediatric and rehabilitation centres, maternity centres, centres of excellence, out-patient clinics and mobile clinics in Afghanistan, Iraq, Italy, the Central African Republic, Sierra Leone and the Sudan.
The registered office of EMERGENCY has been located in Milan since the organisation was founded 24 years ago and additional offices have since been opened in Rome and Venice. The IT team in Milan, which is always very keen on innovation and technological developments, has now decided to renew the entire infrastructure. The idea was to switch to a VoIP solution and to swap the old communication system owned by the organisation. The innovaphone solution met the requirements of the IT team perfectly: a modern and constantly updatable communication platform that offers high dynamics and advanced technology and that can also integrate Presence with the respective Outlook Exchange calendar and set up mobile workstations.
A further pre-condition was set for the new communication solution: a fast and effective roll-out had to be guaranteed due to the upcoming relocation to "Casa Emergency", a former school which had been reassigned by the city of Milan and converted by EMERGENCY into a multifunctional centre that is also open to citizens. From EMERGENCY’s perspective, the innovaphone solution offered the best fit to its requirement profile. Dynamics and user-friendliness were two criteria that tipped the scales – both being important factors in an organisation that is constantly undergoing change and whose employees, often volunteers, come from different worlds with different levels of prior knowledge.
Being able to outsource the service by implementing a hosted system from an innovaphone Partner was particularly noteworthy in the customer’s decision to deploy an innovaphone system. The IT managers were also convinced by the fact that the innovaphone IP phones enable dynamic recording of one or more users on the same device and that mobile workstations could be implemented using software phones.
Project implementation began when the network provider was changed. During the course of which, EMERGENCY decided to switch to a new communication technology and to integrate all offices in Italy and abroad in a single, hosted VoIP solution.
The implementation of the VoIP project began at the headquarters in Milan with the virtual innovaphone PBX (innovaphone virtual appliance, IPVA) being located at the partner’s computer centre in that city. The other EMERGENCY offices in Venice and Rome as well as the outpatient clinic in Naples are connected via innovaphone IP6010 media gateways.
EMERGENCY has 120 permanent members of staff, who are based across the various locations, and a constant number of rotating employees, including doctors, volunteers and project designers, so that in sum, the organisation has about 400 members of staff. The dynamic concept is also applied with regard to the workstations: in order to ensure flexible, mobile work, the staff members are equipped with software phones on their laptops and innovaphone IP111 IP phones, which allow for dynamic registration of the volunteer staff members.
Now that the project has been completed and the new Casa Emergency headquarters is open, it is possible to set up mobile workstations quickly and easily thanks to the flexibility of the new innovaphone PBX.
Alberto Almagioni, head of information systems, reports: "I am very satisfied with the solution: the fact that we now have access to the system configuration to monitor call routing, the number of active calls and audio quality and that it is also possible to configure users ourselves, has made our life at the IT Department of EMERGENCY a lot easier." Almagioni goes on to say: "Telephony and business communication are an ongoing project: EMERGENCY intends to expand communication via the innovaphone IP platform to future projects abroad."
The expansion of the communication infrastructure will soon also extend to geographical areas that are difficult to reach. For example, Anabah, a medical surgical centre in a village in the Panjshir province, a region in the North of Afghanistan, is to be connected to the innovaphone PBX in Milan. Thanks to the great efficiency of the innovaphone PBX, it will be possible to pre-configure the VoIP gateway in Italy before sending it to the destination in Afghanistan. It will then be connected locally and can be activated immediately by people who do not necessarily have specialist knowledge. As a result, the Italian headquarters of Emergency will then be available via a satellite connection.
Another step, which is close to the heart of EMERGENCY’s IT department is the expansion of the "smart workplace" approach with smartphone integration in company communications. Thanks to the myPBX app installed on the devices, active volunteers and staff can be reached anytime, anywhere.