The Youth Hostel Association provides accommodation at over 35 sites around New Zealand, 13 of them managed directly from their Christchurch headquarters.
Staying in touch with remote hostel locations was a challenge, with generally low-speed connectivity and limited alternative options. The organisation sought alternative proposals. That’s when Maryana Deneva of Vocus contacted YHA’s Business Systems Manager, Brendon Norrie, to discuss alternative options.
“With the right design, and a flexible approach, we saw not only how to solve their existing bottlenecks,” says Deneva. “We could see how to transform the network and provide the bandwidth capacity needed, as well as giving them options to increase network performance as their requirements grow”.
"With sites all over the country, sometimes in less-accessible spots such as Mount Cook and Franz Josef, things like inductions are really important." - YHA Business Systems Manager, Brendon Norrie
Establishing a close working relationship with Norrie, Maryana Deneva and the Vocus team were able to design a network which harnessed the benefits of the UFB network to deliver high speed site-to-site data connectivity, internet and voice services, with redundancy and fail-over options included. The solution sought to deliver significant performance upgrades in every corner of the network. At roughly a third of the price of their previous contract, the new network proposal would also come at a very reasonable cost – a vital consideration in a not-for-profit organisation like YHA.
Higher data speed was a crucial improvement for Norrie. “With sites all over the country, sometimes in less-accessible spots such as Mount Cook and Franz Josef, things like our new employee induction programmes are really important,” says Norrie. “Previously, sitting through the 20-minute video presentation without disruptions was sometimes impossible.”
Vocus used fibre wherever possible, and copper elsewhere to achieve business-grade VDSL performance. “Now, we can livestream our annual conference direct to all staff,” affirms Norrie. For the future, the system has been designed to upgrade even further once fibre becomes universally available.
IP telephony and SIP trunking were also specified. “Our solution featured a centralised, integrated IP phone system,” says Deneva. “It rationalised everything across the sites, going from over 200 telephone lines spread across multiple, geographically-dispersed PABX systems, to a centralised SIP network with 30 channels.” This was more than a mere technical upgrade. “With a centralised phone network everyone in the organisation is only an extension dial away from everyone else. It means people working at remote sites feel much more connected with head office. Among other things, it’s possible to see at a glance who is online at any moment”.
Across the board, the solution devised for YHA enhanced the way their people work and helped save them money. It included a cost-effective mobile plan, with unlimited calling and flexible data, packaged with a group data plan suited to the seasonal nature of YHA’s operations.
This solution is a classic example of the way Vocus sets about understanding and solving business challenges for all clients. Through mutual transparency, integrity, and positivity, Maryana Deneva and Brendon Norrie have built more than a high-performance network. They’ve built a partnership. One capable of meeting tomorrow’s challenges as well as today’s.