Thursday, 16 April 2020

Doing our bit for Wirksworth

We don't live in Wirksworth, but we do own a holiday cottage here, so we do feel some sense of community with the people whose homes are in the town. We live just eight miles down the road in Belper.  To keep in touch with what's happening I keep an eye on the main Wirksworth Facebook group. I noticed a local group had formed to coordinate volunteers to help others during the Covid-19 outbreak. They were looking for people to help with their phone communications. By sheer luck I've a lot of experience of setting up Information Technology Infrastructure for large organisations around the globe. Part of that work used to involve supervising the provision of office phone systems, so while I'm not a telecoms engineer I do have some depth of understanding of the capabilities of the technology. I've also set up telephone systems for my own company during major projects.

Over in Belper, a couple of weeks previously, I'd helped the local Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group by setting up a phone system complete with voicemail for them, including a distinctive easily remembered contact phone number I'd acquired a couple of years ago for the cottage.  The system made life a lot easier for the Belper organisers who had previously struggled with just three mobile phones.

I made contact with the organisers of the Wirksworth Group, and after some discussion about their requirements set up a similar phone system for the team. It provides seven phone lines, each with distinctive phone numbers, a central help line (01629 888112), a voicemail system and the ability to redirect calls at a moment's notice. The whole process took just a few days to become operational, including me giving some training sessions by video conference. It is relatively low cost and can be easily expanded or contracted at short notice. Their system is based around Sipgate.

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