Handel & Hendrix in London is a combination of two iconic adjoining buildings located in Mayfair, London. The properties were home to two famous musicians: Jimi Hendrix, regarded as the greatest rock guitarist of all time; and George Frideric Handel, a German-born composer of the Baroque era who made Brook Street, London his home for 36 years.
The world-renowned organisation opened as the Handel House Museum in 2001 to promote knowledge and awareness of Handel’s music. However, thanks to a £2.4million capital project which included a £1.2million grant from The Heritage Lottery Fund, Hendrix’s flat was restored to its original state along with improved facilities in a year-long build in 2015. Handel & Hendrix in London opened to the public on 10 February 2016 to critical success.
In 2013, the organisation that owns these two residences – The Handel House Trust – was granted funding to commence the refurbishment of Hendrix’s former property and decided it would be an opportune time to overhaul its existing communications services.
Staff at the museum had previously been reliant on basic ADSL broadband for internet access and backup functionality, but slow speeds were hindering productivity. The on-site Mitel telephone system, which was more than 14 years old, was only able to receive one call at a time, its features were limited, and it was being used via obsolete handsets.
Simona Tocco, Facilities and Buildings Manager at The Handel House Trust, said: “We had wanted to consolidate our services with Daisy prior to the creation of the new museum, but were unfortunately unable to upgrade due to funding constraints. Knowing that incoming call traffic would increase, we wanted a system that could handle multiple calls and enable us to deliver a first-class visitor experience.”
As an independently funded charity, The Handel House Trust also expressed a desire for a communications solution that could help make substantial cost savings.
As a happy Daisy maintenance customer, the Trust challenged its account manager to find a solution to meet its needs.
It was clear from the Trust’s requirements that the museum would benefit from a hosted VoIP solution – an off-premise telephone system which connects calls over the internet instead of a phone line.
“I had no idea what a hosted VoIP telephone system was prior to speaking to Daisy. But our account manager was really helpful and explained it so simply that the cost benefits were soon very clear,” said Simona Tocco.
In order to get the most from the cloud-based solution, the museum needed to upgrade its existing ADSL broadband connection to a connectivity solution that could handle the increased bandwidth requirements. Due to the premise’s location, fibre broadband was unavailable, so Daisy installed a managed internet connection, which is a dedicated – meaning it’s not shared with other businesses – internet connection that offers guaranteed speeds and improved reliability.
The new cloud-based telephone system and accompanying connectivity solution were both installed well before the museum’s opening date, helping ensure a smooth launch.
Simona Tocco commented: “The installation from Daisy was quick and seamless, however the overall refurbishment was a massive project which involved multiple suppliers. Our account manager and engineers went above and beyond their roles to ensure the overall transition ran smoothly.”
The major benefit the museum has found from using the hosted telephone system is that any updates and maintenance work is now handled by Daisy and done off-site. An online portal is also available for staff at the Trust to add, configure and remove value-adding features at the click of a button. The disaster redirect feature, for example, ensures that if at any point service was to go down or staff are unable to get into the office, calls could automatically be redirected to assigned mobiles, allowing the museum to continue to deal with visitor enquiries.
Simona Tocco added: “All our staff now have individual feature-rich handsets which allow them to do things like transfer, hold or record calls, which makes managing calls much easier. The easy-to-use online portal also allows us to manage the system ourselves so there is no need to wait for an engineer to visit.
“The other obvious benefit we’ve seen has been the cost savings. Now all our calls are delivered over the internet in HD quality, yet our monthly call expenditure has been reduced”
Internet reliability has also drastically improved thanks to using a high-performance connection which is proactively monitored 24/7, 365 days a year. The managed internet access solution means the museum no longer shares bandwidth with other organisations, helping improve speeds and allow staff to work more productively.
Following the museum’s launch, an award-winning radio station requested to broadcast from Hendrix’s flat but stated it was unsure if the premises could support its bandwidth requirements. Daisy was able to provide performance reports as proof that its managed internet connectivity service would cope and the station went on to host its first live show from the museum, helping to boost publicity.