South Regional TAFE

Time saving, effective collaboration at South Regional TAFE WA

The remit of South Regional TAFE WA’s new CIO was to introduce technologies that would streamline the workplace for its staff and bring the organisation’s ICT environment into line with current industry standards. Part of that modernisation was an audio visual and conferencing platform to connect all 12 campuses.

The 700 staff of South Regional TAFE WA provide high-quality vocational training, apprenticeships, traineeships and short courses to 10,000 students each year. The TAFE’s 12 campuses in the south west of the State, including Bunbury, Albany and Esperance, serve an area the size of Victoria.

The Challenge

To find an affordable, flexible solution that would enhance teaching, meeting and collaborative work areas.  

The Solution

The neatly integrated technology package, combining CompNow’s Zoom Rooms and a value adding MSA, is building quality, consistent workplace practices at South Regional TAFE WA. 

The Benefits
  • Rapid, highly satisfied adoption by all staff 
  • Uninterrupted collaboration services across region
  • Governance assured with powerful security 
  • Responsive, expert support for all campuses

We chose Compnow because they had the certified expertise to match Zoom Rooms to our needs. And, critically, they had the capacity to not only undertake regional deployments but fulfil the breadth of our ongoing support and servicing needs.

Swain Kirk Chief Information Officer,
South Regional TAFE WA

The Challenge

In an era when collaboration is the by-word, South Regional TAFE WA (SR TAFE) was severely hampered by its limited video conferencing capacity. Its existing, ageing infrastructure was difficult to use, and had connectivity issues, with the only service a direct Cisco link between Albany and Bunbury.

The new solution was to create enhanced teaching, meeting and collaborative work areas. It needed to provide flexibility in access to technology and room setup so that spaces were not locked into a single use.

Swain Kirk, Chief Information Officer at South Regional TAFE WA, says: “In my previous role at James Cook University, I’d introduced Zoom across the board and saw it working so well. I understood its potential to transform my new environment.”

Having decided on Zoom, “we went to market to find a competent partner that could deliver our requirements in all 12 campuses. CompNow came out on top, from three bids,” he says.

The Solution

CompNow integrated the Zoom Room package of dedicated PC, audio, video and controller components, and touchscreen display units. While there is a core offering, SR TAFE could opt for small, medium or large Logitech peripheral set ups depending on use and room requirements.

SR TAFE was able to move forward with the latest Zoom Rooms technology packages from CompNow largely due to the quantum difference between earlier expensive, labour intensive video conferencing deployments and today’s plug and play technologies. From several hundreds of thousands of dollars and two-week installations of outdated systems, a single engineer can set up a Zoom Room in a single day.

CompNow leveraged its national expertise from Melbourne to Perth to create and test each Room before deployment.

“Given that the closest campus is a 2-hour drive, and it’s 8-hours to Esperance, CompNow’s set up accuracy and ongoing technical capacity was crucial to the success of the project,” Swain says.

Twelve Zoom Rooms, with Logitech peripherals, have been introduced in ten campuses. 70 full licences have been procured for key management and leadership, in addition to access for the institution’s 700 full and part-time staff.

CompNow also worked with SR TAFE’s facilities staff and ICT team to tailor a service mechanism to promptly resolve any issues arising on any campus. A CompNow Managed Service Agreement was included to cover phone and on-site support – meaning staff are able to efficiently lodge tickets directly with CompNow without having reference to the IT team. “We have a small team, so don’t have the time to get to usage queries from 700 staff, or to drive around the State to fix problems. CompNow has the capacity we need.

“We also committed to training – at every site – to make sure we had happy staff and maximised the use of our new conferencing services,” he says.


The Benefits

“Zoom Rooms have completely changed our ability to communicate with each other. We have idea sharing and consistency like never before. A lecturer teaching Business in Margaret River can easily create a Room with counterparts from the other campuses to make course development seamless. And because staff don’t have to travel, we’re making so much better use of our time,” Swain says.

The CompNow solution overcame the issues often experienced by technical and end users of old style conferencing. The new technology has built in, flawless video, and easy to join meetings and sharing.

“There’s just no fuss. Zoom Rooms, and its integration with Outlook, smooths out all the old problems of room and meeting booking. When we do 30-40 person gatherings we use the hands up and chat functions that makes it really easy to control a large group,” he says.

“Zoom Rooms lets us simultaneously share desktops in the physical meeting room as well as wireless sharing for staff on our network. And it doesn’t lock us into a single use for any of our spaces – we can expand for teaching and reduce for staff teamwork.

“The security features make Zoom Rooms a good platform – particularly for executive and Governing Council level meetings. The Council previously used to ‘meet’ using teleconferencing. Now, with Zoom Rooms, they’re benefitting from being able to be physically present or use remote video access from anywhere in WA.

“And, of course, when Covid hit, we were already set up. Zoom Rooms solved our communications while everyone worked from home.

“Many of the staff, including our Managing Director, had used other services yet found them lacking, whereas everyone is extremely satisfied with the presentation and style of our Zoom Rooms,” Swain says.

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