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We visited The British School in Tokyo, which is planning (as of the interview) to introduce PBXL Cloud Solution starting this summer. We talked to I.T. manager Rey Pegarido, who manages the office and campus networks and systems.
Leading International School in Japan
The British School in Tokyo (BST) is a British-style international school with two campuses in Shibuya Ward and Setagaya Ward. One of the largest international schools in the Tokyo area, it offers a high-quality English curriculum in “the heart of Tokyo.”
Recently, the utilization of IT is rapidly expanding in educational organizations. Can you tell us about how IT helps BST be successful?
“We are extensively using Google environment through G Suite for Education across our Primary and Secondary Schools. Each classroom is equipped with interactive whiteboards and projectors, and we have hundreds of computers and mobile devices across the school. In year 6, we started a 1-to-1 program where each student has a Chromebook they use at school and an iPad to take home every day. The 1-to-1 iPad continues through Secondary school from Year 7 to Year 9.”
“At BST, we make sure students are receiving a well-balanced education. We have a ‘Device Use Policy’ in school to ensure that devices are used properly.
Students are able to connect their iPads to any Wi-Fi environment, but there is a security lock in place so students are not able to install apps by themselves. There is always the possibility of abusive use of technology. We are always looking better ways to properly educate the students about becoming responsible digital citizens. We also work closely with parents to help maintain internet safety for our students.”
The iPads are used not only in class but also as research tools by the students at home. The technology also provides a means of communication between students and teachers, including uploading completed assignments to a cloud system.
Switching to Cloud Phones
The system scheduled to be introduced at BST this year is PBXL’s UC-One Mobile Client and Polycom phone. The current on-premise telephone system was installed more than ten years ago, and it no longer meets BST’s needs for communication in the 21st century.
“The system itself can still be used, but it has become impossible to add any more extensions. It is getting old, and it is about time to switch.
So I sent inquiries to several companies after searching the Internet for cloud communication vendors with keywords such as IP telephony. One of them was PBXL.”
BST’s requirements were an excellent match with PBXL’s solution, and meetings started from there.
In particular, BST highly appreciated that PBXL was able to respond to the unique needs of a global educational institution in a secure environment, such as integration with the PA (Public Address) system and international calling capability via the cloud. For example, in the case of a disaster, such as an earthquake or a fire, an evacuation can be conducted quickly because the broadcast can be sent immediately to nearby telephones via the cloud. Because of this, BST decided to introduce the PBXL system in the summer of 2017.
By using the UC-One application, it is possible to talk with any extension number in the office/school building while on the go, and it is also very easy to communicate with many people at the same time by using the chat function.
PBXL as an IT Partner
“The reason we choose PBXL’s solution was that it was the only cloud vendor capable of number portability, as well as a good match for our needs and services. Phones are a key communication means for our schools, and I really did not want to change phone numbers.
What I’m most excited about is the high scalability of the cloud. In order to provide education to more students, we always want to expand our offices and school buildings. In the cloud, you can easily add new functions, and it would be nice if you could give momentum to the growth of the school with that power. Keeping reports of call logs on the cloud is also useful because you can manage data more efficiently.”
Finally, what are your thoughts about PBXL?
“For us, there was a desire to leave it to a vendor with a reputation for technology.
PBXL is not only a global cloud vendor, but we were also impressed with personalities of the sales people and their ability to properly respond to technical questions.
It was quite nice to be able to handle everything bilingually, especially from sales to technical support. Things can proceed very smoothly because we need English language materials when dealing with the upper management of the school.”
In recent years, the introduction and utilization of IT are increasing in educational organizations, and children are growing up while being more and more connected to the Internet via digital devices. By introducing the newest IT systems on the office management side, organizations can find the best and most convenient ways to meet their needs.
Here at PBXL, we look forward to more opportunities to provide services to accelerate the cloud era!
*** The British School in Tokyo ***
As the only British international school in Japan, BST offers British-style education for children between three- and 18-years old. Children with a high need of British-style education, such as transferring from the United Kingdom or other British-style school, will take precedence. However, BST warmly welcomes students regardless of nationality, race or background.
Shibuya campus: three- to eight-year old students (Nursery to Year 3). The school is within walking distance of Shibuya station and is a popular choice for receiving high quality education in the center of Tokyo.
Showa campus: eight- to 18-year old students (Primary/Years 4-6, Secondary/Year 7-13). The school is on the Showa Women’s University campus in Setagaya-ku, and as the number of students increase, there are plans for expansion.