Since most schools run Microsoft Teams it can be awkward to incorporate a proper paging solution into them.
Adapters are available to interface SIP to an analogue paging amplifier such as the Algo 8301 and 8373 which also provide scheduling capabilities but these are not Teams compatible.
Fortunately most schools are not opposed to running paging and regular telephony separately so how would we do it?
Algo offers a range of speakers for alerting and paging purposes. For a school we would use a combination of the 8186 of 8196 horn speaker, the 8188 or 8198 ceiling speak or the 8189 surface mount speaker. Occasionally there may also be a requirement for something like an 8180 SIP alerter or 8128 or 8138 strobe.
All of these devices share a common configuration with minor variations in that they are extension driven. They have a large quantity of extensions available that when dialled from a SIP server cause an action to take place such as an announcement, tone, etc. Background music can also be streamed.
Since all these devices are extension driven we need a SIP server to provide that. We use a Grandstream UCM6301 as that will support up to 500 extensions without any licensing . Of course, you can also add a SIP trunk to it and turn it into a fully fledged phone system.
The UCM6301 also offers the ability to schedule announcements either per device or as a multicast to multiple devices. By dialling individual extension numbers ad-hoc announcements or emergency tones can be sounded.
How do we access the paging system to make these announcements? Simply by attaching a SIP phone. Any SIP phone will do but a couple of purpose-built models are available.
Our preference is the Fanvil X210i with gooseneck microphone due to ease of use. It has 106 programmable buttons with 42 available without changing pages and the remaining 64 spread across 2 pages. This is more than enough for even the most complex system. Multiple handsets can be placed at key locations around the school – various reception desks, medical room, etc. The X210i can be powered via PoE or local power and supports WiFI connection too with an external dongle. If you want to incorporate video door phones the X210i supports the H.264 protocol so you can see who is at the door and allow them access by pressing a digit.
For a sleeker or if 2-way video functionality is required there is the Android-based Fanvil A32i offering up to 112 programmable buttons on a 10.1″ colour touch screen. This also offers built-in WiFi and can have a camera added for 2-way video calls.
Please contact us if you have any enquiries.