Italian COVID-19 Response
Sangoma Enables Italian Tele-Services Helping People in COVID-19 Pandemic Quarantine
In the wake of the worldwide pandemic of novel coronavirus (also known as COVID-19), concerned leaders in Italy felt the need to provide telephone support services to people who, quarantined in their homes by government mandate, were going through a diverse array of personal, family, and relationship difficulties. The first trial of this idea began in Palermo with the Cana Advisory Center belonging to the Italian Confederation of Family Consultors. Starting out with a 40-extension Sangoma PBX donated by Com.Tel, a respected Sangoma partner in the region, the tele-service connected trained operators with people in need of advice and guidance through the variety of difficult needs they experienced while isolated in quarantine. This initial experiment was incredibly successful and prompted further expansion of the idea. The Italian Episcopal Conference, the assembly of bishops tasked with managing the affairs of the Roman Catholic Church in Italy, decided to adopt the idea and develop it into a national service available to all Italians.
This service represented a unique project with simple but stringent restraints, especially around budget. The PBX system installed has to be extremely flexible to allow contact center operators to work with regular mobile devices and personal computers, wherever they are, while maintaining anonymity. Additionally, the platform had to be configurable to integrate with cloud services, given the large amounts of bandwidth necessary to connect hundreds of calls simultaneously. The organization’s leadership reached out to Com.Tel, the Sangoma partner who donated the PBX system used by the initial project in Palermo. Trusting Com.Tel’s years of experience in networking and telecommunications, the organization gave them full control of which vendors to use and how to set up the service’s PBX network.
Solutions from Sangoma
Antonio Adorno, regional manager for Com.Tel in Sicily and Calabria, immediately thought Sangoma’s robust and flexible PBX systems and equipment would be the perfect match for the project. The team went straight to work designing a system flexible enough to accommodate the needs of the project using fully-licensed Sangoma PBX software that allowed the management of the call center and day-to-day statistics on a service in the Cloud. Additionally, robust desktop and mobile clients were installed to allow operators to connect and handle calls from regular smartphones and personal computers.
The service began with about 400 operators configured, with plans to immediately almost double the number of fully operational agents to 700. The service was advertised nationally to the Italian public starting in July of 2020, offering high visibility and coverage by the most important media outlets thanks to communications from the Roman Catholic Church in Italy. Leadership on all sides are pleased with the performance and flexibility of the solution and the fact that it fully covers their needs with the ability to integrate with many different services to cover every possible new need as the service continues to operate and grow. They are also very pleased by the low economic impact on tight budgets and the solution’s ability to easily integrate with and operate on a Cloud platform, in addition to compatibility with many carrier and client-side SIP solutions. The Episcopal Conference and Com.Tel were proud to choose Sangoma as the telecommunications vendor for this important project because with limited effort and tight budgets, it was possible to create a highly professional, easy-to-use platform that could offer: • The ability to offer a professional welcome to callers with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology • Seamless call distribution with no restrictions • The flexibility to offer a variety of waiting messages depending on situation • Incredible ease of operation for the call center agents • The ability for operators to easily use a smartphone app or desktop softphone to handle calls • Full control of the platform remotely, including the ability to access statistics and implement changes and new services • Complete anonymity for operators working from the privacy of their homes. In the end, the Sangoma PBX solution designed for this project represented an innovative solution to an emergency situation.