I.T. consultancy for a new build primary school

This consultancy project, ably demonstrating Ansa-IT’s wide range of specialist skills, enabled value for money delivery of the total ICT package, on time and within budget.  It involved
  • Complex user requirements specification
  • Solutions design
  • Procurement support, including tender evaluation
  • Installation and commissioning coordination and sign off.

The School was an entirely new education facility and part of a community scheme that included a new hospital.

The school’s ICT platform had to be innovative, deliver an excellent administration and learning platform and be as cost effective to run and maintain as possible. The system should also be scalable and tie into the wider online facilities offered by the LEA.

Our approach was based upon involving the key stakeholders in establishing the requirements for the ICT element.

We held a small number of short and tightly focused workshops, involving appropriate stakeholder representatives, to enable us accurately to define requirements. The requirements document produced from these sessions was sufficiently detailed to act as the basis for inviting potential suppliers/manufacturers, as appropriate, to make presentations of proposed solutions. On the basis of these presentations, we refined the requirements document before offering it as the basis for procurement.

We provided advice across the whole spectrum of the school’s ICT requirements, including:

Designing the server room - the layout of this room, cabinet types, data and power provision as well as room cooling and ventilation.

Calculating and documenting power loads for the proposed equipment when the specifications were known and agreed.

Reviewing the external connectivity requirements for intranet, internet and email services – including that of any backup ADSL (broadband) provision.

Advising on the arrangement of ICT equipment to the non-teaching rooms and areas.

Advising on the curriculum based devices to be used in classrooms, teaching spaces and speciality areas, including sensory rooms and roof space, to support creative learning and collaboration and provide teaching staff with an excellent teaching platform.

The school wanted the latest technology to support learning, which meant Ansa-IT specifying:
  • Desktop computing solutions.
  • Mobile computing solution(s) – laptop, netbook,tablet.
  • Interactive white boards and projection.
  • Visualisers.
  • Audio.
  • Charging cabinets for mobile products.
  • Wireless access points.
  • External, mobile projection.
  • External wireless access points to roof and playground areas.
  • Interactive white board to food technology.

A large new build Academy

The Academy was totally transformed by an ambitious building project completed in September 2011, offering new buildings, an enhanced 21st century curriculum and outstanding facilities for students aged 11-18.

The state-of-the-art facilities include learning plazas, extended vocational centres, performing arts theatres and outdoor performance arenas.

Inside the impressive structures there are:
  • 10 hi-tech, interactive learning plazas
  • Futuristic science and food technology labs
  • Specialist dance, music, art and design technology studios
  • A fantastic performing arts theatre
  • A purpose-built sixth form centre offering more than 96 courses
  • Four-court sports hall
  • A coffee shop for sixth form students and staff
  • Open plan dining offering cashless catering
  • A laptop for every year 7 pupil, which charges in their personal locker.
With its specialism in technology and science, the Academy sought a sophisticated technological solution to provide a secure environment for pupils, staff, visitors and equipment. To that end Ansa-IT was asked, inter alia, to design and specify CCTV and access control solutions across the whole site. The abstract below from our proposed solution reflects the key elements of our approach.


"The networked surveillance solution proposed by Ansa-IT uses the excellent new IT infrastructure to distribute video to authorised site users and securely record to dedicated file servers.

The file servers and workstations and, indeed, the network that they reside upon can be managed under the same remit as other curriculum and application servers and machines. This gives the school an ownership and management role in the CCTV system and does not mean it is a 'black box' type system that is difficult to manage and extend.

A Community College

Situated in London and serving an area that is in sharp contrast to its more affluent neighbours, the Community College provides education to 750 11-18 year olds.

Being part of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme and securing a grant for a £23m project to provide its students with an outstanding learning environment, the college was a 'pathfinder' project for the DfES, which set the template for many other education establishments.

The new facilities supported a step change in aspiration. Creating a new environment has enabled the college to establish itself at the heart of the community, engaging with parents and pupils seven days a week. Benefits have ranged from better staff morale to increased enrolement and opening of new revenue streams for the school.

Portable Incident Management Solution R&D Project

Ansa-IT has a proven position as a cutting edge technological solution adviser. In the recent past the company has supported R&D projects involving innovative communications and component combinations to meet the specific challenges of certain environments.

A major UK based security contractor was aware of Ansa-ITs reputation and approached us about supporting them in using new technology to show what may be possible in the field of security and incident diagnosis and management.

The context for the solution was military and civil use in dealing with serious incidents with a range of potential types of collateral damage. The total solution was to consist of various elements providing real time analysis to support remote chemicals, biological and visual diagnosis and management of incidents in any environment, however challenging, without vehicle support. The key element in the solution was suitablility in a challenging environment, which included the need for:
  • Portability, compactness and durability in difficult and restricted environments and terrains
  • Self sufficiency in power supply (therefore adopting solar as a possible solution or back up)
  • Very high definition imaging
  • Streaming over various networks to a central command centre
  • Recording and replaying high quality images from high definition colour cameras.


Warsash Maritime Academy Engine Simulator Room
                                                                                                  Learning aids:
Data loggers.
Network camera to habitat area.
Digital cameras and video film making including stop-motion and chroma key (green screen).

Specialty aids/sensory:
Snap projectors.
Fibre optic curtains, tunnels, ‘waterfalls’.
Light panels and boxes.
Switch rewards – light and sound.
Non breakable mirrors.

Ansa-IT evaluated the requirements and solutions for the software products in both administration and curriculum/learning.

For curriculum/learning this included speciality nursery, classroom and sensory products as well as recommendations for current internet-based resources.

We worked closely with the client project team to understand the preferred learning software products required to run on the ICT platform and ensure compatibility.

Ansa-IT also reviewed the required LEA WAN services with the client project team – particularly managed and hosted internet and mail services. This included content filtering, caching, video conferencing, access to media-rich curriculum content and remote access to systems for authorised teaching staff.

The result of this comprehensive approach was a User Requirements documents that each stakeholder could sign up to. This was used as a basis for the Invitations To Tender.

At this stage, Ansa -IT liaised with potential supplier and subsequently evaluated responses to select a preferred bidder.

Once the contract to supply the ICT solutions was let, Ansa-IT played a key support role in coordinating the ICT installation and commissioning with other contractors, including the main construction and the M&E contractors.

The end result was a new primary school with fully functioning ICT delivered on time and on budget.  

Our design recognises that network infrastructure is key to current and future technologies as more and more devices become 'network centric'. Future biometric and video analytics products will all be network orientated and the emergence of these sub systems will allow less intrusive management of sites but with even more flexible control."

Access Control

"The access control system proposed by Ansa-IT is based upon a single token technology. Each student and member of staff possesses a 'proximity' card enabling access to certain areas at certain times of the day.

Full logging of an individual's movements through access controlled areas is available with synchronised video events, allowing targeted searching of events very quickly.

A key feature of the design is single token, multi use and the intended future integration will use such a token's common ID for printing, LRC, catering access and possibly single user sign-on etc. Custom integration applications will ensure that the academy's core administration system is the single major administration point - automatically sending student information into the subsystems. Whilst details within those subsystems will also require administration, the core records are handled at a single point.

The access control solution can become a hub for recording student entry into the site. For example active reporting can automatically produce a report, based upon timing, of students who have entered the site but not entered (and registered in) their particular zone. Such a report could be web/intranet based for quick access by authorised staff.

Token ownership can be enhanced for the user (to discourage careless loss) by the relationship between the card and the catering subsystem. Additionally redemption points for catering services can be overlapped with surveillance to discourage card abuse such as one student taking/using another's without their permission"

Critically, our proposed design and the subsequent specification were fully adopted by the Academy.

Ansa-IT were chosen inter alia to design and specify an integrated IP surveillance and access control solution for the college. We designed a system around the latest network cameras - managed and streamed by an industry standard video management system. The open platform enabled the college to choose exactly how the system grows in the future and enabled us to fully customise the interface to incorporate intuitive maps for camera and access control event information.

We specified an access control suite to secure vehicle and pedestrian access - including main entrance barriers and lifts.

Ansa-IT's Mananging Director Paul Stout commented "this is another example of integrated solutions being recognised as the clear way forward. We are very pleased to have been able to offer superb products, providing very flexible security and site management tools."

In defining technical boundaries and confirming functional capabilities, the key technological uncertainties addressed by this comprehensive and wide ranging R&D project were:
  • Providing all the required functionality packaged into a single portable device
  • Creating a sufficiently rugged device to endure the demands of potentially harsh operating conditions
  • Powering the equipment at the required level for the required time to support the functionality in the context of managing a terrorist or similar incident
  • Incorporating alternative power and communications routes while maintaining portability

For Ansa-IT the project consisted of:
  • Definition of the potential requirement for the visual diagnosis and management element
  • Overall Technical Specification and design of the solution
  • Individual component specification, design and sourcing
  • Bench testing of components and of complete visual diagnosis solution 
  • Preparation of the complete prototype to be part of the wider application which include remote biological and chemical analysis.

The R&D project posed some difficult technical questions, which we were able to overcome, working closely with our partners and proposing alternative approaches, which ultimately improved the overall concept.


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