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Background

Birkbeck College is part of the University of London and offers five schools covering a wide range of academic disciplines including Arts, Business Economics and Informatics. Each of the five schools provide a stimulating, dynamic setting for learning and research.

The College is the only university in London that offers all of its learning in the evening, allowing its 12,000 students to benefit from a flexible learning environment while still doing what they need to do during the day – be that work, volunteering or taking care of family commitments.

Andre Zelenka is responsible for delivering the IT infrastructure across the university and has a direct team of 13.  In addition to the students, the IT team has to serve a staff of around 2,000.

Situation

The University has a highly successful Department of Computer Science however, a lack of space at the University meant students and staff were having their teaching delivered at a neighbouring university.  This was clearly not ideal for anyone and so four new computer labs were built and Andre used the London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC) to tender for 156 desktops and monitors.

Andre said: “Internally, the project came under the remit of the Estates team and so it was important the price for the IT kit met their overall project budget.  Stone not only met the price criteria but also turned around the tender document in a matter of days.  They were the quickest to respond which we felt highlighted their professionalism and expertise.”

The Challenge

The overall build project actually ran late and the University did not have the space to store all the new equipment and so Stone helped out by putting it into a bonded warehouse.  The IT team called off what they wanted and then Stone simply delivered it as and when they were ready.

“The engineers were able to come on site at very short notice and were with us for four days,” said Andre. “They were really flexible and were able to modify and change their engineering times to help us cope with the release of the rooms.”

Andre did not have the resources to physically set up and install 156 new PCs as the day to day business of the University was going on at the same time as the new computer labs were being built and set up.   “Stone’s help and support was key to making the set up a success.  We were right against the deadline but everything went according to plan.”

Solution

The new work stations have a small desktop footprint and Stone recommended their Premium Stand which turns the StonePC lite into a fully functioning all in one – allowing the PCs to take a Quadro graphics card – a prerequisite of the spec. The i7 processors, 16GB Ram and large hard drives (1TB and 500GB Solid State Drive) offer excellent security and a log in time that is almost instantaneous.  At the beginning of the process, Stone provided a couple of test units so that the equipment could be evaluated and it was very positively received.

‘The new equipment also saw us deploy Windows 10 in the classroom for the first time,” said Andre.  “We did have a couple of small issues, but we found the support team at Stone to be excellent and they were able to talk us through everything.”

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