AUSTIN, TX, July 15, 2015 – Polk County Schools in Florida recently began the final phase of a 23 campus roll-out of BellCommander, which is used in conjunction with a 3CX phone system at each site to provide a full campus communication solution for phone, bell, paging, and mass notification at a very cost-effective price. Districts in the past have relied on very expensive enterprise UC (Unified Communications) solutions when BellCommander and 3CX provide the core features that most schools need in an easy-to-use and maintain solution.
Both BellCommander and 3CX run on a standard Windows PC or Server and utilize open VoIP standards, including SIP and multicast audio streaming. SIP is the standard protocol that most modern phone systems support that allows third party phones, IP speakers, and software to connect to the phone system. The 3CX phone system is extremely easy to setup and it installs as a standard Windows application. With minimal training, staff can quickly setup standard SIP phones, directories, paging, ring groups, and other advanced features.
BellCommander is also installed as a standard Windows application and it communicates using the industry standard SIP protocol to 3CX and registers like a SIP softphone to the 3CX system. BellCommander’s close integration with 3CX allows it to both make pages through 3CX to phones and IP speakers connected to the phone system and to receive calls to launch emergency notifications. Phil Bader, Electronics Technician at Polk County, liked that the system is easy to manage and that “BellCommander integrates nicely with the 3CX software” and that BellCommander has given the district “zero complications for over a year.”
BellCommander’s patented audio scheduling and distribution system is used by over 2,500 schools and it provides a very flexible scheduling system and works with both modern equipment, including VoIP phone systems and IP speakers, and with traditional PA, bell, and phone systems. Polk County originally integrated BellCommander with older equipment using USB relay controllers, but as the district transitioned to modern VoIP systems, they were able to continue using BellCommander with minimal staff retraining.
The BellCommander scheduler allows for an unlimited number of day schedules with hundreds of events per day schedule. Users can choose from sounds included with BellCommander or use their own custom sounds for bells, voice announcements, and music. With the 3CX integration, paging groups can be setup in 3CX and BellCommander can make SIP calls to paging groups to page different groups at different times. BellCommander can also stream multicast audio directly to phones and IP speakers that support multicast streaming.
In an era with the need to reach students and staff immediately for threats, BellCommander and 3CX provide an advanced solution. BellCommander’s emergency notification allows notification scripts to be defined that will play or loop audio messages to phones and IP speakers, send scrolling text messages to message boards, and trigger other security and alerting systems using contact closures. Emergency notifications can be launched through the main BellCommander software, web interface, or Paging Station Windows client and users can also call into BellCommander from designated phones to launch notifications. At Polk County, Bader stated that “the emergency notifications BellCommander provides have become our school’s protocol.”
For more information on integration with 3CX and other VoIP phone systems and IP speakers, see BellCommander SIP Integration. The page also includes a link for a free 30-day trial of the BellCommander SIP/Multicast Version.