Flourishing start-up company, Cell Therapy Catapult, has praised Solar Communications for delivering a worry-free cloud-based phone and internet service to offices located in the centre of a busy hospital.

Solar’s solution meets the business’ internet needs and offers a feature-rich, flexible and mobile-friendly communications solution with no need for expensive on-site hardware and maintenance. Growing from eight staff in 2012 to over 80 in 2014, scalability was a key consideration for the firm – and it’s a requirement Solar has more than satisfied.

About the company

Founded in 2012, Cell Therapy Catapult is an innovative business with the core purpose of building a world-leading cell therapy industry in the UK. The company’s mission is to drive the growth of the industry by helping cell therapy organisations translate early stage research into commercially viable and investable therapies.

A newly formed company, CT Catapult called on the team at Solar to deliver a holistic internet and telephony service when they moved into their very own base in the heart of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in Central London.

Chris Mills, Consultant IT Manager at CT Catapult said: “We were a startup company sourcing everything from scratch. We needed a telephone, we needed a network, we needed office applications, office space, desk space and storage. And we needed to be up and running in a very quick timeframe. We were introduced to Solar and found their solution extremely competitive.”

The internet solution

High availability

CT Catapult looked for speed, reliability and scalability in their internet solution. There was a lot of concern about being right in the middle of a busy hospital; that the internet service would stop in the car park and the IT staff would essentially have to find their own route into the building.

The company also needed a managed, highly available service with all the business’ data and communications located in the cloud. This is what Solar delivered.

“If the connection went down we would have no access to our primary systems, or indeed any of our systems,” said Chris. “It really is that important. We would lose all access to communication because our telephone is also hosted; we would lose email access, all stored up to date information. We would be blind and no one would be able to contact us.

“Solar are on-the-ball in terms of maintenance. If there is ever a problem such as a cable being knocked out, they are on the phone immediately to sort it out – even before we have noticed an issue.”

Carrier diversity

Another key concern was that of carrier diversity. Other providers CT Catapult looked at didn’t deliver true carrier diversity – which as all services are cloud-based – was deemed a necessity by the business. CT Catapult needed high availability to access all of their data and applications via the cloud. They required carrier diversity for the same reason; if one carrier had a major outage, at least they could still gain access through the other.

“The great thing about the Solar offering is that it’s true carrier diversity – really using two dedicated links. In other solutions the final mile could’ve actually have been delivered by the same provider. We could almost guarantee the availability of our Solar provision, subject to an atomic bomb blowing up next to our building.”

The phone solution


CT Catapult has seen rapid growth over the last two years, and Solar’s phone solution had to cater for ambitious plans for the future.

“Hosted services are typically considered small-scale systems used by one man bands, but we’re finding ours exceptionally scalable,” enthused Chris. “We’ll be up to 100 people in the next few months and this system scales very well. We plan on having 200 people by 2017 and expect to still be using the same telephone service.

“As we expand geographically, we can quickly add to the system. As long as another site has internet and somewhere to plug a phone into, we can access telephone communications.”

Remote and mobile workers

CT Catapult’s base at Guy’s and St Thomas’ is made up of office and lab space, but many staff are mobile or remote workers. There are team members based in Edinburgh and Yorkshire, for example, who may come in a couple of days a week but otherwise work from home.

Solar solved the problem with remote office functionality through the Gamma phone solution. The ability to divert work phone calls to a home phone has proved very popular with users – particularly one team member who works remotely from Scotland.

She simply switches on remote office and diverts all incoming calls to her phone line at home. If she wants to make outgoing calls she can do that via the web portal. The home phone rings, she picks it up and it connects to the portal.

Chris from CT Catapult said: “This allows people the flexibility of being able to work in different locations without them being fearful of the cost to themselves. We have 2,000 landline and 2,000 mobile minutes per connection which we’re never going to use up.

“Plus, there is zero cost talking internally and to different sites. If we decide to set up a site in the future, anywhere in the world, talking to one another will be free. The only thing we have to do is buy extra handsets.”

Hosted phones

Due to the location in the middle of a busy hospital campus, the company was restricted on the equipment they could bring into the building. They needed the scalability and mobility of their own telephone system to be able to add and subtract telephones quite rapidly as the business changed.

“We didn’t have any equipment on-premise, there was nowhere to put a physical telephony system and we didn’t have the resources to maintain it here. That’s why it’s great that Solar’s Gamma Horizon offering is hosted.

“We wanted our own dedicated numbers and answering service and now we’ve got that. If we were to have used the hospital’s telephones, we would’ve been another small number within that whole system – and they’re pretty crowded anyway. We needed the flexibility to quickly manage our phones, with features such as roaming profiles, and being able to link up our mobile phones to keep costs down.

“With all these restrictions, the best methodology to achieve this was a cloud-based VoIP system from Solar, with all that flexibility at a cost-effective price. Solar deal with maintenance, and system administration can be performed with ease. Simply put, with Solar’s phone offering, we haven’t been disappointed.”

For further information about how Solar could help your business, ask the team for a free demo today.