Food researchers to benefit from Edinburgh lab network upgrade

Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) signs Avaya to improve communications infrastructure 

Researchers at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA), a world-class laboratory, glasshouse and experimental farm facility on the outskirts of Edinburgh, are set to benefit from a new, facility-wide communications network provided by US-based Avaya.
SASA, which is a division of the Scottish Government’s Agriculture & the Rural Economy Directorate, has contracted the Californian firm to supply its communications infrastructure network and provide a boost to its 100-strong team of biologists and chemists who conduct year-round work to ensure the quality, safety and security of Scotland’s food supply.
It also frequently plays hosts to international agricultural conferences and other researchers from around the world.
With legacy systems reaching the end of their operative life, SASA says it recognised a need for a network solution which could provide efficient, consistent and secure access to both resident and visiting researchers working across its three facilities and multiple conference centres.
SASA’s conference centres can host up to 60 delegates at any one time – all of whom can now access the communications network with their own key.
Following a competitive tender process, Avaya was selected to deploy a comprehensive network upgrade which would meet both current needs and anticipated growth in demand. Since deployment in March, the communications network has passed the Public Sector Network compliance tests used to determine its security.
SASA Systems Manager Laura Wall said: “We’ve got people from the EU and all over the world visiting us. Experts on particular crops and people on fact finding missions come here to learn or contribute to our work and that means both in the lab and outdoors with our crops. If one thing’s true of both our staff and our visitors, it’s that a fast and consistent network connection is vital to a productive visit.”
The Avaya networking technology, which is deployed throughout the facility, enables both permanent staff and visitors to take advantage of the latest wireless speeds and consistent connections, even when moving between labs and offices.
Wall added: “Collaboration is a vital part of our work, so a secure wireless network where they can connect quickly, and securely, and can then take their laptops from office space to lab and back without interruption is a major benefit.”
Ioan MacRae, UK MD at Avaya, said: “Avaya is proud to support SASA and give it the technology it needs to serve an ever-growing team. SASA’s new wireless infrastructure will bring faster, more intuitive communication and cross-collaboration with scientists from across the world. We work for our customers and tailor the solution for every customer experience, based on what the end user wants.”