Coventry win UK City of Culture for 2021

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you should know that Coventry was awarded the title UK City of Culture 2021, taking over from Hull who were awarded the accolade in 2017.  The award is made every four years and was a huge success for Hull boosting the economy by an estimated £60m.  Coventry beat off stiff competition from Swansea, Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent and Sunderland who were all in the running for the prestigious award.

| Business Objectives

Westlands Nurseries have a 60 years heritage of growing fresh produce in the Vale of Evesham, from traditional growth lines to plant propagation, edible flowers, micro leaf and other sea vegetable crops.

Driven by automation and spread over three locations covering 26 hectares, Westlands were looking to centralise the management of the greenhouses and growing rooms to a single control centre, simplify the existing IT infrastructure and take advantage of the latest VoIP Telephone Systems throughout their sites.


Production Manager Peter Taylor goes on to say, “As a business Westlands have always been at the forefront of Technology for our market sector from our automated crane rotation system to the self-watering and venting of the glass houses and our IT partner is key to this philosophy”

Our Solution

With fibre internet already in place across all the sites Leap IT created a secure VPN connection between each location which would be the backbone from which to build the new infrastructure.  Westlands had a total of  12 Windows and Linux servers throughout the network and Leap IT set about virtualising all 12 systems onto two Dell PowerEdge rack servers.  Fail over and disaster recovery was in-built to the solution with each server being replicated to a standby server in case of any long outages.  Outdated Exchange Email services that were previously running throughout the business were migrated off site and moved into the Cloud with Microsoft Office 365.

Our software based VoIP PBX solution was rolled out across all the sites with a mixture of hard phones and USB headsets for the users.  Existing telephone numbers for each location were pooled together allowing incoming calls to be answered from any of Westlands locations and even by users away from the office using our VoIP Mobile Phone app.  Calls could also be transferred seamlessly between their office and even into the vast array of greenhouses again using the VoIP Mobile Phone App.

Lastly Leap IT also replaced several Multi-Function Photocopier printers bringing the lease and support of the copiers over to Leap IT.  The photocopiers were the last piece of the jigsaw and successfully brought the telephones, IT Support, copiers and cloud email all over to one local supplier.


The IT is now much more streamlined and efficient running on the latest Microsoft technology with in-built disaster recovery and failover incorporated into the solution.  A centralised approach of management of the IT is now possible from a single location despite the large area the business is spread over.  Watering systems can be controlled by one person throughout all of the green houses and monitoring and reporting is also available outside of the business 24 x 7.

The VoIP phone system gives much better communication throughout the business and its employees and some of the little features including a custom on-hold message and on-hold marketing messages saying which crops are currently in season has proved to be really popular with Westlands.

Leap IT also provide round the clock monitoring of mission critical servers using our remote monitoring software which also handles all critical Microsoft Windows updates for each device on the network. Real world cost savings have been realised by reducing the number of running and connected servers from 12 to 2, saving both in terms of Electricity, connectivity, hardware cover and on-going Support charges.

The VoIP Telephone System brought all the sites together as one business, previously callers needed to get the right telephone number for the right site.

Having Photocopiers, IT and Communications with one supplier has also increased efficiency throughout the business with a single supplier being responsible for all connected services.  As Westlands expand Leap IT can fully provision new staff members with PC, printing, telephone, email and scanning requirements without the need to involve several suppliers.  This in turn leads to a much quicker turn around for new staff members and a single point of contact for any issues.