Laying the Foundation for Interactive LearningPlease Touch Museum’s mission is to “Change a child’s life as they discover the power of learning through play.” The museum is where lifelong learning begins, curiosity is encouraged, and every child is always welcome. Since 1976, Please Touch’s interactive exhibits, programs, and special events have been designed to focus on creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking as core elements. At Please Touch, children discover, learn, and play, and as a result develop the intellectual, social, and emotional skills they need to succeed in school and life.
In order to fulfill its promise “to be a leader in 21st century children’s museums,” the Please Touch Museum (PTM) needed technology to both support their requirements now and to prepare them for the future.
There were three particular challenges that the Please Touch Museum was looking to solve:
- PTM was experiencing limitations on employees’ ability to collaborate efficiently and effectively. Employees experienced call blackouts, during which the phone system would not allow any outbound or incoming calls. Their computers would also often drop from the network if they were using Wi-Fi. These combined issues slowed down the abilities of the team, because their main methods of communication were phone calls and emails.
- PTM focuses on creating a richer and more interactive guest experience. However, their existing technology was not allowing them to visualize these plans. They wanted to be able to gather real-time data on the popularity of exhibits, and to provide their guests with more interactive engagements. Their existing wireless infrastructure could not provide those capabilities because it was a mix of different manufacturers.
- PTM realized that their current infrastructure was limited, unable to provide the flexibility and power to support their business needs, and could not support their future needs. With all of the ideas and plans listed above, the Please Touch Museum needed to make sure the “nervous system” of their network could provide enough power. They also needed to be sure that the new network would provide them the ability to keep growing and expanding to accommodate future plans and ideas.
Realizing these challenges, the Please Touch Museum reached out to Weidenhammer for help.
The Please Touch Museum engaged Weidenhammer for infrastructure upgrades, a new collaboration platform, and an improved wireless infrastructure, leveraging Weidenhammer’s hardware procurement buying power and multiple technical engineering services.
To help the Please Touch Museum collaborate efficiently and effectively, the Weidenhammer team designed and implemented a blend of solutions from Cisco and Meraki.
A more modern Cisco on-premises phone solution was implemented, giving PTM’s employees a more reliable and controllable communication tool. The Cisco solution also included new functionality and tools like the Jabber instant messaging, presence, and softphone client for quick and remote communication options.
The Please Touch Museum was also provided a wireless architecture and infrastructure from Meraki to help blanket their historic Fairmount Park Campus in usable, high-speed, and highly available network and Internet access. This access is used by both staff and guests to help deliver an immersion-rich experience. This also gives them the ability to implement their future business plans and strategies for enriching and enhancing their guests’ experiences.
By updating their network (a project which included new switches), Weidenhammer was able to give the Please Touch Museum the power and flexibility to support and connect their campus in a much more secure and highly reliable manner.
These solutions were architected and designed specifically for the Please Touch Museum so that their IT staff would have the access and tools to manage the infrastructure entirely to their personal standards.
The Please Touch Museum understands that the technologies that drive their business are critical to garnering visitor data and communications, combining to help provide a superior experience to the young clients they serve. While their clients may not understand what it takes to bring the world of PTM to life, the smiles witnessed on the faces of the children each and every day in the museum speak volumes.
- After the switch to the Cisco system, the Please Touch Museum noticed a 100% decrease in phone system blackouts.
- Installation of the Cisco Communications Manager & Unity unified communications system has enhanced employee communication and collaboration options, and it provides a scalable and highly available system for future growth.
- The reach and speed of their wireless network was enhanced, while streamlining management to a single pane of glass, providing a richer, more secure experience for the museum’s staff and customers.
- Network infrastructure modernization that provides an agile platform for not only today’s requirements, but also for future digital enhancements to their network.
The Please Touch Museum had a great unplanned result from their Cisco installation as well. No one was able to see the COVID-19 pandemic coming until it was here. Since the Please Touch Museum included Jabber into their overall solution, they were able to pivot quickly to a remote workforce. These systems allowed the staff to work from anywhere, which allowed the Please Touch Museum to remain committed and connected to the community they serve, and to deliver the experience of the PTM to their guests virtually.
“Weidenhammer has been a critical partner for the museum over the years. I value their thought leadership – they provide ongoing consultative technical design assistance in addition to the ongoing maintenance and support of our network.”Michael Landy, Director – Technology and Systems, Please Touch Museum