University Turns to UC for Voice and Data Networks

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The advantages of unified communications (UC) extend beyond the typical business environment, particularly at universities. No matter the organization, UC is at the center of enterprise efficiency. UC technology ties together data and voice networks in a way that would have been unthinkable only a decade ago. The ability to connect people and data is paramount for many different industries.

For example, a university in Washington recently implemented a UC solution to serve its 51,000 students and nearly 31,000 faculty members. After spending over three years with an out-of-date communications infrastructure, the university decided that their technology was no longer sufficient to support today’s educational needs.

As these technologies continue to advance, users need to implement better integration for voice and data services. Since the communication field has expanded to include Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), VoIP, and video conferencing, a UC infrastructure is critical.

After testing a variety of products, the university decided to implement an Avaya Aura UC solution. Being that the end goal was to provide seamless connectivity for multiple vendors across a variety of platforms and devices, including PCs, Macs, tablets, smartphones and conference room video systems, the Avaya solution was a sound decision.

Due to the complex physical setup and digital layout of the university, the project required deploying   communications through a cloud server. This offered the ability to support current and future IT environments. All in all, implementing this UC solution took about a year.

From a detailed release about the implementation:

The UC system supports products from a diverse array of vendors, including Microsoft Lync, AVST, Cisco and Polycom. The Avaya Aura Session Initiation Protocol (SIP)-based platform also ties together multiple session managers to create greater geo-redundancy. Using a Web-based management console, IT staff can isolate different communities of use, oversee dial plan management and routing policies, and better manage security and licensing.

In the end, the university gained a single system for managing all forms of communications. The environment ties together voice, messaging, email, desktop sharing, collaboration, and other tools. Perhaps the most unique aspect of this solution is the ability to report and record on each individual element. Having an advanced infrastructure is only as good as the ability to properly manage it and ensure that the solution conforms to regulatory compliance.

With a total UC solution comes the ability for collaborative reporting and recording. This includes voice, video, IM archiving, and screen capture. As students, faculty, and staff enter a virtual world of communication, all interactions can be logged and reported on in order to determine ROI of usage.

These interactions can also be recorded to ensure faculty and staff are using the tools appropriately. This also includes utilizing recordings to ensure school safety, and to supply evidence in cases where necessary.

The UC solution has brought the school's communications infrastructure into the digital age. Over the long run, it will trim IT costs and administrative overhead, while providing greater simplicity and flexibility. Have you considered how a UC solution can impact your industry?

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