Colleges and universities must invest wisely in communications technology. While a 2017 CDE Connected Campus Survey identified cost savings as the main driver for schools to improve their communications technology, there are other benefits as well.
Educational institutions rely on robust communications systems to keep students and faculty connected, improve operations and even increase safety. And the majority of today’s students say technology has positively impacted their academic endeavors. Even though the cloud is growing in popularity, many institutions aren’t ready to abandon their existing infrastructure. Reduced funding and limited resources steer many universities toward on-site deployment.
Fortunately, this doesn’t mean higher education is limited in what institutions can offer their communities. Let’s look at the benefits of on-site deployment via three real-world examples.
Reliability: You can always count on on-site deployment
A stable and reliable communications solution that’s available 24/7 is a must for all colleges and universities. The College of William and Mary was using an outdated system, making voice communications outages a growing concern. The move to IP telephones delivered resiliency with a distributed architecture. Worries over the system going down became a thing of the past. Today, reduced downtime and stability are the new norm.
Operational efficiencies: on-site saves time and money
William and Mary
William and Mary also implemented an on-site deployment of an enterprise contact center. Calls are more productive and handled more efficiently, through such features as:
- An open architecture that allows for integrations with CRM applications and other systems. Call center agents are armed with detailed information as they make calls to alumni and prospective students.
- Omnichannel support that enables agents to reach out via phone, email, SMS, web chat and social media.
The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA)
The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) was also looking to replace disparate systems with a simpler, more innovative solution. After trying a cloud solution without success, an on-site deployment delivered several efficiencies and cost savings. Maintenance alone was reduced by $25,000 per year.Highlights of the deployment include:
- A centrally managed system from a single web page that saves both time and money. Moves, adds, deletes and changes can be managed from a desktop.
- Other offices and employees can be reached with a four-digit extension, saving money previously wasted on long-distance calling charges.
- On-site hardware allows for more analog endpoints and users to reside on one switch, creating a more streamlined and cost-effective solution.
Brazil’s Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul
Brazil’s Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, or UFRGS, supports three university campuses over nine sites. It needed to integrate communications systems across locations while reducing costs. The solution lay in advanced on-site IP telephony.Highlights of the deployment included:
- Simple migration to a single system with remote site integration and centralized management.
- Reduced communication costs between campuses.
- Leveraged existing equipment, such as gateways and terminals, to save money.
Safety and security: It’s the law
Safety and security aren’t only important to students; they’re required by law. Many colleges and universities must now comply with emergency communication mandates. The on-site solution deployed by William and Mary is an example of how easily universities can comply with these mandates. Enhanced 911 (E-911) service provides on-site notification and dispatch to facilitate the immediate response of trained on-site personnel.
Mobility and collaboration: They go hand-in-hand on campuses
The UFRGS solution supports campus-wide mobility through mobile applications. Integration of voice, video and data with mobility contributes to productivity improvements. IP telephony provides fixed-mobile integration. An open and standards-based platform means integration with third-party products and even cloud applications is possible. Chat, video and SMS functionality can easily be integrated to increase collaboration and communication. This gives faculty and staff the tools and resources they need to succeed.
Reduced funding doesn’t have to limit what colleges and universities can offer when it comes to communications technology. An affordable, yet innovative on-site deployment can save money while still delivering reliability, mobility, collaboration and safety. A budget-friendly and truly powerful system can put your institution at the top of prospective students’ lists.