- On May 21, 2008
Southwest Horizon School Division takes a giant leap forward using communications to improve collaboration, internal processes, student safety and parent-teacher communication
Toronto, ON – Distributed across hundreds of kilometers into 11 locations, Southwest Horizon School Division in Manitoba epitomizes how new communications technologies overcome many issues facing rural schools today. Recently equipped with an Avaya IP Telephony network and Unified Communications by Unity Telecom, the division has improved student safety, automated processes, improved collaboration between the schools and community – all while lowering ongoing operating costs.
The new Avaya IP Telephony network serves as the foundation for connecting the facilities and the “highway” over which ride the advanced communications applications that bring big benefits to the educational community. For instance, four-digit dialing among all of the schools helps reduce toll and trunk line costs. System administration and management for all schools comes from a single location rather than 11 separate sites, reducing travel costs and increasing employee productivity.
Although all communications for Southwest Horizon School Division are now driven from a core location, each site can still communicate independently if there is disruption to the main site or in the network. In addition, the IP Telephony network also supports analog and digital technologies to accommodate older wiring in some locations, providing the users with a mixed environment to help ease undue strain on the Division’s budget. New wireless networking quickly provides high-speed access without requiring damage to construction and lengthy wiring installations.
Applications on the network reduce both the need for Southwest Horizon School Division staff to travel for administrative meetings and it increases their ability to stay connected when they are away from home base. Audio and videoconferencing also bring faculty and staff together for virtual meetings across the Division, and softphone applications on laptop computers allow staff to take their office phone with them when travelling to ensure they have full access to calls, directories and features wherever they plug into a connection.
“Avaya’s solutions have made it easier and more cost-efficient for faculty members to attend the monthly staff meetings. This provides the school division with a more cohesive working relationship and better programs for our students,” said Brian Spurrill, secretary treasurer, Southwest Horizon School Division. “Unity Telecom was instrumental in helping us select and implement the Avaya communications solutions that meet our current workflow challenges and support our future business plans.”
The new system increases school safety at Southwest Horizon School Division through new e911 alarming capabilities and mobility. Whenever – or wherever – a 911 call is placed, key personnel and offices are simultaneously notified and can immediately initiate the appropriate actions. In addition, Avaya one-X Mobile enables staff to maintain contact while monitoring halls by becoming an extension of Southwest Horizon’s network. Staff members receive the same alerts on their smartphone that go to their office number, and can communicate from inside or outside of the school in the event of a lockdown.
With Avaya’s unified messaging, parents can call their child’s teacher directly and leave voice messages at any time of the day or night. The faculty member can access the message from any phone or from their e-mail inbox – and even save the voicemail in a file on their computer. Centralized absentee reporting allows parents to leave voicemails about their child’s absence, which can be converted to an e-mail and entered into an electronic report within minutes.
“With Avaya’s solutions we can connect with parents and teachers like we’ve never been able to before,” said Spurrill.
Avaya delivers Intelligent Communications solutions that help companies transform their businesses to achieve marketplace advantage. More than one million businesses worldwide, including more than 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®, use Avaya solutions for IP telephony, unified communications, contact centers and communications-enabled business processes. Avaya Global Services
provide comprehensive service and support for companies, small to large. For more information, visit the Avaya Web site at http://www.avaya.com.
About Unity Telecom
Unity Telecom is a full service Communications Company, providing consulting, design, implementation and support for best of breed IP based business communication solutions. Unity representatives have sales and technical certifications on all the products the organization sells and supports, including Avaya, AVST, Captaris, Cisco, Panasonic, and Polycom Spectralink. With offices across North America and strong alliance partnerships with certified resellers, Unity Telecom is aptly able to serve businesses of all sizes. For more information visit the Unity Telecom site: http://www.unitytelecom.net.