In the demanding world of educational institutions, the term “services” has come to mean more than just water, electricity and telephone: it also includes cutting-edge communications. The current trend of communications has moved from disparate data and voice communications to converged networks that provide what the user needs: data, voice, video, or any mix of those. The key word in converged solutions is IP Telephony (IPT), which includes voice over IP, fax over IP and video over IP, all built on top of a reliable data network.
Classroom lessons based on the lecture/note-taking format against a fixed set of information are evolving to “guided learning” based on networked access to worldwide information that students explore in teams. Information assimilation and interpretation are now classroom fundamentals, alongside reading, writing and arithmetic. Technology has created higher expectations on the part of school staff, parents and the community. People expect schools to provide the same instant, convenient access to information that they now enjoy at work or shopping online. Parents and students alike expect constant connectivity and instant communications. Whether e-mailing homework assignments to absent students, alerting the community to snow day closings, scheduling parent-teacher conferences—there are simple communication solutions that can accomplish these and many other challenges conveniently and cost-effectively.
The vision is total access to data and voice, anywhere, anytime. Students should be given the option of accessing those services from their dorms or classrooms, either through wired of wireless connectivity. Moreover, the school grounds will be completely covered with wireless data and voice access, meaning that students and teachers will be able to use there laptops anywhere to connect to the School’s LAN and to use their wireless IP phones and PDAs to connect to the voice network. With this said, we should also be aware of the bandwidth and management requirements for such an undertaking, an issue which will also be taken into account and designed for in the proposed solution.
In order to satisfy the demanding needs of educational institutions, Artelco brings together several different vendors, such as HP, Avaya and Packeteer to build an advanced, cost effective solution.
Through HP’s cutting-edge wires and wireless networking, true anywhere-access throughout the campus can be provided to teachers and students alike.
The use of Avaya’s IP Telephony solution will allow educational institutions to take advantage of cutting-edge features. For example, the Avaya Extension to Cellular offers one-number portability and one-number access to any extension on the system, and allowing teachers to switch back and forth between their cell phones and desk-phones seamlessly. The result will be that administration, parents and students will only need to know One Number, or one extension number for their teacher, and will reach them more quickly and efficiently, especially when teachers are off-campus. More importantly, calling traffic no longer has to wait through numerous transfers only to reach a voice mailbox.
Educational institutions can also benefit from Avaya Intuity’s Fax Manager software that gives the administrators, teachers and even students the ability to manage both voice and fax messages within a single password-protected mailbox using a common set of services. Users can receive, send, store, forward, and broadcast fax mail messages the same way as voice mail messages, all on the same extension they use for voice.