Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nortel Avaya Software Communication System SCS for educational institutions

Education institutions are faced with exciting opportunities as well as numerous complex challenges. College and university leaders are under intense competition to attract students. Primary and secondary education leaders are struggling to meet the needs and interests of students and teachers while facing budget cutbacks. Education decision-makers agree that technology is the enabler to transform learning and empower faculty and staff to be more effective, but they strugle to find the funding and resources required. Of course, it doesn’t end there — schools and campuses must be safe; protecting students, staff and physical resources is paramount.

One of the ways that educational institutions can meet these challenges is by deploying a cost-effective unified communications (UC) solution that can empower staff to be more efficient as it transforms teaching by giving students the flexibility to learn anytime from anywhere. UC solutions based on an open architecture — such as the Avaya Software Communication System (SCS) — bring unified communications to a new level by being able to integrate communications with existing web-based educational tools and processes, such as learning management systems.
The Avaya Software Communication System is a scalable, easy to manage, user-friendly unified communications software solution.Based on open standards using SIP, the Avaya SCS provides powerful and extensive UC capabilities, including secure presence and IM, integrated voice conferencing, unified messaging, find single number reachability (i.e. simultaneous ringing or Find Me / Follow Me), desktop-based video conferencing and integration with Microsoft Outlook and IBM Lotus Notes/Sametime. Additionally, SCS’s open architecture allows educational intuitions to create their own custom application ecosystem to meet their unique requirements. Unlike competitive solutions, SCS has a cost-effective packaging solution in which all features and functionality are offered in a single per-user license. Furthermore, all applications run on a single standard IT server, for a feature-rich solution delivered at a compelling total cost of ownership.

The Avaya SCS solution is complemented by Avaya data networking switches and routers to provide a comprehensive and extremely costeffective, energy-efficient communication solution delivering excellent service to educational institutions.

The SCS value proposition for education Lowest Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) with ongoing cost control.

SCS has been third-party validated to deliver the lowest TCO across leading UC vendors. Specifically, InfoTech Research (July 2009) found the cost of Avaya SCS was 33 percent to 52 percent lower than Cisco’s Unified Communications Manager and 18 percent to 50 percent less than ShoreTel’s Unified Communications System. This allows educational institutions to direct that cost savings to other IT projects or to staffing and other critical programs.
Migration to SCS can also lead to ongoing cost reduction and cost savings. In many scenarios, a fullyloaded SCS deployment can be less costly than recurring maintenance fees associated with a legacy PBX. Also, with SCS’s integrated SIP trunking capabilities, trunking costs can be reduced by migrating digital PRI trunks to more cost-effective SIP trunks. Additionally, with SCS meet-me conferencing capabilities and integrated softphones for every user, third-party conferencing, long distance and calling card expensescan be reduced or eliminated. Based on customer and partner feedback, the payback period for an SCS solution can be as little as six months.

Improved efficiency for staff, teachers and faculty

SCS makes teachers and faculty more efficient by providing a full suite of UC applications that enhance individual productivity. Using SCS’s Find Me /Follow Me feature, teachers and faculty can have a single phone number and be reached wherever they are. Teachers and faculty can also share best practices, get mentoring from a colleague, or remotely tutor a student through SCS’s meet-me conferencing capabilities and integrated video conferencing capabilities — which are provided to every user at no extra charge. Furthermore, using IM, presence and click-to-call from SCS’s softphone or email application, teachers and faculty can get expert opinions instantly, as well as inform students about their accessibility. With a web-based management system, true plug-and-play capabilities for phones, softphones and gateways, and intuitive “self-controlled” end-user applications, SCS is simple to implement, manage and administer. Adding new users and phones — or making adjustments to existing phones — takes just a couple of clicks and can be completed in minutes, dramatically increasing the efficiency of your IT department.

Transforms the learning experience while helping institutions of higher education attract and retain students.

Using unified communications, students can be tutored remotely via conferencing, so learning is no longer confined to the classroom. Through SCS federation with popular IM platforms, such as GoogleTalk, students can see if their teachers or professors, using SCS, are online — improving teacher and faculty accessibility to their student population.
By utilizing SCS’s advanced open Web 2.0 technologies — e.g., SOAP, REST and WSDL — there is a tremendous opportunity to integrate communications into the education system’s web-based application environment to deliver converged services with minimal manual overhead and cost. For example, Avaya SCS can be used to communications-enable popular student web sites with click-to-call capabilities, allowing them to get access to the right staff member immediately. SCS can also be integrated with open learning management systems, allowing professors and teachers to give detailed voice and video feedback to students on completed projects.

Optimal communications platform for student development projects.

The open web-based architecture also allows SCS to be easily incorporated into student development projects to help enhance IT education. Some examples of projects that students could work on include writing a new IM platform to federate with SCS, writing an application to initiate click-to-call capabilities from a web site or writing a new collaboration application for SCS. Because SCS is based on open source code, students have the opportunity to tap into SCS’s open source community (SIP Foundry1) to learn from other like minded individuals around the globe.Working on these projects allows students to expand their expertise within an industry ecosystem to prepare for future careers in software and the communications industry.

Improved responsiveness to E911 calls.

Safety is top of mind today for schools and campuses everywhere. In addition to a suite of features designed to keep the voice network secure, SCS also offers alarm notification for emergency calls. As soon as an emergency number is dialed, the SCS alarm server can send email (or in the future, SMS) to a previously designated group such as a local emergency response team, who can then provide invaluable assistance until the police, fire or ambulance arrives.

SCS is a future-proof solution.

Standards-based and designed with a Services Oriented Architecture (SOA)development methodology, SCS easily integrates into third-party applications for a flexible, future-proof solution. With SCS’s open source foundation, educational institutions can create their own educational ecosystem with other leading open source application vendors such as Sakai, Zimbra Dim Dim and Skype — all commonly used in higher education institutions. With SCS’s built-in flexibility, educational institutions get a solution that links applications and communications together and allows them to evolve the SCS system to meet future requirements.

Education made simple.

When it comes to affordable unified communications solutions that reduce costs, enhance productivity and transform learning, look no further than Avaya — a company that has been delivering integrated communications solutions for decades, and continues to lead the market in unified communications.

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