The University of New Mexico (UNM) serves more than 32,000 students and offers more than 200 degree programs. It has four branch campuses and operates New Mexico's only teaching hospital. UNM sought to build connectivity, especially wireless connectivity, for its complex environment which combines both academic and healthcare aspects. It needed technology that would meet the sophisticated needs of staff and faculty as well as students, and the solution it chose was a convergence of voice and data networks through a long-term migration to VoIP.
Mark Reynolds, UNM's IT Director, heads a team providing support for computing platforms, applications and classroom technology, as well as voice and wireless security including an emergency 911 system and telephony support for 27,000 employees. Demand for connectivity, especially wireless connectivity, is growing exponentially – on average, each student living in a dorm brings five communications devices to campus, including computers, mobile phones, smart phones and music and video devices. “These devices need the ability to connect wirelessly as they don't plug into anything anymore. This drives our direction to install less wired ports in new building,” Reynolds said.
NEC first worked with Reynolds on VoIP migration when UNM chose NEC hybrid communications technology for its new children's hospital, the Barbara and Bill Richardson Pavilion. The success of this major project, involving the maintenance of healthcare delivery continuity during the movement of patients and staff as 900 telephone lines were relocated over a weekend, convinced Reynolds of the superiority of NEC's UNIVERGE MA4000 centralized management solution. Today, VoIP capabilities at UNM are creating a communications environment that integrates with wireless and data technologies. As Reynolds says: “I think it's a great partnership. I believe in NEC. NEC has the knowledge and depth to understand my needs.”
Many of the university's 24,000 telephone ports have already been moved to IP using Session Internet Protocol (SIP) technology. One of the benefits of SIP is that it allows users to move a phone within a building without having to call on the IT team. Communications in the university hospital are now based on 1,000 wireless 802.11 IP telephony handsets. Many university CCTV cameras have been moved from analog to IPTV, including the broadcasting capabilities in the basketball arena, where games are now televised over the Internet. IP delivers online courses to UNM's students and healthcare data to clinicians at the teaching hospital.
Reynolds said the move to IP is also reducing his footprint because the technology uses less power, cooling and space. “By going wireless, I not only save money on infrastructure, but I meet the needs of the students to connect anywhere, anytime. The technology is in the background of how I deliver services. I use the network as my primary connection.”
The Technical Center of Denmark (DTU) is the leading educational center for engineers and technical science in Denmark, an institution that benchmarks with the best universities in the world. DTU's more than 4,500 employees are located in many different departments and offices around the country, and because many are frequently away from their desks, at lectures or traveling abroad for example, mobility is a key requirement. DTU had to integrate some 3,300 mobile users into its telephone environment. In Scandinavian style, students and teachers work more informally at DTU than at universities elsewhere, with students learning to work individually and in groups, to participate actively and taking independent responsibility for their education. This also makes mobility more important than usual.
The center wanted to upgrade to an integrated communication system using powerful technology that would enhance their student experience, increase efficiency and drive profits. It was also seen as vital for DTU to maintain its status as an educational pioneer by having the most advanced communication capabilities both internally and externally. To meet these challenges, NEC installed an SIP communications server with fully integrated components from partners Polycom and Miralix. Miralix InShare makes the DTU contact directory automatically available to mobile clients, enabling users to search for colleagues, see their phone status before calling them or transferring calls. Users can select when they are at work and available for calls and when they are off duty and only want private calls. And mobile calling costs are reduced while traveling abroad since calls are established through the PBX at DTU.
The Miralix OfficeOperator displays calendar appointments, contact info & mobile- and desk-phone status. Phone messages can be transferred together with email address, customer name & phone number, date/time & additional text.
Miralix IVR (Interactive Voice Response) is used to route incoming calls at DTU. This flexible and easy to use system also allows staff to activate special menus for public holidays, vacations and special events. NEC's solution enables better service for students and visitors, provides more work flexibility and mobility for staff, and uses cutting-edge technology to improve system management efficiency.
John H. Lauersen, Technical University of Denmark Telephony Manager, comments on his experience working with NEC: “We value being notified about new techniques and development of the market — this enables us to modify and adapt our solution in line with the development. The right solution was offered at the right time and we have not had any regrets.”