Higher Cost Savings for Higher Education

By Julie Webb

Recently, I shared with you how Digium Switchvox was able to customize a proprietary telecom solution for Roxbury Preparatory, a charter grade school located in Boston, MA. Today, I would like to tell you how Switchvox helped an institute of higher education meet its unique requirements.

Colleges are always facing tight budgets and slow rollouts, but Switchvox helped Casper College in Casper, Wyoming transform its piecemeal legacy, analog system into a flexible VoIP solution complete with Unified Communications (UC). Casper College set expected cost savings at $300,000 to $400,000.

Only halfway through the implementation ― 350 of 600 phones set up, and they have already recorded cost savings of $493,000, resulting from switching out 100 Cisco phones with Digium D70 phones (which eliminated licensing agreements); and getting rid of mounting recurring costs tied to third-party maintenance agreements in support of the legacy equipment!

Casper College has 4,500 students, about 400 employees, and 600 telephones scattered across a 26-building campus. They were running a legacy Avaya enterprise system with a small piece of a Cisco Unified CallManager Express running parallel to it. In Digium’s first conversation with the president of the college, before asking a single question, he said, ‘Come here and look at this ― I have to hit seven buttons to reach the president of the Board of Directors! Can you do something about that?

Indeed we did! After building a Proof of Concept (with a fully operational pilot demo), which transcended the need for the usual Request for Proposal (RFP) process, Digium then seamlessly integrated what was for a while, three phone systems.

The Cisco CallManager Express talked to the legacy Avaya over a PRI, which is a digital link, with a PRI Gateway between the two older systems. Then they pulled SIP over to the Switchvox and used the Gateway’s routing functions to direct calls across that link to the appropriate system. Rather than paying for all the major network upgrades required by CallManager, they utilized a POE switch to avoid relying on a power source.

It was at the halfway point during extensive testing using the Switchvox pilot, that the school discovered the Cisco CallManager Express could never be scaled to provide service to all 600 users. In their words, “It was a no-brainer to retire the Cisco system.”  That’s when the cost savings skyrocketed!

Now, all of the integration is invisible to the user and it operates like one big system. Casper College is a huge advocate for commercialized open source technology after seeing how sustainable Switchvox is through customer support; and how customizable the system is, compared to big box competitors that do not have the same range of flexibility.

Seeing savings in the range of half a million dollars a year doesn’t hurt either!

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About the Author

Julie Webb

Julie Webb is the Marketing Communications (MARCOM) Director at Digium. She joined the company in January 2005 after spending many years in the telecommunications industry. Julie and her team are responsible for corporate branding and events, most notably AstriCon.

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