Last November, I was able to tour Providence Classical School and see the impact that Unified Communications (UC) is having on the world of education. Founded in 1996, Providence Classical School decided to move in 2013 into the historic district of downtown Huntsville, Alabama. As part of this transition, Providence was tasked with updating the phone system and infrastructure of the historic building they had chosen as their new campus.
At the time, the historic building was surviving on an early 1990s phone system comprised of complex infrastructure and only partially working cabling technology. Needless to say, this was not adequate for the school, so Providence began looking for a new phone system. Out of all the options, Providence Classical School found that Digium offered the right solution and guidance for their situation. They were able to move to a new UC solution before the new school year, and they continue to save money many years down the road.
This is not the first time a UC solution has been able to save a school money. In fact, cost savings are one of the biggest factors in schools adopting UC. Here are 3 ways that UC could reduce costs for your school’s phone system.
UC Can Integrate Multiple Technologies into One System
One way that UC can reduce phone system costs for your school is by integrating multiple technologies into a single system. Traditionally, schools have used an analog system for making and receiving phone calls and separate technologies for paging, ringing bells, and delivering intercom announcements.
It’s also not uncommon for schools to be located in several disconnected buildings and be forced to use multiple phone systems. Relying on separate systems often causes inefficiency and makes communicating with staff members across campus more difficult. Likewise, using multiple technologies becomes costly and can be a challenge to maintain.
Rather than rely on multiple technologies for phone calls, announcements, paging, and ringing bells, the right UC solution will allow you to do it all. Through the use of a VoIP network and IP phones, all these actions can be performed using one single UC system. As a result, UC can both connect your campus and save your budget.
SIP Trunking Can Drastically Reduce Costs
Unlike UC, legacy/digital phone systems typically operate using T1/PRI circuits which become more expensive as you increase the number of calls placed. SIP Trunking, on the other hand, allows you to operate using an internet connection instead of a traditional phone line. This results in virtually unlimited phone call capacity and significantly lower expenses. Through SIP trunking, you can reduce multiple phone lines into a single point of entry which majorly reduces charges for incoming lines and IT costs associated with the maintenance of those lines.
While replacing old circuits with SIP trunking offers a lot of savings, sometimes schools may not have the funds to make a full upgrade to a UC phone system yet. Despite this, these schools can still reap the benefits of SIP trunking using their analog phone system and equipment. With the help of VoIP gateways, a legacy phone system can be connected to the internet, reducing phone system costs by allowing VoIP service. However, it should be noted that SIP trunking combined with a complete UC solution will give you greater savings and more functionality in the long run.
Upgrading Legacy Phone Systems Saves More Over Time
Maintaining your current legacy phone system might sound like a cheaper alternative than upgrading to UC, but making the switch will actually save you more money in the long run. Phone companies and service providers are not motivated to support analog/legacy phone systems and because of that, replacement parts and service become more difficult and costly every year.
Not only does maintaining a legacy phone system become more challenging, but you also miss out on the greater functionality and improvements introduced by UC. For instance, UC solutions give your school the capability to perform standard functions like easily recording, parking, and transferring calls. But they also provide more advanced features like the capability to personalize call routing, integrate with Microsoft Outlook, send messages to parents, deliver intercom announcements, and much more. Additionally, teachers and administrators gain the ability to set their status and see everyone’s availability at a glance and go mobile with intuitive softphone app.
Plus, every Switchvox installation comes with all these features included, meaning you don’t pay for feature “packages” and you won’t have to pay for added functionality later on. Bottom line, if you are looking for a technology that is going to last, Unified Communications is the way to go.
If you enjoyed learning just a few of the ways UC can save your school money and would like to learn more, check out our Switchvox for Education guide here. Or if you’re ready for some more hands-on, pressure-free guidance, reach out to a solution specialist on our sales team.