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Illinois Wesleyan University Upgrades to Cloud Communications

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Illinois Wesleyan University Upgrades to Cloud Communications

September 26, 2014
By Casey Houser
Contributing Writer

Illinois Wesleyan University recently ran into a problem with its communication system: its vendor had discontinued the platform it was using, and the vendor did not have a cloud product available. Upon receiving word of the discontinuation, university officials knew they wanted to switch to a cloud product, but they also knew they had to switch vendors to make that a possibility.

A Mitel (News - Alert) news brief released this week states that Illinois Wesleyan soon selected Mitel to handle its necessary upgrade. Frontier Communications also help drive forward the project that would allow the university to have its own cloud-based communications system, and the report states that the switch only took two months to become fully operational. Linda Biehl, a telecommunications system specialist at Illinois Wesleyan University, provided a quote that further explains the university's prior situation and the selection of the two telecom companies.

"We faced a significant upgrade when our existing communications platform was discontinued by the vendor," Biehl said. "This provided an ideal opportunity to move communications to the cloud. When our existing vendor was unable to provide a suitable cloud solution we began a rigorous assessment of our options. Mitel was the clear choice, and with Frontier Communications we were able to deploy our cloud communications system campus-wide in record time."

The switch to the new cloud system was expected to take about six months, but the companies were able to get the entire system running in a third of the quoted time, and now the university has 875 cloud phones as well as 900 additional analog phones that will be able to operate in case of power failure. Overall, the switch will allow 1,050 faculty and staff and 1,900 students the ability to make calls using the new system.

An Ovum (News - Alert) study released late last year concluded that universities need to adopt cloud-based computing systems more readily. Cloud computing can lead to enhanced usage of constituent relationship management systems and learning management systems as universities begin to move more classes online and make their materials available through online portals.

Jon Brinton, EVP and GM of Cloud Services for Mitel, echoes this statement in the company announcement when he says that communications can help make universities more efficient and secure. The leverage of the cloud, he continues, can enhance campus life for all involved. This extends to both students and teachers, and the increased use of cloud systems may urge universities such as Illinois Wesleyan to have the courage to jump further into the cloud and begin to enhance their services in the ways Ovum suggests.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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