This solution will integrate fixed and mobile voice, IP telephony, unified messaging (UM), e-mail, chat, video, web and audio conferencing, call center applications, presence and many other communication tools.
After a successful deployment of the Fiber Optic Infrastructure (Gigabit Capacity) covering every major part in the campus including the newly built School of Business and Management Technology (SBMT), the Management of the Polytechnic has embarked on IP network infrastructure upgrade by investing on gigabit technology through the partnering with NBTE & M8. The Staff of the Institution resides in a number of office buildings located within the same vicinity. Lately, the Management added some other new buildings (Evening/Weekend building, SBMT building, SEDT etc.) to the campus. This additional building houses a large number of staff. As such, rather than deploy a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) in the new buildings, we decided to deploy an IP Telephony Solution leveraging on the available Gigabit Optical Fiber connectivity.
The foundational components of the proposed solution are:
- Presence: The staff of the institution will have the ability to understand the state and availability of other users in the campus. Owing to the fact that consumer instant messaging (IM) is so popular today, deployment of presence will intertwine with the Polytechnic’s chat application currently running on the unified Call Manager. After its deployment, it will be associated not only with people, but also with devices or objects.
- IP telephony: The voice service deployed will eventually be embedded into virtually every of the Institution’s application, making IP telephony a critical technology for the Institution’s unified communication. Additionally, the Management will deploy IP telephony first and then use the cost savings from IP telephony to fund the rest of the unified communication implementation. Services such as: Caller ID, On-screen dialing and screen popping (seeing who is calling you when they call), Interactive Voice response, Home working and scripting, Voice synthesis, paging, and lots more.
- Network: Since most unified communication services are highly dependent on a rock-solid, secure network to build the services on top of, our focus is now on network infrastructure performance and upgrade.
- Voicemail: This has been a standard feature of telephony systems for years. The voicemail innovation will revolve around the ability to provide a single voicemail box that is accessible from multiple devices within and outside the campus.
- E-mail: E-mail is another well-adopted traditional unified communication application. As a step in a positive direction and in order to free up strained Server resources, we decided to partner with Google and Microsoft. We saw the switch to Google and Microsoft Apps as a great way of combining institutional system with technology that the staff and the new generation of students were most familiar with. We synchronized both systems with the Polytechnic’s directory and domain (fpno.edu.ng) and provide self-service functionality such as changing passwords and creating aliases. E-mail is a core unified communication
- application in the Institution today, although staff and students will begin to shift communications away from e-mail to the fpno community forums and chat, which will promote creativity and collaboration among them.
- Unified messaging: Staff of the Polytechnic will be able to converge e-mail, voicemail, faxes and other communications tools.
- Web conferencing: The use of Web Conferencing has skyrocketed over the past few years. The tool will be leveraged to share detailed information with a number of people in different geographic locations most especially the part-time programme students.
- Audio conferencing: Many organizations use audio conferencing service from a network service provider. However, companies that deploy audio conferencing solution integrated into the unified communication suite see payback in less than a year. FPNO has deployed Audio conferencing by integrating its already existing Office 365 from within its softphone – both on the web client as well as the native VoIP / SIP clients
- Videoconferencing: This technology has been thought of as a nice-to-have and not a need-to- have for years now in the institution. However, reductions in travel, an emphasis on finding new ways of working combined with improvements in both qualities of experience and ease of use will create new demand for videoconferencing. The deployed Softphone Web Client employs WebRTC technology to enable us organize video conference calls or webinars, so that your Staff & Students don’t have to download and install any additional software or plugins.
- Document-based collaboration: This is rapidly becoming the integration point for collaboration in the Institution. This feature will allow staff to collaborate and communicate with one another without having to leave the application. Staff will manage and share documents efficiently with this tool.
- Mobility: Mobile enablement is rapidly driving greater unified communication adoption. A robust mobile client will be used to bring feature parity, whether a staff is in or out of the office. Mobile workers now make up a handful percentage of the academic workforce, making mobile unified communication just as important as traditional unified communication. We are currently sourcing a very robust softphone.
- Social media: It will be intuitive and easy to use. This has typically been a tool used for Students to connect with one another. However, as rapid consumerization of the institution continues, we plan to utilize social media as part of our collaborative strategy, and we’ll look to integrating it into the institution’s larger corporate unified communication suite of products.
- Communications-enabled business process (CEBP): Over time, the plan is to hire more application developers to integrate unified communication functionality into academic applications, allowing the institution to redefine academic process around the communications tool. This will give rise to a number of communications-enabled academic processes.
We shall announce the NextGen FPNO after the successful deployment of these state-of-the-art Collaboration Systems.