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School’s Out. But Phone Systems go to Summer School

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Summer break is that glorious end to a long school year. It’s a time for beach parties, blockbuster movies and leisure reading. Unless you are part of the school administration. Then the busy season is just beginning.

In fact, this is that part of the year where educational institutions take a close look at IT and their communications infrastructures. The summer ‘downtime’ is ideal for optimizing technologies and adding beneficial new features. For the communications system, school districts, colleges and universities should consider improvements for three key areas:

Safety First

Ensuring a safe learning environment has become a top priority for many educational institutions. Proactive communication capabilities are essential to keep the student body and faculty safe and aware of potential dangers.

  • Simplify how individuals report emergencies. Making it as easy as possible to seek help and alert authorities to crisis situations helps increase campus security. For example, meeting Enhanced 911 or E911 standards enable police departments to instantly identify the location of a caller to increase response times.
  • Simplify alerting and how the school communicates safety instructions. If a crisis situation occurs, schools need to inform everyone on campus of the situation and provide guidance to help them stay safe. Alerting systems should be flexible to avoid over-notification and offer the ability to act quickly on critical “code-red” emergencies, but also provide less pressing “code-blue” alerts.

Future-Proof with the Cloud

Summer is a great time to look ahead not only for the coming school year, but further into the future. Cloud communications can break the upgrade cycle and ensure continuous deliver of the latest features to essentially future-proof the solution. The fact that it can also reduce costs is an added bonus. 

  • Cloud systems, such as the ShoreTel Sky platform, deliver Unified Communications features as a hosted service, with pay-per-use pricing. This greatly reduces overhead and maintenance costs.
  • Hybrid cloud allows an institution to take advantage of cloud delivery and cost benefits while still leveraging its existing systems investment. This is an attractive option for institutions looking to migrate to the cloud over time.

Education Expertise

Unified Communications is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s important to work with partners who understand the education market and have deep expertise delivering solutions that help schools succeed.

ShoreTel is a leader in the education market, helping hundreds of institutions from single schools to entire districts; independent colleges to multi-city universities improve their communications. College of William and Mary, for example, upgraded their phone system with ShoreTel and in the process modernized collaboration campus-wide. For Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy high school in Miami, ShoreTel delivered a solution that has improved productivity while helping to involve parents and family more into the education process.

As school administrators begin to evaluate their communications systems, they should remember these top priorities: How do I improve safety? How do I future-proof my system? Who’s the best partner to help me? If they make the right decision, they might even get to enjoy some of the summer.