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February 13, 2013

Cloud-Based SIP Saves in More than One Way for the Educational Sector

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Maintaining on-site telecommunications equipment is no longer the smart way to do business, and analogue phone service is definitely becoming a technology of the past. Conversely, SIP services extend phone systems beyond just voice. The ability to carry multimedia, too, allows for video, chat and Internet presence to run side-by-side on the system, creating more robust communication in line with what users who own smartphones and tablets now expect.

SIP trunking also lets an organization eliminate its IP-PSTN gateways, BRI PRI subscription fees, cut the cost of long distance calls and move toward a single, IP-based network for both voice and data communications.

That in mind, a consortium of universities is rolling out session-initiation-protocol (SIP) cloud services for member institutions that want to upgrade their phone systems to the latest technology. Internet2, a member-owned technology community made up of 220 U.S. universities in addition to government and corporate partners, has just completed deployment of its hosted PBX and SIP trunking service.

The hosted PBX comes from Aastra (News - Alert) and the SIP trunking is provided by Level 3 Communications, according to a statement.

“This service comes at an opportune time for Tulane as our PBX (News - Alert) systems are nearing end of life,” Charlie McMahon, vice president of information technology and chief technology officer for the university, elaborated in the statement. “It also fits right in line with our rapid adoption of cloud services in many areas.”

Other early-adopter universities include Texas A&M University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the statement further noted.

“There will likely be several universities interested in getting in on the offer as early as possible, as there is a wide variety of benefits to be had from an SIP system,” noted industry commentator Steve Anderson in a recent related TMCnet report earlier this week. “Internet2’s NET (News - Alert)+ system alone, for example, not only offers the SIP trunking and hosted PBX services, but also a set of video services, middleware offerings and InCommon systems as well.”

With a hosted PBX, organizations also can save the hassle and expense of managing their own on-site PBX. Cloud-based PBX services offer users the chance to move the telephone network away from a capital expense that requires maintenance and monitoring, moving it toward a subscription service that is largely managed by the provider.

Added Anderson: “Internet2's new offerings will likely get a warm welcome from several universities interested in bringing the new service to their grounds. Cost savings, especially these days, are welcome just about anywhere they go, and universities will likely prove no exception.”

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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