Alcatel-Lucent helps Wolf Creek School District build VoIP-based "Learning Communities"
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today announced that Wolf Creek Public Schools in Alberta, Canada, has selected its flagship enterprise voice and data networking solutions to deliver the communications necessary to build learning communities linking teachers with parents and students. Wolf Creek has built a district-wide voice over IP (VoIP) system spanning its 32 sites serving 7,000 students and a staff of 900.
In 2004, Wolf Creek sought a long-term alliance vendor relationship and selected Alcatel-Lucent to build and grow a next-generation network that would leverage the Alberta SuperNet to support advanced applications such as pervasive/secure wireless access, videoconferencing and VoIP.
SuperNet is a high-speed, high-capacity broadband network with end-to-end QoS that links Alberta government offices, schools, health-care facilities and libraries, including approximately 4,200 connections in 429 communities.
The district increased school-home communications, facilitated staff collaboration and improved security throughout its campuses. The ability to use the SuperNet and to leverage existing classroom data cabling made VoIP a cost-effective way to put phones in every classroom and to provide wireless phones to mobile teachers.
“One of our major goals in Wolf Creek is to build our culture of live collaboration. Voice communications is an essential ingredient of that effort,” said Gary Spence, Assistant Superintendent with Wolf Creek Public Schools. “We wanted to build the model of what an enterprise-level voice system should look like in a school district. Acting as a true partner, Alcatel-Lucent made significant code changes to meet our need for special features.”
The district built its IP network using a range of OmniSwitch Ethernet switches, providing the bandwidth and security needed to serve students and faculty. Alcatel-Lucent’s OmniPCX Enterprise served as the VoIP solution and allowed the district to centralize its main voice switches at the district headquarters and extend remote call servers with back up circuits and resiliency at each school building.
The business results of the implementation have been dramatic - even with a four-fold increase in handsets, the district was able to reduce 127 voice trunk lines to two ISDN PRIs and 34 voice trunk lines. The district is able to route all internal calls across the SuperNet and use the telecom lines only for external calls. All internal long distance charges were eliminated and monthly line charges were reduced by a third.
“Reduced operating costs are a definite plus, but it is the dramatic increase in access and the unmatched ease-of-use of the Alcatel-Lucent system that are big advantages for our district, our staff, and ultimately our students,” Spence said.
“Wolf Creek is a bellwether implementation for Alcatel-Lucent because the administration started with a goal to use communications to improve how education is delivered,” said Tom Burns, Chief Operating Officer of Alcatel-Lucent’s Enterprise activities. “School districts are an important customer base to Alcatel-Lucent, and the savvy use of technology by Wolf Creek helps us to reinforce our leadership in this market.”
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