-'Easy as a phone call' IP Video delivers 175 courses to 4800 remote
students and supports desktop collaboration between students and faculty
- Single, web-based user interface will distribute emergency alerts to
campus and cell phones, email, outdoor displays, campus cable system and
- Voice, video, instant messaging, presence and mobility delivered through
Avaya Communication Manager help university equip a 21st century workforce
BASKING RIDGE, N.J., Oct. 22 /CNW/ -- Western Kentucky University (WKU)
is on a fast-track for growth, with a 20 percent increase in its student body
over the last four years alone. Supporting that uptick is a new converged
voice, data and video network that delivers distance-learning courses to small
rural communities located far from the university's main campus in Bowling
Based on intelligent communications applications from Avaya (NYSE: AV), a
leading global provider of business communications applications, systems and
services, the new network enables a broad range of unified communications
capabilities - from emergency notification to diverse endpoints that can reach
students and staffers at a moment's notice to productivity and mobility
applications that can help WKU team members work more efficiently.
At the heart of the new network is Avaya Communication Manager IP
telephony software, a highly reliable application that enables a common
university-wide dial plan and provides a central foundation for telephony,
videoconferencing, mobility, emergency notification and other communication-
"We didn't want isolated 'islands' of solutions," said Edwin Craft,
director of telecommunications, Western Kentucky University. "Instead we
wanted one communication platform that could be centrally administered and
supported, with features we could distribute to our remote campuses across the
state and access easily through a variety of devices."
Videoconferencing in the Classroom and at the Desktop
An early advocate of distance learning to reach students in more rural
communities, WKU's use of interactive video conferencing took a giant leap
with the adoption of an IP-based Avaya Video Telephony Solution. The new
system is a more cost-effective, easy-to-use approach that integrates Polycom
multipoint high-definition solutions with the Avaya Communication Manager IP
Telephony network to serve regional campuses in Owensboro, Glasgow and
"Since we can easily send classes out to remote areas, students who never
would have been able to attend the university now can do so," Craft said.
In the distance learning classrooms, plasma screens, high definition
cameras and microphones display images of the instructor and students, share
PowerPoint files or video and capture discussion. When the Owensboro campus
lost power during a storm, the instructor in Bowling Green simply recorded the
class for later viewing. Students received an email notice with a link to the
recorded video file.
Software updates and administration are handled centrally over the
network, eliminating travel to remote sites. Real-time troubleshooting is
managed by help desk agents who can log in and take control of the room
In addition to large classroom configurations, the Avaya Video Telephony
Solution supports desktop videoconferencing that enriches communication among
students, faculty and staff. Equipped with a PC-based Avaya Softphone
application and a Webcam, a video conference becomes as easy as making a phone
call: A user simply inputs a number or clicks on a contact name to launch a
call, and then clicks 'yes' when prompted to add video.
"By adding interactive video to a call, you communicate more fully,"
Craft said. "You not only hear the inflection in a person's voice, but you
see their expression. That means faculty members working with students at
remote campuses can communicate just as if the student were in their office."
Flexible Options for Crisis Communications
The Avaya network is enabling WKU to take a multi-pronged approach to
crisis communications. The university installed new phones in classrooms and
dormitories, primarily to support campus security. In the event of an
emergency, built-in e911 capabilities in the Avaya Communication Manager
software make it possible for authorities to pinpoint the precise location of
someone calling for help, regardless of the caller's location on the network.
With the addition of new emergency notification capabilities in the near
future, the university will be able to quickly reach students, faculty and
staff with broadly distributed, but targeted outbound messages. Using an
Avaya-compatible event notification server from DCC (Dialogic Communications
Corp.), a PlantCML company, WKU will be able to use a simple Web interface to
record messages and send them simultaneously to outdoor digital signs and
warning systems, campus phones and cell phones, email, indoor paging systems
and displays, and campus cable systems. Warnings can be generated and
delivered organization-wide in a matter of minutes.
New Productivity and Mobility Features
The secure, enterprise-class instant messaging and "presence"
capabilities enabled by Avaya Communication Manager are helping the WKU team
operate more productively.
"Rather than being caught in phone and voicemail tag, I can see when
someone is at their desk and available for a call," Craft said. "I can
determine whether it is best to send an email message, try their cell phone or
send a quick instant message."
Staff and faculty members are able to use Avaya Extension to Cellular and
Avaya one-X(TM) Mobile to have calls made to their desk phone ring on their
cell phone as well - enabling them to be reached through a single number and
to use a single voicemail inbox, whether they are in the office or away.
"With our new communications applications, we now can deliver the same
teaching, learning and working experience for all our people, regardless of
where they are based or where they travel," Craft said.
Both Polycom and DCC are members of the Avaya DevConnect program, an
initiative to promote the development and compliance-testing of innovative
products that are compatible with standards-based Avaya solutions.
Read the full Western Kentucky University case study at:
Avaya delivers Intelligent Communications solutions that help companies
transform their businesses to achieve marketplace advantage. More than 1
million businesses worldwide, including more than 90 percent of the FORTUNE
500(R), use Avaya solutions for IP Telephony, Unified Communications, Contact
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information on the Avaya DeveloperConnection program, visit
About Western Kentucky University
Western Kentucky University, with more than 19,000 students on seven
campuses, is centered in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Employing nearly 1,300
staff, and 726 faculty members, the university prepares students from 70
countries to be productive, engaged leaders in a global society. Among the
fastest growing of its peer institutions, Western Kentucky University offers
rigorous academic programs encompassing education, the liberal arts and
sciences, business, and traditional and emerging professional programs at the
associate, baccalaureate and graduate levels. For more information, visit
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