Blue Springs School District Graduates to Smarter Campus with Avaya

Blue Springs School District School has a big population to serve: 1,000 teachers, 2,000 staff members and 14,700 students across 22 elementary, middle and high schools located on the edge of Kansas City, MO.

Looking to consolidate its distributed computing environment to simplify management, reduce capital expenditures and cut power costs, the district decided to upgrade its Avaya network backbone and standardize on a Nutanix hyper-converged environment. The challenges this new system addressed:

  • Consolidating into a centralized data center with resulting reduction in IT workload and power consumption savings. The IT team was stretched thin operating, 144 servers over 23 locations.
  • Providing IT resources for standardized testing. For the first year, students in grades 3-11 – not just high school students – would be taking their standardized exams online. The testing provider sent its list of requirements, which included a test site management server for every 150 machines in any district, to ensure the testing load could be handled. The Blue Springs School District has more than 10,000 computers, and had no desire to set up 30 to 40 TSMs.

Centralizing the data center meant choosing appliances that would not only save the district money but would be easier to manage. Nutanix appliances were installed within less than a week on the Avaya core network. Blue Springs School District didn’t seriously consider using any other providers for its infrastructure.  Some of the benefits of consolidating the data center include:

  • Decreased time and personnel to manage servers and near-instantaneous VM deployment.
  • Sharply reduced electrical bill by some $100,000 on an annualized basis through the consolidation of infrastructure footprint.
  • Ability to handle standardized testing workload with a single test site management server for the entire district through new solution running on the Avaya backbone.

“We could bring all the data and services back to one centralized location,” said Tim Jones, director of IT, Blue Springs School District. “Now we’re managing one, not 21, data centers. Our Avaya backbone was one of the reasons to go to a centralized datacenter model. I knew we had a backbone that could handle it. We felt very confident we weren’t going to have any issues as far as connectivity. If I were talking to another school district to look at virtualization to handle common core testing and the traditional school load, I would feel absolutely comfortable recommending Avaya and Nutanix.”

Nutanix has been validated by Avaya for the 1,000-user Avaya call center solution and Avaya has received Nutanix Ready for the Avaya product lines demonstrating solution interoperability and compatibility between the Nutanix and Avaya solutions.

Click here to read the full case study from Avaya.

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Summer at Avaya through the Eyes of Interns

Summer in the U.S. is winding down. In stores, aisles of beach accessories are quickly being replaced with school supplies and pumpkin-scented candles. We say goodbye to vacations, neighborhood barbecues and, at Avaya, we bid a fond farewell to the interns who have worked by our sides throughout the summer months.

Avaya’s internship program aims to hire the brightest university candidates and set them up to do meaningful work. We do our best to expose our interns to a full range of corporate scenarios and opportunities, resulting in hands-on work experience within a global enterprise.

This summer, interns around the globe have graced our Avaya offices. They’ve contributed to projects that have created revenue, solutions and products. Whether working independently or with colleagues, they’ve left their mark in our Avaya world. Before they pack up and head back to school, we asked three interns at our Santa Clara headquarters to share details about their Avaya experiences. Here they’ve shared their thoughts on Avaya technology, corporate work life and our culture.

Natasha Cougoule is a rising junior at University of California, Berkeley pursuing a B.A. in economics and a minor in Portuguese. While at Avaya, she interned under the marketing operations budget team.

Avaya Summer Interns, NatashaNatasha volunteered to work at Avaya Stadium, home of the San Jose Earthquakes.

My internship experience started before I even stepped in the office when I had my first interview using Avaya Scopia®, our video conferencing solution. The use of Avaya technology became a defining theme of my work in the company. While I spent my summer at our headquarters in Santa Clara, my supervisor worked remotely from Indiana. We regularly met “face-to-face” via Scopia and utilized the service’s presentational capacities to collaborate on projects.

This level of interaction with the technologies offered by Avaya, for both internal and external use, bolstered my experience as an intern on the marketing operations team. Although I didn’t personally have anything to do with building our newest products or presenting them to the market, I was able to follow their development and marketing through the budgets I helped manage.

Beyond the specific responsibilities of my internship, Avaya’s friendly, energetic corporate culture allowed me to engage personally with our Chief Marketing Office Morag Lucey and Chief Financial Officer Dave Vellequette (a fellow Golden Bear!), as well as many of other inspiring coworkers. Even though I gained valuable work experience—more than I could have ever anticipated—what I’ll cherish and remember most are the relationships that Avaya encouraged me to form with my coworkers. I’m so grateful to have spent my summer here at Avaya.

 

Josh Vellequette is entering his senior year at The Ohio State University studying marketing with a minor in music, media and enterprise. During his time at Avaya, Josh worked under the head of digital marketing.

Avaya Summer Interns, Josh and KielyJosh and fellow co-worker, Kiely, work the Zang Meet up table welcoming guests.

Avaya gave me an experience that will greatly benefit my future in the marketing industry, not only because of what I learned but because it was the perfect time to join the Avaya team. Avaya is a known leader in telecommunication solutions. Being at Avaya for the past few months allowed me to observe the adaptability of the company and the immense effort every single employee gave to position themselves as a hub for technological innovation. I was also able to assist with Zang, a newly launched cloud communications platform service, and learn how to build brand excitement by organizing a meet-up for potential customers.

I loved how I was able to take subjects I learned in the classroom and see their real-life application in the office. Topics discussed in my classes at Ohio State, such as market research and campaign planning, came to life while working under Avaya’s head of digital marketing. Those ideas and definitions that are taught in the classroom aren’t entirely useful unless you learn how to execute them, and Avaya provided the hands-on approach that’s necessary for this industry. Not only do I feel more confident in my marketing knowledge, but now I understand what it takes to be a part of a productive team. I will always be grateful for everything Avaya has taught me.

 

Mitchell Shapero is finishing his last semester at San Jose State University with a major in business administration management. During his experience, he interned under the marketing communications director.

Four Avaya Summer InternsFrom left to right—Mitch Shapero, Marissa Ohye, Kiely Pieper, Natasha Cougoule

Throughout the internship process at Avaya, I met many awesome people, learned a variety of new things and had fun experiences in the process. From demos to briefings, seeing first-hand Avaya technology at work and being a part of these experiences has been an unforgettable way to begin my professional career. I loved being a part of the corporate culture and seeing exactly how a large business operates. As a diverse and global company, I had the opportunity to meet many new people from different backgrounds. This real-world interaction is something you can’t replicate in a classroom. I want to thank all of the people with whom I worked for an unforgettable summer!

 

While it’s easy to list the benefits an internship affords a student, we rarely look at the positive impacts it has on the company. The fresh, new perspectives we gain by opening our doors to eager learners is impossible to replicate. Their openness to branch outside their comfort zones and take on any task that’s thrown their way is an inspiring way to work–truly a jack-of-all-trades attitude that we just love at Avaya. I’ve found that their spirits are contagious, uplifting myself and our fellow colleagues.

Natasha, Josh, Mitchell and all of our Avaya interns have excelled in their positions and have raised the bar for future classes. Goodbyes are never easy, and while we’re sad to see them go, we wish all these bright, rising stars the best of luck in their education and future endeavors.

 

Enabling Smart Vertical Solutions in a Smart Digital World

Watch as Jean “JT” Turgeon discusses the path Avaya is taking into the Smart Digital World and how the company enables digital transformation.

 

In his previous video, Turgeon introduced Avaya’s smart vertical solutions and now returns for a deeper dive. He also elaborates on the importance of the secure and automated end-to-end network infrastructure that Avaya provides, assuring viewers that there are “no other competitors that can do what Avaya can do today.”

Turgeon continues, “Avaya enables Digital Transformation at customer speed. The digitization of global enterprises is a reality in the marketplace and Avaya is delivering vertical solutions today that can help them transform.”

E-rate Modernization Brings New Opportunities in Wireless Networking

It’s that time of the year again. The leaves are changing colors, pumpkin-flavored everything is out, football is in full swing and E-Rate buying season is here. The E-rate Program, officially known as Universal Service Funding for Schools and Libraries, was created as a result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The program was established in part to get schools and libraries connected with voice services and the Internet.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made some major changes to the program that are expected to connect 10 million students a year to digital tools.

Traditionally, the E-rate program provided discounts on telecommunications and Internet access for K-12 schools and libraries based on the poverty level and urban or rural status of the populations they served. But more than half the budget went toward telephone services, email and other items, and there wasn’t much money left over for Wi-Fi after broadband requests were funded.

With the modernization of the 18-year-old program in July, E-rate will now phase out telecommunications discounts so it can focus on broadband and Wi-Fi starting in 2015.

Broadband service providers bring high-speed Internet access to schools through a number of transmission technologies including fiber and wireless. But if schools’ internal connections aren’t adequate, students won’t be able to access the high-speed Internet through their school’s wireless network.

Avaya has proven networking and wireless capabilities with Fabric Connect, WLAN 9100 and Identity Engines. These solutions can enable institutions to maximize their investments and provide high-performance Wi-Fi access to their classrooms.

Click here to learn more about schools that have deployed Avaya networking, E-rate guidelines, K-12 reference diagrams and E-rate-eligible products. More information is also available in our E-rate Resource Center.

Learn more about Avaya’s education solutions: www.avaya.com/edu