City of Redondo Beach

Topic : Team Efficiency
100-2,499 Employees

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Lean IT Department Handles Growing Demand for Reliable, High-Performance Network Infrastructure

Redondo Beach, California – The City of Redondo Beach is a laid-back, family-oriented beach town with a population of 67,000 and a reputation for strong schools and an appealing quality of life. While on the surface a relaxed Californian lifestyle characterizes the community, behind the scenes, the city’s IT department has been busy updating its network infrastructure to support the ‘do-more-with-less’ staffing model that many local governments and state agencies are turning to as a result of shrinking budgets.

“Our challenge in Redondo Beach is resources versus demand for services,” explains Chris Benson, Information Technology (IT) Director for the City of Redondo Beach. “Budgets are tight in the state of California, and we’re feeling the effects of cuts in staff and resources. But the demand for technology is steadily rising.”


“We have to figure out ways to keep up with the technology demands without additional staff.”

Chris Benson, IT Director, City of Redondo Beach

City of Redondo Beach

One strategy is the City’s recent Avaya data network upgrade, implemented by Black Box Network Services, that provides the reliability and bandwidth to meet the needs of the City of Redondo Beach today and into the future.

Meeting the Demand

The Redondo Beach data network covers three primary sites, including the city hall, police station, and library, as well as twelve smaller remote sites. It supports fourteen City departments, including public safety, public works, recreation & community services, human resources, financial services, and elected officials, each with its own distinct mission and function.

“Our end users are very tech savvy,” says Benson. “For just about everything they want to do, there’s a technology out there to help them do it better, and they want it.”

The consumerization of technology represents a significant challenge for IT departments such as Redondo Beach’s. “We have to do things that enable us to support all of this technology without having to be constantly ‘hands-on’ with it,” observes Benson.

Redondo Beach chose Avaya for its network solution based on its reputation for stability, the enabling capabilities of its Fabric Connect technology, and the ease of training staff to use network administration tools.

A Connected City

As part of the network upgrade project, the City also refreshed its Wi-Fi infrastructure, rolling out Wi-Fi to the local Performing Arts Center as well as other facilities.

“Mobility is everything now. We’re trying to meet that need in places like the Performing Arts Center,” says Benson.

“When people walk into a business, a conference or an event, wireless connectivity is an expected service.”

Chris Benson, IT Director, City of Redondo Beach

City of Redondo Beach

The City has plans to revitalize its harbor area. Benson fully anticipates the City Council will ask for Wi-Fi at locations in that area. With its previous aging wireless network, IT would have been hard-pressed supporting any type of expansion. Now, they are in the position to accommodate this and other future Wi-Fi needs.

Reliable Network and Public Safety

Public safety is the IT department’s largest ‘customer.’ Police department technologies that rely on the Avaya network include license plate recognition, mobile data computers (MDC) in vehicles, on-person video, connections to state and national databases, and the dispatch center supporting 911 calls.

“Our public safety users are relying on this network technology to support mission-critical applications. The more sound and stable a network infrastructure we can offer, the better service they can provide to the community,” says Benson. “We are able to provide them with reliable service and connectivity due to the robust nature and ongoing stability of the network we have in place. This means they don’t have to deal with sudden outages, extended downtime, sites unpredictably going up and down, or unreliable service.”

“The residents, business owners and visitors of Redondo Beach have significant expectations for excellent customer service from public safety, and the Avaya systems offer a robust and reliable network to provide that service.”

Joe Leonardi, Police Chief, City of Redondo Beach

Leonardi continues, “The Police and Fire Departments answer up to 100,000 calls for service each year. More than 95% of these calls are answered in six seconds or less. Many of these calls are routed by telephone providers to our business lines in addition to the 9-1-1 circuits.”

“It is essential,” Leonardi added, “that our Voice over IP telephone network is dependable and available 24/7 without interruption.”

“This recent major network upgrade involved the replacement of 43 switches, and two core routers,” comments Leonardi. “The IT Department advised us to anticipate telephone interruptions over a period of up to four hours. These conservative, worst case scenario estimates never occurred, and outages were reduced to 30 minutes or less. When systems don’t work properly, everyone knows the name of the product that causes the failure. Few officers would know what or who Avaya is — because it has not failed.”

Saving Time, Providing Better Service

“One of the biggest benefits we’re seeing from the Avaya network upgrade is time savings,” says Benson. “Our very lean IT staff now has more time to spend on other things because we’re spending considerably less time managing the network.”

For example, extending networks across multiple switch stacks or to a remote site is a fairly common occurrence for the Redondo IT team. Before the upgrade, this could have taken up to 1-2 hours, and it now takes less than 5 minutes.

City of Redondo Beach

“I recently had to extend a network out to a fire station for a video conferencing application. All I had to do was add the appropriate VLAN on that end and it was done,” recounts Benson. “Our users at remote sites receive the same level of service they would get here at City Hall, and it’s very easy for us to deliver that service.”

The City was able to start enjoying the benefits of its new network sooner than planned, as the deployment finished ahead of schedule. “We were able to complete more installs in a shorter period of time than originally anticipated. Everything went in very well. I attribute that to the great preparation that Black Box did before the deployment,” says Benson.

Video Surveillance

The City has begun planning a video surveillance deployment running on the new network. Phase 1 is focused on the police department building, the jail and the surrounding area. Eventually, it’s anticipated that video surveillance will be deployed in other areas to enhance public safety. Thanks to the robust capabilities of the Avaya network, every off-site location has the ability to support video cameras and transport feeds back to the City’s Data Center quickly.

The network will also be able to seamlessly support essential hosted solutions moving forward, for which Benson is already seeing demand for.

“With the new Avaya network, I am now in the position to support just about any application,” concludes Benson.

“I have the technology, the bandwidth and the performance to provide just about anything my customers are going to ask for.”

Chris Benson, IT Director, City of Redondo Beach

City of Redondo Beach
  • Headquarters:

  • United States

  • # Employees:

  • 434

Redondo Beach is a full-service city with its own police, fire and public works departments, two public libraries, a performing arts center, fifteen parks, a large recreational and commercial harbor including King Harbor, a 1,500-slip private craft port; the Redondo Beach Pier and Seaside Lagoon; and a bathing and surfing beach.

Located in the choice coastal edge of Los Angeles County, just twenty miles from downtown Los Angeles and seven miles south of Los Angeles International Airport, Redondo Beach has been a preferred resort destination for more than a century.

What our Customers are saying
“The residents, business owners and visitors of Redondo Beach have significant expectations for excellent customer service from public safety, and the Avaya systems offer a robust and reliable network to provide that service.”

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  • Joe Leonardi

  • City of Redondo Beach