UC: As Easy as A-B-C

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Pembina Trails School Division, located in Winnipeg, Canada, may not be the first place you'd expect to find a unified communications (UC) solution; but with five school buildings and the need for more than 1,700 phones, Pembina Trails wanted better connectivity than its proprietary phone system offered. The school district found Objectworld, an Ottawa, Ontario-based provider of UC, Voice over Internet Protocol, and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) solutions. A winner of several 2008 CompTIA awards -- including best software product -- Objectworld offered the district a next-generation communication solution.

Don Reece, Pembina Trails' director of information technology, says the district considered other vendors, but Objectworld's UC Server offered the most seamless integration with its in-house applications, Active Directory, and its Dell PowerConnect switches. Plus, there was only one license fee with Objectworld. Reece found that with competitive products, the organization would have to pay licensing fees for each additional communication feature -- namely, email and voicemail.

Reece says that Objectworld UC Server provided "the ability to use what we have and leverage the extended network. We were able to double the number of phones and still save money." Pembina Trails has added 975 phones since implementing UC Server two years ago. Every classroom in the district has a phone. Additionally, every staff member has log-in capabilities that access the UC server and collate voicemail and email messages.

Reece says a future goal is videoconferencing in the classroom. Messages will be heard -- and seen -- via projectors in every class, no matter the location of the school. The school will also look into SIP paging from Objectworld, which will automatically notify staff in any location of important alerts. But Objectworld already gets an
A from Pembina Trails. 

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