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More Choices in Phone Systems

Mitel PhoneMitel and Cisco are WNYRIC's supported vendors

Today, a phone is more than just a tool to call the office or dial a parent. In light of this, districts have been asking for more options when it comes to their phone systems.

VoIP, or voice over internet protocol, phones have been supported by the Western New York Regional Information Center (WNYRIC) for the past decade, but changes at the vendor-level effectively removed one of the two options available.

“A phone system isn’t just a phone system anymore,” Dale Anderson, manager of VoIP services, explained. “From unified communications to 911 notifications, VoIP phones can have many bells and whistles. Cisco supports features from IP speakers that can replace public announcement (P.A.) systems to controlling door locks.”

Anderson and his team of three technicians handle the installation of hardware for 55 districts across Western New York.

For the past 10 years WNYRIC supported dual platforms – Cisco as well as Nortel/Avaya. Years ago, Nortel filed for bankruptcy and was bought by Avaya, but then Avaya also filed for bankruptcy.

“We haven’t had an Avaya install in approximately seven years. Recently, districts have been asking for a second viable option,” Anderson said.

Mitel has been used by districts in Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus and Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES for years. After its recent acquisition of ShoreTel, Mitel became another viable option as a second supported platform joining Cisco for WNYRIC.

“It was really good timing that we had two districts request Mitel installs over the summer as a pilot. They are both very happy with the results,” Anderson reported.

In a testimonial sent to WNYRIC, Daniele Vecchio, business official for Franklinville Central School District said, “The phone system has worked flawlessly from the end user perspective. … The system is relatively self-explanatory and has been a breeze to utilize. As with the start-up of any new system there were a few minor issues we had come up in the beginning, and RelComm (the installation dealer for Mitel) had the issues fixed within a few hours.”

A CoSer for Mitel VoIP phone installation and support has been created and approved by the WNYRIC’s Standards Committee. Districts are now aware of the new option and that shortly Nortel/Avaya will no longer be supported.

“Just over a handful of districts will need to change vendors by the June 30, 2020 end date of Nortel/Avaya.  We are working with them closely regarding their transition,” Anderson added.

For more information on VoIP services, our Service Directory.

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