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Extending  Higher  Education’s  Reach  and  Impact  
 

-­‐  through  “unified  communications”  (UC)  

Contact: Steve Lynott,


1901Group, LLC
steve.lynott@1901group.com

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Extending  Higher  Education’s  Reach  and  Impact  Through  Unified  Communications  

Introduction
 
Higher  Education  Institutions,  as  well  as  other  organizations,  are  in  the  midst  of  a  
communications  revolution  forcing  them  to  expand  their  investments  in  the  areas  of  
collaboration  at  an  accelerated  pace…  Similarly  to  the  early  days  of  the  industrial  revolution,  
education  is  in  the  midst  of  substantial  change  –  new  business  models,  new  technologies,  and  a  
continuous  stream  of  innovation  impact  the  faculty,  the  students,  the  administration,  alumni,  
and  the  local  community.  For  example,  email  –  a  revolution  in  itself  25  years  ago  -­‐  is  now  being  
supplanted  by  texting,  chat,  and  social  media.  Cell  phones  are  only  used  45%  of  the  time  for  
voice,  and  video  traffic  in  communications  is  projected  to  grow  by  40x  over  the  next  four  years.    
 
As  a  result  of  this  revolution,  students  have  come  to  expect  a  new  college  experience  that  is  
heavily  online.  In  addition  to  the  traditions  of  great  classes,  sports  and  food,  they  don’t  even  
think  to  ask  if  a  school  will  have  one  on  one  conferencing  with  advisors,  collaboration  in  study  
groups  and  clubs,  instant  messaging,  rich  media  support  and  boundless  amounts  of  bandwidth  –  
they  just  assume  this  is  part  of  the  college  experience.  In  addition,  academic  research  is  more  a  
“virtual  research  lab”  than  purely  campus  centric.  Virtual  collaboration  among  engineers  from  
industry,  academics,  and  policy  makers  is  critically  important  in  so  many  dimensions  of  research  
and  development  (R&D),  as  they  work  together  on  new  research  in  energy,  materials,  robotics,  
health  care  and  bio-­‐informatics.  The  field  of  research  will  continue  to  be  defined  more  by  the  
speed  to  connect  and  the  efficiency  of  collaboration  than  by  work  performed  by  individuals  
alone.  
 
Today’s  college  experience  has  teams  as  the  norm  for  schoolwork:  on-­‐line  tutors  and  on-­‐line  
parents  helping  with  various  stages  of  projects  or  homework  augment  professors.  Classmates  
are  in  constant  connection  with  each  
other  and  reaching  out  to  other  teams  
and  resources.  Administrators  working  
across  functional  boundaries  and  
leveraging  partners  for  a  great  deal  of  
the  operations  also  require  flexibility  in  
communications  and  collaboration.    
 
The  term  “Unified  Communications”  
(UC)  is  widely  used  today  as  an  umbrella  
for  the  collection  of  voice,  video,  and  
data  communication  tools.    UC  is  also  
used  as  a  term  for  describing  the    
Figure  1  –  CDW-­‐G's  -­‐  2010  UC  Tracking  Poll   designing,  integrating,  and  managing  of  
enterprise-­‐wide  communications  at  
multiple  levels.    UC  is  supplanting  
traditional  voice  communications  by  incorporating  all  the  means  for  making  connections,  
facilitating  collaboration  and  improving  communications.  As  a  proof  point,  CDW’s  recent  polling  
of  a  broad  range  of  organizations  shows  a  great  deal  of  interest,  specifically  in  the  Higher  
Education  market  for  these  innovative  technologies  and  not  only  their  technical  capabilities  but  
also  the  potential  for  reducing  infrastructure  costs  for  the  Higher  Education  Institution.    
 

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Extending  Higher  Education’s  Reach  and  Impact  Through  Unified  Communications  

In  his  book,  America’s  Calling,  University  of  California  Press  1992,  author  Claude  Fisher  
(Professor  of  Sociology  at  Stanford)  conducted  a  sociological  study  of  the  impact  of  the  
Telephone  (and  automobile)  on  society.    One  story  from  this  book,  that  is  appropriate  today  
given  the  parallels  in  the  magnitude  of  changes  taking  place  then  and  now,  was  how  the  early  
marketing  executives  thought  about  the  application  of  the  telephone  and  how  they  thought  it  
would  be  used.  

As  Fisher  chronicles  in  his  book  -­‐  at  the  turn  of  the  century,  AT&T  was  convinced  that  males  in  
big  business  in  big  cities  would  be  the  dominant  early  adopters.    They  were  so  certain  that  they  
not  only  poured  the  majority  of  their  
marketing  budget  behind  this  strategy,  but  
they  also  set  out  to  make  it  difficult  for  
rural  subscribers  to  gain  access  as  they  
were  convinced  that  they  would  be  a  very  
expensive  segment  to  serve.  

As  it  turns  out,  in  the  first  40  years  of  the  
telephone,  the  dominant  users  were  
Farmers  (up  to  35%  of  the  market)  and  
housewives  calling  other  housewives  down  
the  street  to  talk.    What  AT&T  missed  was   Figure  2  -­‐  Source  -­‐  "America's  Calling",  University  of  California  Press,  1992,  Fisher  

the  critical  value  both  segments  found  in  the  


telephone  –  rural  farmers  stayed  connected  to  discuss  weather  and  prices,  while  housewives  
found  a  very  important  social  connection.  

Higher  Education  Institutions  face  the  same  dilemma  of  having  to  predict  future  utilization  of  
technology  when  deciding  on  how  to  design  and  implement  their  next  round  of  communications  
investments,  now  focused  on  “unified  communications”  (UC).  The  shear  speed  of  continuous  
technological  change  or  (to  use  a  sports  term)  “audibles”  has  lead  1901  Group  to  develop  a  
flexible  framework  for  delivering  unified  communications  services.  This  framework  enables  any  
institution  to  be  prudently  positioned      in  order  to  meet  today’s  UC  needs  while  also  being  
tactically  flexible  enough  to  effectively  respond  to  new  ideas,  new  innovations  and  their  
respective  new  students  who  have  been  raised  in  a  world  of  fluid,  adaptive  communications.  
Our  service  delivery  framework  provides  a  structured  approach  for  connections,  collaboration,  
24/7  support  and  on-­‐demand  services,  a  unique  staffing  model  and  the  most  flexible  approach  
to  meeting  an  institution’s  UC  needs.  Needs  that  are  necessary  to  satisfy  their  new  students,  
new  staff,  and  even  new  faculty,  all  of  whom  have  come  to  expect  these  communications  
capabilities  this  in  their  homes,  schools,  and  social  interactions  with  friends  and  family.    
 
The  Higher  Education  market  –  like  others  –  is  changing  in  fundamental  ways  that  are  difficult  to  
predict  ten  or  even  five  years  out,  and  as  a  result  we  believe  that  agility  in  service  delivery,  
flexibility  in  cost  and  turnaround  times,  and  the  reliability  of  the  service  is  now  paramount.    
 

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Extending  Higher  Education’s  Reach  and  Impact  Through  Unified  Communications  

What  is  Unified  Communications?  


 
Much  like  ‘cloud’  computing,  ‘client  server’  and  ‘ERP’,  there  are  
many  definitions  of  Unified  Communications  (UC).    Given  that  UC  
is  still  evolving,  the  industry  took  the  following  approach  to  
outlining  the  specific  categories  that  make  up  unified  
communications,  as  follows:    
 
 
• Voice  and  telephony  –  This  area  includes  fixed,  mobile  and  
soft  telephony,  as  well  as,  the  evolution  of  PBXs  and  Internet  
Protocol  (IP)-­‐PBXs.  This  also  includes  live  communications,  such  as  video  telephony.  
• Conferencing  –  This  area  includes  separate  voice,  videoconferencing  and  Web  conferencing  
capabilities,  as  well  as,  converged  unified  conferencing  capabilities.  
• Messaging  –  This  area  includes  e-­‐mail,  voice  mail  and  unified  messaging  in  various  forms.  
• Presence  and  Instant  Messaging  (IM)  –  These  will  play  an  increasingly  central  role  in  the  
next  generation  of  communications.  Presence  services,  in  particular,  are  expanding  to  
enable  aggregation  and  publication  of  presence  and  location  information  from  and  to  
multiple  sources.  This  enhanced  functionality  is  sometimes  called  “rich  presence”.  
• Clients  –  Unified  clients  enable  access  to  multiple  communication  functions  from  a  
consistent  interface.  These  may  have  different  forms,  including  thick  desktop  clients,  thin-­‐
browser  clients  and  mobile  PDA  clients.  
• Communication  applications  –  Key  application  areas  include  consolidated  administration  
tools,  collaboration  applications,  contact  center  applications  and  notification  applications.  
 
 
In  essence,  unified  communications  delivers  today  the   “The  capability,  versatility  and  
elimination  of  boundaries  and  barriers  created  by  the   value  of  our  overall  network  will  
jump  very  quickly  because  there’s  
Internet,  broadband,  and  mobile  technologies  which  will  
little  additional  physical  
continue  to  drive  demand  for  expanded  services  for  
infrastructure  we  will  have  to  
connection  and  communication.  For  example:  Teachers   manage.  We’re  optimistic  this  
reaching  out  to  more  students,  field  officers  connecting  in   innovative,  fully  managed  
battle,  business  teams  reaching  across  geography,   approach  will  allow  us  to  deliver  
organization  and  teaming  partners,  banks  leveraging   better  voice  and  data  to  and  from  
experts  across  their  branches;  and  much  more.   our  classrooms,  laboratories  and  
  dormitories.”    

-­‐    A  University  CTO  

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Expanded  Services  
 
Like  many  technologies  Unified  Communications  (UC)  offers  Higher  Education  a  wide  spectrum  
of  opportunities  for  improving  productivity,  recognizing  efficiencies  and  reducing  costs.    
However,  UC  also  offers  great  potential  in  enabling  institutions  to  create  a  whole  new  set  of  
service  offerings  from  simplifying  connections  to  local  vendors,  to  building  a  regional  or  national  
on-­‐line  collaboratoryi  –  connecting  researchers  across  the  country.    Following  are      vignettes  
describing  just  a  few  examples  of  the  possibilities  created  by  adopting  our  adaptive  service  
delivery  framework  for  Unified  Communications.      
 
Virtual  Office  Hours  
 
A  PC  based  UC  service  that  allows  Faculty  to  inform  Students  of  time  available  for  discussions  
and  guidance.  The  Faculty  can  list  times  available  and  allow  students  to  sign  up  for  specific  
online  voice  and  video  communications.  

 
 
Quote  on  Virtual  Office  Hours:  “Being  able  to  offer  my  students  time  when  I  am  away  from  my  
University  office  would  allow  me  to  give  them  more  of  my  energy  and  in  a  manner  which  also  
helps  me  balance  time  at  school  and  at  home.  I  would  pay  more  for  this  kind  of  service”.  Virginia  
Tech  Professor  of  Engineering  
 

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Virtual  Teachers  Assistant  (TA)  


 
 A  PC  based  UC  service  that  allows  part-­‐time  TA’s  to  inform  Students  of  time  available  for  
discussions  and  guidance.  The  TA  can  list  times  available  and  allow  students  to  sign  up  for  
specific  online  voice  and  video  communications.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Quote  on  Virtual  TA:  “My  schedule  is  so  jumbled  having  to  balance  work,  school,  and  life.  I’d  
really  like  to  be  able  to  chat  with  my  class  when  it  is  convenient  for  me  and  convenient  for  
them.  Sometimes  an  hour  or  two  opens  up  for  me  later  at  night  and  that  often  work  for  my  
students  too”.    -­‐  Teacher’s  Assistant  (part-­‐time)  
 
 
 
Virtual  Advisory  –  a  mobility  based  capability  designed  for  the  mobile  device  that  leverages  an  
Advisor’s  UC  presence  status  and  connects  him/her  via  voice  whether  on  an  office  line,  cell  
phone  or  transitioning  from  one  to  the  other.  
 
Quote  for  the  Virtual  Advisor:  “I  sometimes  get  upset  when  I  cannot  reach  my  advisor.  I  would  
really  appreciate  being  able  to  see  if  he  was  busy  or  free.  It  would  be  great  if  my  phone  gave  me  
some  sort  of  status  so  I  could  call  or  text  him  when  his  schedule  opens  up.”  -­‐    Student  
 

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Virtual  Research  
 
Leveraging  the  industry’s  lead  UC  technology,  Virtual  Research  is  the  next  generation  of  
collaboration  technology  comprised  of  an  integrated  online:  i)  Content  and  Document  
Management;  ii)  UC  of  Voice/Video/Data,  iii)  Open  Standards  &  API’s  to  integrate  business  
systems,  and  iv)  social  networking.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Quote  for  the  Virtual  Research:  “My  subject  area  has  me  working  routinely  with  peers  in  
California,  so  having  the  ability  to  collaborate  online  at  a  reasonable  cost  would  be  a  win:win  for  
us  all.”  -­‐    Senior  Faculty  
 
 
 
 
Summary  
We  are  at  an  unprecedented  time  of  change  in  the  history  of  education;  the  phrase  'Education  
Innovation'  produces  over  500,000  hits  in  Google  search  in  comparison  to  180,000  for  'Energy  
Innovation'.  Unified  Communications  is  the  platform  to  help  Institutions  connect  the  dots  
(faculty,  students,  administrators,  partners  and  the  community),  deliver  new  services  and  
extend  the  reach  and  range  of  their  increasingly  important  virtual  learning  programs.  
 

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About  1901Group  
 
We  are  a  next  generation  information  technology  service  management  (ITSM)  company.  Our  
engineers  are  experts  in  the  design  and  integration  of  all  dimensions  of  Unified  
Communications,  in  the  form  of  Voice  over  IP,  Messaging,  Conferencing,  as  well  as  others.    We  
provide  the  lowest  price  performance  on  the  market  as  we  employ  a  rural  sourcing  model  built  
on  structured,  repeatable  processes  and  methods  similar  to  what  the  manufacturing  industry  
has  been  doing  for  100  years  (we  refer  to  our  IT  operations  center  as  our  “IT  Factory”).      

1901Group  has  led  the  way  in  terms  of  helping  Higher  Education  design  and  integrate  robust  UC  
solutions.    Higher  Education  is  one  of  our  early  adopters  of  the  1901  Group’s  Adaptive  Service  
Delivery  Framework  (ASDF)  –  which  we  attribute  to  the  very  nature  of  the  business:  connecting  
people  in  meaningful  ways  to  advance  learning  excellence.  In  fact,  our  first  “IT  Factory”  or  
operations  center  is  located  on  a  University’s  Corporate    Research  Center,  and  a  critical  
component  of  our  employee  recruiting  and  retention  rests  on  leveraging  the  human  capital  
talent  surrounding  institutions  of  higher  education.      

Organizations  are  typically  in  one  of  three  phases  in  relation  to  their  posture  on  Unified  
Communications:  “Traditional  Communications”  using  PBX  systems  in  connection  with  disparate  
tools  for  collaboration,  email,  voicemail,  and  conferencing,  “Basic  IP  Telephony  (IPT)”  with  much  
of  their  traditional  voice  and  messaging  being  deployed  through  Voice  of  Internet  Protocol  
(VoIP),  or  the  early  stages  of  “Unified  Communications”  where  institutions  have  incorporated  
voice,  messaging,  email  /  vmail,  conferencing  and  collaboration  tools  as  coordinated  part  of  a  
comprehensive  communications  platform.  
 
The  chart  below  details  some  of  the  challenges  at  each  stage  of  maturity  and  how  1901  Group  is  
helping  Institutions  with  moving  to  the  next  level.    
 
Traditional  Voice   Basic  IPT   Investigating  UC   Deploying  UC  
 
Cost  of  equipment,   Voice  over  IP  has   • Understanding  the   • Staffing  is  
maintenance  and   provided  great  cost   breadth  of  options   expensive  
upgrades.    Inability  to   advantages,  but  it  is   • Designing  a  more   • Software  tools  are  
support  the  Universities   not  fully  integrated   robust  platform  is   expensive  
expanding  virtual  teams,   into  enterprise  email,   expensive  and   • Too  much  demand  
Challenges  

programs  and   vmail,  conferencing   confusing   with  tool  little  


stakeholders   and  support  costs  are   • Identifying  the   resource  
increasing   appropriate  tools    
•  
 
• Unified  Communication  design    
• Unified  Communications  implementation  planning  
1901  Group  

• Unified  Communications  managed  services  –  24/7  provisioning  and  monitoring  


• Unified  Communications  –  dashboard  and  reports  to  measure  economic  impact,  process  
Services  

improvements,  performance  and  capacity  and  security  


 

 
                                                                                                               
i  The  term  “collaborator”  was  used  by  IBM  to  describe  their  pursuit  of  a  global  R&D  partnership.  

   ©  All  Rights  Reserved  -­‐  1901Group,  LLC  –  Market  Innovators  in  Unified  Communications   8