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March 13, 2008

BlueNote Networks' SessionSuite Software Enhances Help Desk Support at Concordia University

By Anshu Shrivastava, TMCnet Contributing Editor


Concordia University has deployed BlueNote’s SessionSuite solution to add click-to-talk capabilities to its Web-based student portal and Help desk Web site, and also to create new Internet-based voice services—all with a single, extensible platform.
 
Located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Concordia University is spread across two campuses: Sir George Williams Campus in downtown Montreal and Loyola Campus in the residential West end of Montreal.
 
The two campuses are linked via fiber optics, and wireless LAN access is available both inside and around all of the 75 buildings on both campuses. Cisco (News - Alert) Unified Communications Manager is currently providing voice services to faculty, staff and selected students.
 
The University’s Instructional and Information Technology Services group (IITS) wanted to exploit its “extensive IP and wireless infrastructure” to offer voice services to students, faculty and staff.
 
In addition, the University was also looking to improve support for the user community while making better use of valuable IT help desk resources.
 
BlueNote’s SessionSuite product family integrates interactive communications with business applications and processes, built on open, modular software architecture. This architecture can be deployed alongside existing TDM PBX (News - Alert) and IP telephony systems without operational disruptions.
 
Explaining the reasons why the University selected SessionSuite, Andrew McAusland, associate vice president of IITS at Concordia, said in a case study, “In reviewing and selecting a communications services solution, we were focused on companies that understood our current needs, and that also had the vision to provide for our future growth.”
 
Concordia is using three products in the SessionSuite family: the SessionSuite SOA Edition platform, the SessionSuite WebCaller thin telephony client and the SessionSuite Desktop IP softphone client.
 
SessionSuite SOA Edition delivers Internet-facing IP telephony services to the Cisco Unified Communications (News - Alert) Manager infrastructure, while SessionSuite WebCaller adds interactive communications to the Web-based student portal directory, and also supplies click-to-talk and click-to-chat capabilities for the IT help desk Web site.
 
A Window-based softphone, SessionSuite Desktop enables students to use their laptop computers to make Internet-based phone calls.
 
Together, SessionSuite SOA Edition, SessionSuite WebCaller and SessionSuite Desktop provide IITS “everything needed to interoperate with and extend the capabilities of Concordia’s existing Cisco Unified Communications Manager infrastructure,” according to McAusland.
 
SessionSuite SOA Edition Business Communications Platform, which is the foundation of the SessionSuite solution, enables the university to add voice and video communications to Web sites, business processes and other software applications.
 
The case study noted that the platform’s ability to interface with other systems and services is what enabled Concordia to integrate SessionSuite SOA Edition with Cisco Unified Communications Manager.
 
Because WebCaller is designed for adding interactive communications to Web sites and browser-based applications, the IITS organization found it “easy to embed real-time voice communications directly into the student portal,” according to the case study.
 
Additionally, Concordia is also leveraging WebCaller to extend help desk support throughout the university community. By supporting both text and voice communications, and allowing the IT Help Desk agent to determine the preferred mode of communications, WebCaller has also helped increase IT help desk staff productivity.
 
McAusland pointed out that BlueNote’s SessionSuite solution has allowed the University to deploy interactive communications capabilities for faculty, staff, students and extended user community.
 
“This is made possible by using a single, flexible software platform that leverages our current infrastructure,” he added.
 
He also indicated that it has been easy for the IITS staff to integrate SessionSuite products into the university’s voice services infrastructure, and noted: “In less than a month, we were able to implement the click-to-talk feature—in plenty of time for a major roll-out at the beginning of the school year.”
 

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Migrating Your Messaging System, brought to you by Active Voice.

 
Anshu Shrivastava is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anshu’s articles, please visit her columnist page.



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