Swing and a Hit: Hosted iPBX Does a Triple Header at Cactus League Ballpark

Getting Vertical

Swing and a Hit: Hosted iPBX Does a Triple Header at Cactus League Ballpark

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  March 01, 2012

This article originally appeared in the March issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine

It’s springtime, and in Arizona springtime brings the boys of summer.

That means things are pretty busy this month over at Salt River Fields, the new Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies. This beautiful new facility on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in Scottsdale includes an 11,000-seat stadium, separate training facilities and clubhouses for each team, 12 practice fields, and various concessions areas. The $100 million complex, which opened just one year ago, also offers spectacular mountain views, a plentiful supply of sunny days, and a state-of-the-art spectator experience.

The facility’s communications solution is also state of the art. Because the ball teams are here for just a small part of the year, Salt River Fields, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Colorado Rockies were looking for the utmost in flexibility and cost efficiency both in terms of pricing and in the ability to move and configure phones. They found that in a hosted VoIP solution provided by Saddleback Communications and powered by Metaswitch.

The solution, called BusinessFlex Hosted iPBX, integrates local telephone service, IP business phones (from Aastra (News - Alert)), and high-speed Internet. Based on the MetaSphere Call Feature Server, Saddleback’s hosted solution provides multi-tenancy; allows each user to administer individual voice mail, call routing options, and the like; and includes the Metaswitch CommPortal, which enables customers to do their own adds, moves and changes.

“We’ve been impressed with the flexibility of the system,” says Dave Dunne, general manager of Salt River Fields. ”IP phones that were initially installed in our construction trailer were seamlessly moved to the permanent offices, and we quickly added phones in a temporary sales office to support retail ticket sales during the holiday season.”

Steven Obee, director of sales and service for Saddleback Communications, adds that kind of flexibility in moving phones, and turning service up and down as needed, is also important given the seasonal variation is usage. There are 250 stations in service between the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Colorado Rockies and Salt River Fields during Spring Training season, which runs from mid February through the end of March or early April, but that will go down to less than 50 seats in the off season. Flexibility is also key given Salt River Fields, the primary customer in this deployment, leverages its multiple-use venue for other events (such as a balloon festival, a food truck festival, and celebrity sports events) during the year. The hosted VoIP solution enables it to alter service quickly and affordably as needed for each of these events.

Salt River Fields has approximately 220 phones, ranging from the Aastra 6731i for general business use to full-featured Aastra 6757i models, and color touch-screen Aastra 6739i executive phones. The hosted iPBX that provides connectivity and some feature functionality to those phones is sold on a per-seat subscription basis. In fact, Obee adds, Saddleback created a seasonable per seat pricing plan, which is lower cost during the off season.

And because Salt River Fields and the ball clubs went with a hosted iPBX solutions vs. a premises-based system, there was no upfront capital expense required, and they don’t have to deal with the hassles and costs of maintaining an on-premises solution, Obee notes.

Edited by Jennifer Russell


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