Unified Communications: An A+ for Schools

From retailers to manufacturers to emergency services providers, organizations across a variety of sectors are adopting phone systems with unified communications (UC) to reap the wealth of benefits the technology offers, including cost savings and increased worker productivity. In fact, the UC as a Service market is expected to balloon to $5.3 billion by 2018, according to a new report from Wainhouse Research.

Recently, UC has made inroads in educational environments as well. In many ways, schools are a natural fit for UC, as collaboration between students, teachers and parents is a cornerstone of a healthy learning atmosphere. A number of UC features can be useful in schools, including:

Instant Messaging/Chat

With chat functionality, students in a classroom—or even in different classrooms—can collaborate on projects without having to get up from their desks and possibly distract classmates. This feature is particularly useful when students are permitted to bring their own devices to school, as they can use them to communicate with other students without a third-party messaging system or additional cost to the school.

Presence

With the ability to see the status of other users on a system, students who forget a homework assignment or need a question answered could look to see if a teacher is available after school hours through chat or email. If the teacher needs privacy or is unavailable, he or she can use presence to indicate that to students as well.

Portable Extensions

Best-in-class UC-enabled phone systems allow users to take their extensions with them anywhere they go. So if an administrator or a parent needed to reach a teacher during a lunch break or after hours, an incoming call to the teacher’s extension would automatically be forwarded to a designated smartphone or laptop.

Web Conferencing

Whereas in the past, a child home sick from school was largely cut off from his or her class, today that student could participate in a classroom discussion via a conference call or videoconference.  A UC system with WebRTC-based videoconferencing would allow a teacher to generate a conference and simply send the student a link to click. The student would subsequently click the link and join the lesson or class discussion through his or her Web browser without having to download any plugin or application, thanks to the power of WebRTC.

Reduced Phone Bill

Software based PBX like 3CX Phone System can help drastically cut communications costs, which can be especially beneficial to the many schools that operate on a tight budget. The aforementioned UC features come standard with 3CX Phone System so schools won’t have to pay an extra dime to use them.  Additionally, schools can save with 3CX by:

  • Eliminating per-extension licensing fees
  • Reducing hardware maintenance and replacement costs
  • Cutting down on external telephony consultant expenses
  • Making free calls between school buildings in a district connected on a single system

UC features can be helpful to schools in other ways as well. For example, administrators can launch calls right from their desktops, making sure important mass notifications are sent to parents as in a timely manner. And although history is certainly an important subject for students to learn, using antiquated legacy telephony built on decades-old technology will only hold schools back. For your own education on how a software-based PBX like 3CX Phone System can benefit your district, download our white papers.

 

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  1. “UC features can be helpful to schools in other ways as well. For example, administrators can launch calls right from their desktops, making sure important mass notifications are sent to parents as in a timely manner.” How are these mass call notifications done exactly? I didn’t think 3CX had this feature?

    December 6, 2014 at 8:56 pm