What’s the Big Deal About High Availability Unified Communications?

Lately we’re hearing more and more about employee mobility trends and continuously accessible unified communications systems, about high-availability servers and the importance of staying connected at all times. So why is it such a big deal? Well, for one thing, the world has evolved into one huge marketplace where everyone seems to be on the move, and having answers and information at our fingertips, 24/7, has become an absolute necessity – or else!

With the growing need for employees to be able to access their work and collaborate with co-workers wherever they are, and at any time, unified communications applications are now commonplace. In fact, UC has become such a primary business concern that 56 percent of enterprise organizations recently surveyed by IDG Enterprise plan to upgrade or install new UC solutions within the next year, and 66 percent of small and medium sized businesses are also actively planning for upcoming UC improvements.

What’s driving the increase in UC investments?

With the increasing mobility of workforces today and a growing number of remote workers, it’s not surprising that the IDG Enterprise survey also reveals that 43 percent of the organizations reported their UC improvements were driven by the need for improved collaboration between their employees. The ability to resolve issues quickly, to share information, the immediacy of creative brainstorming and collaborative problem solving; these are some of the benefits of these powerful communication tools.

Similarly, 33 percent of the companies specifically attributed the upcoming upgrading of their UC to their need for increased flexibility for onsite employees and for mobile personnel. Enabling their employees to work from anywhere, and at any time, and to access and know when a co-worker is available and be able to quickly connect, these capabilities have serious value to businesses across all industries.

One of the top motivators for improving their UC was evident in the 42 percent of organizations who plan to install or upgrade for reasons of increasing their overall productivity—gaining the efficiency that results from streamlined operations and the immediate information share between departments and personnel.

What is High Availability anyway?

What does high availability of your unified communications have to do with the success or failure of an organization? Why is it so critical? Well, let’s look at what this term actually means.

*Gary Audin states that in the world of IT, the term High Availability refers to “a system or component that is continuously operational for a long length of time.” To repeat, that means constantly working, without any breaks or downtime, providing unified communications that are “continuously operational.”

Usually the ability of an employee to effectively do their job requires them to access the system to submit or alter their work. If the user cannot access the system, then it is termed “unavailable.” This kind of downtime impairs productivity, and causes workflow inefficiency and lost revenue. It has become critical for the UC system of any sized organization to be immediately accessible, with no disturbances or interruptions, for optimal business continuity.

What are some risks of being without a High Availability UC solution?

Your unified communications is mission critical, and accessibility is the very lifeblood of a successful organization, however these investments can suffer outages if not on a high availability infrastructure.  Without reliable redundancy and back up, you risk your people and your customers being cut off from information, workers from the workflow, and everyone from collaboration with each other. The loss of UC, for even a few hours, can mean a substantial loss to an enterprise.

What kind of losses are we talking about here? When your infrastructure fails for any length of time, along with lost productivity that obviously impacts revenue, businesses suffer the sharp decreases in customer satisfaction levels, the number of business relationships and customers lost, a damaged reputation, and the high costs of recovering that reputation.

In fact, the Ponemon Institute reported some interesting 2016 average costs associated with system outages:

  • Business Disruption – $256,000
  • Lost Revenue – $209,000
  • End-User Productivity – $138,000
  • IT Productivity – $62,000
.@PonemonPrivacy reported some interesting 2016 average costs associated with system outages. Click To Tweet

In Conclusion

So what is the big deal about High Availability UC? It becomes evident that the risk of incurring some of the losses that accompany broken communications and business disruption can become a very big deal.  For Smart Enterprises, UC has become a major focus for their strategic budget planning because it is a very big part of the success of their organization, and a critical factor for future growth.

Question: Do you have a true High Availability infrastructure that provides 99.999% UC reliability and prevents these kind of business disruption losses?

To learn more, download our Smart Enterprise eBook called “Achieving High Availability in UC” by industry expert, Gary Audin. This eBook takes a comprehensive look at UC and the importance of system availability plus examines the key components needed to build and sustain a UC-enabled environment.

(*Gary Audin has more than 40+ years of experience in computer, communications and security consulting and implementation, and is a well-known author of over 1000 blogs, articles, podcasts, white papers and webinars. Our quote is from the “Achieving High Availability in UC” ebook.)

 

Free Ebook: Achieving High Availability in UC

Free Ebook:

Achieving High Availability in UC

This eBook by communications and security consultant Gary Audin, president of Delphi, Inc., takes a comprehensive look at UC and the importance of system availability. Also examined in-depth are the components needed to put together and sustain a UC-enabled communications environment.

Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Requires a Highly Available Lifeline

Why should we care about an airport phone system? In the world of Aircraft Rescue Firefighting (ARFF), the crash phone system is the most primary lifeline for mobilizing its First Responders to an emergency situation.

A crash phone system is used only in case of emergency alerts, for the deployment of response teams to a potential safety threat, or to an actionable emergency firefighting scene. The crash phone system is the critical first step in real-life situations where the key concern is survivability.

The Need for Speed

The Atlantic City International Airport crash phone was located in the control tower and accessed only by air traffic control personnel, operating on an old copper wire system. Rainy days sometimes affected the copper connections, and the sound could be scratchy and unclear.

To fully understand the importance of the crash phone system to an airport, you should first know that the FAA has a very tough “3-minute rule” for response time when they inspect every commercial airport in the USA. This means that one second after the crash call, the airport’s crash vehicles (carrying at least 3,000 gallons of water each) have less than 3 minutes to arrive at the target—that’s midway on their longest runway—suited up, ready for business , with water turrets visibly deployed!

The consequences of failure can get serious for airport operations. An airport can be fined by the FAA (recently as high as 3.5 million dollars) for non-compliance to federal safety regulations, and it can even lose its commercial certification and all future commercial revenue.
Since the FAA Technology Center is actually housed at the Atlantic City International Airport, this particular airport’s training and levels of compliance are especially scrutinized.

ARFF training maneuvers are a necessary and continuous part of airport life– not just for FAA inspections, but for the team’s daily emergency readiness. With this much at stake, a crash phone call—even during a training run, can never be unclear or unavailable.

“What is the nature of the emergency?” “Where is the aircraft?” “Number of souls on board?”

With so much depending on that phone call, it has to be reliable and crystal clear, every time.

#FAA has a very tough “3-minute rule” for response time when they inspect every commercial airport Click To Tweet

 

NEC’s Solution

Addressing these concerns, the Atlantic City International Airport had determined that its outdated, crash phone system was becoming increasingly unreliable, and they required more network flexibility, preferably with redundancy and back up deployment measures.

NEC’s Smart Enterprise solution, the Airport Emergency System, transformed this customer’s critical communications crash phone system with the simple installation of a high availability UNIVERGE  solution, moving it from weather-affected, trouble-prone and often “dirty” sounding copper wiring, onto their fiber optics network. Now the alert can be originated from multiple locations, putting the tower into immediate conversations with fire stations, airport operations, and other response personnel, and instantly bridges 2 to 32 stations together into a conference call. Their new system meets FAA requirements, is dependable (24/7), easy to use, and also cost efficient and easy to maintain, which had not been so with the old system.

 

Free eBook: Achieving Higher Availability in UC

The Back-Up Plan

The South Jersey Transportation Authority (SJTA) operates in a situation common for many airports. Strategically located within reach of surrounding municipalities, Atlantic City’s airport firefighters are responsible for both aircraft rescue/firefighting and responding to fire emergency alarms in the nearby communities.  ARFF teams are trained to handle aircraft, property and structural firefighting, and even EMT calls—however, since the old crash phone system only allowed initiation from the control tower, it was accessed only by busy air traffic controllers. NEC’s solution provided Airport Operations with secondary initiator access to the crash phone system, as an emergency back-up to the tower. Multiple initiators in a back-up plan ensures fast, dependable mobilization–to municipal fire scenes as well, when seconds also matter.

Expanding the Network

Lastly, but certainly not least, the new system is scalable. Additional phone lines within the old system required a major effort and the “pulling of copper”. Today, NEC’s cost effective solution allows extensions to be easily added to the crash phone system, to expand communications within the network with minimal effort and expense.

For this Smart Enterprise airport customer, NEC’s answer was actually a low cost IP communication system that is a simple, out-of-the-box, “off the shelf” solution. The NEC Airport Emergency System on a high availability UNIVERGE platform was simple to install and easy to use and maintain, yet extremely reliable and flexible. This basic communications platform met FAA requirements, and continues to allow fully engaged coordination of airport emergency teams for response that is faster and better informed.

After all, NEC’s mission is all about bringing together the very best available Smart Enterprise solutions for our customers, to orchestrate a brighter world – and a safer one.

To learn more, check out this third party white paper about Airport Crash Phone Systems.

Free eBook: Achieving Higher Availability in UC

Decisions based by expert insight increase the probability of more successful outcomes.  This is why we at NEC are pleased to offer you Achieving High Availability In UC, an informative ebook/white paper by communications and security consultant Gary Audin, president of Delta, Inc.

 

Free eBook: Achieving Higher Availability in UC

 

In addition to a comprehensive look at unified communications (UC) and the importance of system availability, this 22-page report also examines the key components needed to put together and sustain a UC-enabled communications environment.
Insight ranges from:

  • UC types
  • Downtime costs
  • Availability verses reliability to UC data center creation
  • Certification
  • Approaches and solution comparisons

This free offer will help you to educate your stakeholders on how best to deliver a 24×7 solution capable of supporting today’s need for ongoing business continuity and connectivity.. It also serves as a reminder that when backed by NEC, your organization can more readily realize the benefits of an UC-enabled workplace.
Take advantage of this free ebook/white paper and…

 

Download Now

 

Putting the ‘Power’ into Empowered Enterprise Communications

Meet Matt, a harried, frustrated VP of Sales who is in need of a more effective way to communicate with his sales team. Since Matt took the helm, sales have increased so dramatically that he is able to expand into new marketplaces while increasing the sales force in 15 satellite offices. He recruited savvy sales people to effectively promote the product, and now he is having trouble communicating with his team members to ensure they receive proper updates and have everything they need to function as a cohesive sales team.

Matt is not the only one. Helen, the receptionist, cannot keep up with all the new team members, so it’s difficult to route calls correctly. Jeff, the IT guy, is just as frustrated. His current communications system does not have centralized management so any moves, adds, or changes are very time consuming, requires travel to individual sites and really impacts his productivity.  So with the addition of sales people in 15 different satellite offices, he is counting up the airline miles he will be racking up over the next several weeks and trying to figure out how to delegate everything else that needs to be done while he is working on this project.

For Matt, Helen and Jeff, growth has a whole set of problems that if not addressed, could mean minimizing sales, productivity and creating a scenario for poor client experience. So what does the savvy enterprise do in this case?

Power Up with Empowered Communications

Matt, Helen and Jeff are fictional characters, but their problems are very real. The truth for most organizations is that growth, expansion and the consistent move toward a more mobile workforce create challenges. Fortunately, a single solution can solve these challenges and empower communications within any organization.

NEC’s UNIVERGE solutions provide businesses with a choice of comprehensive on-premise and cloud-based unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) solutions – enabling employees to connect from any location, on virtually any device, and collaborate with colleagues, customers and partners. #Organizations can tailor their #communications to meet their specific needs Click To Tweet and leverage the unmatched flexibility, reliability and scalability of NEC’s platforms. NEC’s UNIVERGE solutions will increase your ability to remain competitive, while also maximizing productivity and ensuring communication is constant.

The Power You Need When You Need It

Not all businesses are the same, and each requires a flexible solution to really power up communications and collaboration. To achieve success, organizations need to innovate via the best tools. With NEC, you receive custom-tailored solutions to meet your unique needs. Whether it’s to connect and communicate from anywhere using any device, or the ability to manage large call volumes across multiple locations, NEC UNIVERGE solutions are up for the challenge.

NEC’s UNIVERGE solutions provide a native UC on all platforms with easy-to-use, easy-to-deploy delivery models. Enhanced vertical workflow solutions ensure your communications remain strong. In addition, you can choose to deploy an on-premise, cloud or a hybrid delivery model and even opt to use our professional services to manage and monitor your network.

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With a natural migration path that will evolve to meet future needs, NEC’s UNIVERGE solutions offer investment protection and provide organizations with a platform that is poised for growth. Businesses that implement the right communication and collaboration tools can improve customer satisfaction and increase efficiency of operations, which can create a competitive advantage.

Are you ready to learn more about how to put the “power” in empowering your communications? or take a look at this post to get additional insights.