Eastern DataComm, Mitel’s 2021 Education
Partner of the Year, Assists Fort Lee, NJ, School District
with Comprehensive Communications Upgrade
Fort Lee School District serves over 4,000 students in a suburban community situated on the Hudson River. The district was struggling with voice communications connectivity due to their previous phone system, which was nearly 25 years old.
Eastern DataComm dove deeply into the safety and communication needs of Fort Lee Public Schools, which is comprised of six schools, and serves over four thousand students, to gain a strong understanding of where there were opportunities for improvement. This collaborative approach allowed for the team to design and implement a right-fit state-of-the-art Mitel unified communications system.
The Fort Lee School District’s superintendent and other stakeholders identified issues related to their former phone system. They recognized that their older phone system was in need of a major upgrade. The resulting state of the district’s communications infrastructure also meant that when something needed maintenance or replacement, parts were often hard to find and quite expensive. Furthermore, they sought to enhance the physical security of their school buildings to further provide for the safety of all those within those structures and on their grounds should an emergency event arise.
So, they reached out to Eastern DataComm for assistance and guidance on best methods to enhance district-wide communications and emergency response capabilities.
The Eastern DataComm Solution
Eastern DataComm’s diagnostic and consultative approach uncovered the district’s strengths and vulnerabilities. The team used that assessment to collaboratively plan and implement a district-wide solution to address the challenges Fort Lee Public Schools faced.
Working with an experienced technology partner like Eastern DataComm also allowed the Fort Lee Public School District to tap into the wealth of knowledge and expertise that comes with years of serving hundreds of schools – each with their own unique safety and communications challenges. The result was a system that not only met the needs of the district, but allowed school officials to see additional opportunities for cost savings and communication technology integration.
A Mitel VoIP Phone System and Communications Upgrades
Eastern DataComm implemented a Mitel Mobility solution that was easy to use, simple to administer and maintain, integrative, and highly reliable. It was also significantly more flexible than the older phone system technology, using voice mail and allowing teachers and other staff to use their cell phones as desk phones. This was especially helpful for substitutes, and teachers who change classrooms or migrate throughout the buildings routinely each day.
“The Mitel Mobility solution gives everyone access to phone system features from any device. You have total flexibility, total freedom,” says Paul Saxton, the district’s former superintendent who consulted with Eastern DataComm on the development, installation, and deployment of the new system. “They came in and met with all the key administrators, met with the technology staff, and made sure that they were totally familiar with our environment and operating requirements,” Saxton said. “That gave them the ability to go out and do the turnkey implementation in each of our buildings.”
And, while the results of this new system were impressive and impactful enough, the Mitel VoIP Phone System was only part of the solution provided for Fort Lee’s schools.
Cost-Effective Communication and Security Solutions
In addition to addressing the aging phone system, a thorough review of the district’s overall communications technology infrastructure found prospective cost savings unique to their circumstances.
“Because our previous phone system was 25 years old, we had a lot of extra lines that were not even being used. We even had some old Centrex lines,” said Saxton. “So when Eastern DataComm came in and performed their analysis, they eliminated quite a few lines. They also helped us switch to Windstream, one of the most cost-effective companies on the market, as our telecommunications carrier. All in all, they were able to save us about $4,000 a month over a 60-month contract.”
These cost savings included the opportunity to eliminate unneeded phone lines at notable per-month savings. The new system enabled the centralization of the auto-attendant, leading to further reductions in costs and increases in productivity.
“Centralizing the auto-attendant has boosted the efficiency of our operations and saved our staff a lot of time. It also provides cost savings by eliminating a lot of unnecessary equipment,”
In addition, switching telecommunications carriers in Fort Lee’s case qualified them for incentives to fund their new phone equipment.
“Eastern DataComm also helped us take advantage of a program in which Windstream offsets some of the cost of our new equipment. That netted us about $350,000 in savings.”
Lastly, upgrading the system, rather than continuing to spend time and money sourcing the hard-to-acquire and expensive parts for their aging system, created a cost-saving benefit for the district as well.
How Fort Lee Public Schools Officials Describe the Experience
“Eastern DataComm came in and met with all the key administrators, met with the technical staff, and made sure that they were familiar with our environment and operating requirements. Eastern DataComm upgraded our network infrastructure as needed and performed a telecommunications analysis, which saved us a significant amount of money. It has been a very beneficial relationship.”
– Paul Saxton,
Fort Lee School District