K-12 and higher education school administrators have become just as mobile as the learning environments in their schools. Administrators are constantly visiting classrooms and buildings, meeting with parents and teachers, attending professional development workshops, and collaborating with fellow education professionals. Administration is no more tied to a desk than a child’s education is. And like any on-the-go worker, school administrators aren’t always easy to track down.
If administrators are using older phone systems that can’t move with them, they often end up making calls from their personal mobile phones or waiting until the next day to return calls and emails. Having a mobile device isn’t enough. There are too many ways to communicate and too many applications, many of which aren’t supported by traditional communications tools. When the desk phone system isn’t integrated with a school administrator’s smartphone, it can slow down the communication process, drag down productivity, and cause friction with both parents and faculty.
Mobile unified communications (UC) solutions bring communications tools and channels to the same platform so school administrators have access to the tools and information they need while on the go. Instead of sharing your personal mobile number with everyone, use ShoreTel Connect to have calls to your desk phone automatically transferred to your mobile device, regardless of where you are. You can then communicate and access your files, school business contacts and calendar through a secure portal that is separate from your personal mobile environment. ShoreTel Connect also helps you overcome cellular coverage problems on your campus to ensure reliability and prevent dropped calls.
Eastern DataComm’s Lockdown and Emergency Notification System (LENS) solution makes it possible to remotely activate lockdown procedures and notifications from a mobile device. For example, if suspicious activity is reported on or near school grounds, an administrator, teacher or other authorized official can dial the lockdown code on their ShoreTel Connect mobility app. The system activates just as if they were inside and dialed a code on their office phone. Notification components include everything from strobe lights and digital signage to outdoor announcements via wireless speakers.
To maximize the value of mobile UC for school administrators, consider bringing in outside consultants who specialize in UC deployments in school environments. Although UC solutions are easy to use, initial implementation and configurations can be complex. Keep in mind that UC includes communications channels such as voice, video, instant messaging, text and presence. All must be seamlessly integrated for a mobile UC initiative to work, so avoid taking a piecemeal approach to UC.
Although consumer-grade versions of these communication tools and applications are readily available and often free, everyone should use the school’s UC solution to maximize ROI. Finally, make sure the solution you choose is delivering business value by identifying specific reasons for using UC, establishing goals, and measuring success.
School administrators shouldn’t be disconnected as they go about their busy day. Contact Eastern DataComm to find out how ShoreTel Connect and the LENS solution can simplify communication, improve productivity and responsiveness, and help keep your school safe.
Attend one of our upcoming school safety seminars to learn more about the LENS solution and how it can improve the safety in your district.