Frontier, Mitel move Illinois Wesleyan University into the cloud

Frontier Communications and Mitel have jointly brought Illinois Wesleyan University into the cloud-based voice world by upgrading its existing communications systems.

Although the initial plan called to complete the upgrade in six months, the Mitel platform was fully up and running in just two months.

The Mitel platform includes 875 cloud-based phones and 900 analog phones in place for security reasons to operate when power is not available. It will connect 450 full-time or 600 full and part-time faculty and staff, plus 1,900 students.

What drove Wesleyan to consider the Frontier and Mitel solution was the desire to find a long-term solution, something it said its former unnamed supplier could not provide.

By conducting an upgrade with the current vendor, the university would have been forced to conduct another upgrade again within five years, creating a solution that would be even more expensive in the long term. It would have also kept the university from gaining the benefits that a cloud solution could bring.

"We had to look at total cost of ownership (TCO) and it became clear that a cloud solution was the better option for the University," said Linda Biehl, telecommunications system specialist, Illinois Wesleyan University, in a blog post. "Beyond the cost savings over time, the cloud offered a flexibility to connect the campus. We have more than 40 buildings, plus a sizeable student body, faculty and staff to support. Cloud communications gives us the agility we need, plus takes us out of the painful upgrade cycle by providing continuous upgrades whenever beneficial features are available."

Moving to the joint Mitel and Frontier solution also enabled the university to address E911 requirements and change its outdial process by shifting from the standard "9" to get an outside line to "7." The university said that this will ensure that "users dialing 911 will reach emergency services directly and efficiently, giving responders information on location to quickly arrive on-scene."

Besides the new features, Biehl said that she could focus more of her attention on core competency issues versus conducting ongoing maintenance and upkeep of the system.

For more:
- see the release
- see this blog post

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