Unified Communication Wins at Pro Football Hall of Fame
By Samuel Greengard
Communications is increasingly at the core of a successful enterprise. The ability to connect to others quickly and efficiently often determines whether an organization fumbles or scores on the front lines of business.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, is no exception. Over the last half-century, nearly 9 million fans have visited the popular museum, which recently undertook a major IT upgrade that included the addition of a unified communications (UC) system.
The hall has undergone a number of expansions and renovations over the years. Today, the museum and office complex encompass approximately 118,000 square feet and holds more than 20,000 documents and artifacts.
"Over the last few years, we have had to create a long-term plan that not only focused on further expansion and renovation of the campus, but also technology,” says Dave Motts, vice president of marketing and sponsorship. "As the museum has grown, we have wound up with staff scattered throughout the facility."
The problem didn't stop there. "When we looked at the environment and the renovation, it was apparent that the previous telephony system was inadequate and there was no WiFi, Motts adds. "As a management team, we said that things had to change. We were using a nine-year-old system with phones and equipment that were no longer being manufactured." Not surprisingly, the limitations were negatively affecting the productivity of employees and others.
A key part of the $27 million two-stage renovation was the introduction of UC technology in June 2012. The organization turned to Siemen's OpenScape Voice and OpenScape UC Application systems to bring communication into the 21st century and provide a more efficient way to interact across computers, tablets phones and other devices—requiring WiFi in some cases. The system creates a more flexible and scalable environment that supports collaboration and ad hoc communication for approximately 80 users.
"We have a fairly small staff at the Hall of Fame, and a lot of people wear a lot of hats to get the job done," says Pat Lindesmith, a senior account executive. In fact, employees often walk around the facility but still require access to communications systems.
UC has enabled video conferencing, teleconferencing and the use of apps for mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads. "We also have the ability to add a whole host of call center applications that we can integrate into the business platform," she adds.
Advanced telephony features and soon-to-be-adopted cross-device IM capabilities are only part of the story, however. The ability to provide integrated and highly dependable WiFi was also essential, particularly with a growing need to provide connectivity at events and meetings held at the site.
In addition, the approach provided managed services and support from Siemens and reduced the demand on the one-person IT department. This included better troubleshooting and proactive monitoring of the network.
The IT initiative has been a touchdown. Concludes Motts: "We require a solid IT foundation that supports the level of communication required in today's business environment."