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Iowa State Looks for $600k in Annual Savings Through Internet2's NET+ SIP Program

Citing a need for improved telecommunications capabilities, reliability, and cost efficiency, Iowa State University has joined Internet2's NET+ SIP program and will migrate 8,000 phones to the cloud beginning next month.

Iowa State is replacing its legacy PBX system with the cloud-based service in an effort to "upgrade its technology while at the same time minimizing capital outlay" and freeing up staffers "to focus on more strategic initiatives," according to information released by Internet2. The move is expected to save the university $600,000 annually.

"Reliability of our communications service is paramount to Iowa State, and the geographical and system redundancy provided by the Internet2 NET+ SIP Program is something that we couldn't achieve on our own," said Jim Davis, Iowa State University vice provost for IT and CIO, in a prepared statement. "We believe there are many community synergies provided by the Internet2 NET+ Services that we can leverage for the benefit of the university."

Internet2 is an organization whose membership comprises more than 200 universities in the United States, as well as dozens of private companies, government agencies, state and regional education networks, and international research and education partners. Its NET+ services include customized cloud services; InCommon federated identity, assurance, and certificates; middleware; and collaborative technologies like videoconferencing.

The NET+ SIP service is being provided by Aastra (Clearspan hosted PBX) and Level 3 Communications (SIP trunking) and runs on the Internet2 network. Institutions can choose to use either or both of the services. SIP trunking has no minimum requirement, but the hosted PBX requires a minimum of 50 stations. There is also a five-year contractual requirement "to make sure the schools and the service providers don't invest a lot of energy in migration without a guarantee of reliable service over an extended period," according to Internet2. Direct membership in Internet2 is not a requirement for participation, but a connection to the Internet2 network is.

"We are very pleased with the value ISU and the greater research and education community are realizing from the growing portfolio of cloud services offered by the Internet2 NET+ initiative," said Shelton Waggener, Internet2 senior vice president, also in a prepared statement. "ISU's implementation of the SIP Program services is yet another example of establishing a leading vision to attack operating costs and provide more value to all university constituents by capitalizing on better-yielding technologies. Facilitating the advancement of U.S. higher education through technology has always been a core goal of Internet2, and we are excited to see the growing effects of NET+ Service adoption across campuses."

According to Internet2: "ISU went through a rigorous selection process, including two proposals to evaluate more than a dozen solutions. The university ultimately chose the Internet2 NET+ SIP Program for a number of reasons, with the technical evaluation process providing key benefits. The broad feature set, mobility options, integration with existing campus applications as a result of standards-based technology, and the flexibility of administrative control provided by the hierarchical architectural design were noted to provide value along with the notable cost savings."

The NET+ SIP service is just opening to all Internet2 members this spring. Prior to general availability, early adopters included Texas A&M University, Tulane University, and University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Details about the SIP program can be found on the Internet2 NET+ SIP portal, the hosted PBX portal, and the SIP trunking portal. A FAQ page provides additional information.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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