According to CompareBusinessPhones.com, 1.3% of the visitors to the website in 2009 were from Education Agencies (College/Schools). The number of scholastic visitors then jumped all the way to 4.1% in 2011.
This statistic is reflected in other business reports which show that colleges and schools are slowly increasing their spending on phone technology. The primary reason for the shift, however, is not yet fully understood.
One of the possibilities is the lower cost of VoIP phone service. Industry analysts like NextAdvisor.com have determined that making phone calls over the internet can reduce the cost of phone calls by sixty percent or more. In one case study, a traditional provider cost $536.06 a month while a VoIP provider cost just $361.40 month. Educational agencies may therefore be attempting to save money by switching to a new phone system.
Modern phone systems also provide access to features that may be useful to colleges and schools. Conference calls, for example, have traditionally been quite expensive to conduct through the public switched telephone network – a statistical average of $162.00 for a call involving thirty people. Modern phone systems, on the other hand, provide the service to users at no charge. Most colleges have meetings every week, so the technology would allow the school to hold meetings when one or more of the administrators is out of town.
Other phone features may offer similar advantages to colleges: Advanced ACD can make sure a phone call is directed to the correct academic department, name and address capture can be used to keep track of information on students, and voicemail transcription can free up administrative assistants for other clerical work.
Kevin Siebolt, the IT director at Franciscan University (Ohio), spoke about these type of benefits after his university switched to VoIP. He stated, “It’s lived up to our goals. We have a better menuing system and we can program for different departments, which was more control than we had with the old system.”
School budgets had also been cut to low levels over the past few years due to the state of the economy. They are still quite small, but changes are occurring – New York City, for example, just set aside $465 million to modernize the technology infrastructure of its public school system.
One final factor may be the widespread availability of high-speed internet. Many college campuses have implemented DSL connections over the last decade, and government programs like the California K-12 High Speed Network provide public schools with fast network connectivity and a variety of internet services. Colleges and schools can use this bandwidth to make phone calls over the internet, so they may be purchasing new phone systems to take advantage of this fact.
CompareBusinessPhones.com is an analyst firm that publishes free office phone system reports. They also have a phone vendor comparison chart that compiles information about major phone vendors like Avaya, 8x8, Inc., Cisco, and Talkswitch.
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