How Unified Communications Keep Everyone In The Loop

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Unified Communications (UC) isn't just for big business any more. The technology and networking explosion of the last few years has made it possible for virtually any operation to benefit from "big data," not just the corporations.

In fact, schools around the country are discovering just how effective a UC solution can be for their district. For modest initial outlays, you can invest in a system that will truly speed your operations in every area, creating a school district that's more flexible and better-able to adjust to change.

Plus, UC systems greatly speed up your state reporting, as well as virtually guaranteeing better accuracy. That adds up to higher state returns, month after month.

In this blog, we'll discuss the various benefits of implementing Unified Communications in schools.

First, however:

What Is Unified Communications?

UC is easy to explain, although the ramifications are more complex. The short version is that it means you have a single, central database that links ALL your communications channels together. By utilizing Voice-over-IP or cloud-based videoconferencing technologies, even video and voice calls can be treated as data on the network.

In practical terms, it converts your existing network into something more akin to the neural or circulatory system in a body. Your network becomes the central element linking all your operations, and keeping them on the same page.

This relatively simple change to your communications ends up creating a wealth of benefits across the board.

Ways UC Improves Your Transportation And Other District Operations

1) Instant Data Propagation

Arguably, the biggest benefit to UC is also one of the most subtle: In all likelihood, you'll never have mismatched databases again. Any change made, from a teacher pay raise to a student changing residences, will instantly be available throughout the system to those with access rights.

Plus, no more calls to the effect of, "I changed my student's address in (System A), so why isn't it in (System B)?"

On top of that, UC systems also have aggressive self-auditing to watch for potential bad data. If a mismatch ever does occur, a system administrator is alerted so they can investigate.

2) Drivers are Always in the Loop

What does this have to do with your transportation? When your buses are linked to your UC system by GPS, that means they become part of this crucial information grid.

The GPS units will load their route at the start of every day, with ridership calculated based on the day's attendance. Drivers begin every route with every possible piece of information they might need, from alternate routes to health alerts for special-needs students.

This greatly reduces the administrative burdens on your drivers, allowing them to focus on their real jobs: transporting children safely, every day, without fail.

3) Rapid Data Collation and Reporting

The transportation benefits don't end when the bus reaches your garage. The on-board system will have recorded the vehicle's on-road performance far more accurately than a driver ever could, including details such as stopping distance and fuel economy.

When combined with the computer records you'll have on ridership, your state reports will be easier and more accurate, saving money and boosting returns.

4) Greater Teacher Awareness

UC benefits your teachers as well. For one example, student tracking in the morning means that teachers will receive an estimated attendance sheet before class starts, reporting everyone known to be en route.

When classroom time is limited, chopping even a minute or two off pre-class business can add up to hours -or days- of additional teaching time over a school year.

Do You Need Your Data Converted?

One challenge that often arises in implementing a UC system is getting old databases to mesh with the new ones. This can often involve highly complex data-crunching, moving the old database to a new format.

However, if your district is in this situation, Orbit Software can quickly and affordably convert your data for you, in total security. The conversion only takes a couple of weeks, so it's ready when the system is implemented.

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you need these data conversion services. They don't have to be a barrier to UC implementation.

Unified Communications Create An Effective, Modern School System

In a short blog, we can really only touch on a few of the many benefits UC brings to a school district. A Unified Communications setup will link everyone in your district, from your bus drivers up to your administrators, in a single system that maximizes communications efficiency at every turn.

In a school district, mere minutes frequently matter, especially if unexpected trouble arises. Unified Communications give you the ability to combat this with speed and grace, turning panic situations into no-problems.

To learn more about how Unified Communications link your district, just contact us for a free consultation! 

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What do you think? Are there other ways that unified communications can be an asset to the entire organization? Let us know in the comments below!