August 11, 2008
Avaya Provides UC, IP Telephony for NBC at Beijing Olympics
In yet another sign of how technologies such as UC and IP telephony are helping to deliver communications faster and more reliably, the broadcasters of the most-watched Olympics in history – the Beijing games, which kicked off this past weekend – announced today that a Basking Ridge, New Jersey-based company is providing critical support to its coverage.
Officials from NBC Universal say Avaya (News - Alert) will provide a communications solution to support their network coverage.
According to Bob Kiraly, director of broadcast and telecommunications operations for NBC Olympics, Avaya has the event’s requirements “down to a science.”
“We don’t have time for complicated installations and we have zero tolerance for risk,” Kiraly said. “What we do need are powerful, reliable communications that help manage costs and enable the NBC Olympics team to do their jobs most efficiently. Avaya understands that completely.”
NBC officials say the Olympics operate under IT circumstances that most businesses never need to consider.
“Every two years the organization needs a complete, business communications network set up in a new location that is in use for little more than a month,” officials say. “Demands for high availability, resiliency and cutting edge technology are weighed against cost, since once the games are over the equipment goes into storage.”
The requirements are especially important since NBC reportedly is taking on production of history’s most watched games, including TV and affiliate airings on channels such as MSNBC, online video streaming and other Internet offerings.
Despite concerns in the weeks leading up to the games that NBC’s restrictions on who could show what and how – following the network’s $900 million investment for the rights to broadcast the Beijing Olympics – would be more restrictive than the communist host nation’s own rules, reports are emerging that Saturday night’s 24.1 million average viewers bested Athens by nearly 4.5 million viewers.
The figures come as NBC, Olympics organizers, government officials and multimedia outlets – backed by technologies that allow for faster and higher quality video streaming – debate what’s fair and best in delivering the games to viewers’ TV’s, computers, cell phones and other mobile devices.
Avaya officials say they’re in an excellent position to deliver those games.
“This year, IP Telephony hits full stride for NBC Olympics with Avaya Gigabit Ethernet phones landing on more than 500 desks accompanied by another 200 value sets elsewhere in the network,” company officials say. “The Ethernet phones provide NBC Olympics with the highest quality audio and the lowest power consumption of any similar business class telephones on the market today.”
Company officials say that “Avaya Communication Manager” helps the Olympics move forward with unified communications applications.
“The company is already enabling greater mobility by allowing calls made to an employee’s extension also ring their cellular phone,” company officials say. “Now, the new Gigabit Ethernet phones also make it even easier for the team to switch active calls between the desk phone and cellular device.”
According to Avaya, employees who need to change locations while a call is in progress can hit a button on the phone to switch the call from the desktop extension to their cellular device and vice versa. The phones can also enable one employee to see the availability of others in his or her workgroup for live calls by displaying names and telephony presence on the back-lit screen, company officials say.
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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael�s articles, please visit his columnist page.