Wireless network, VoIP phone system and support a home run with fans and employees

 
Business Challenge
“To start, we had an old analog phone system that was at the end of its life,” says Don Brown, Senior Director of Management Information Systems for the White Sox. “It worked, but it didn’t have the productivity-enhancing features our employees needed to up their game. We had very little in the way of wireless access within the ballpark, which made it difficult to keep up with a business that is increasingly Internet-based. We also heard from season ticket holders that they couldn’t resell or transfer their parking passes electronically when they resold, reprinted or printed their tickets online, which was a huge inconvenience for them. As a championship organization we don’t like being behind, whether it’s on the field or off.”

Brown also wanted to upgrade the White Sox organization’s ability to respond to and communicate during emergencies, whether it was an injury, a weather-related problem, or other incidents requiring a quick response. Finally, he wanted a partner that could manage the new systems post-installation so he didn’t have to hire the expertise internally.

The Solution

Brown first brought in Single Path, a Cisco Premier Partner, to install the internal Cisco wireless network for employees and game day press, broadcasters, and photographers. Single Path later had to be approved by the Illinois Sports Facility Authority (IFSA), the governing body for the ballpark, to be confirmed as Brown’s choice from among several potential partners for the VoIP phone upgrade.

Single Path began by upgrading the network infrastructure with Cisco routers and switches, and adding Cisco security. Later efforts included installing the VoIP phone system with Cisco Call Manager, a Cisco wireless mesh network for the parking lots, and overseeing it all with Single Path monitoring, management and help desk services. More recently they added more than 200 wireless access points around the ballpark for use by fans.

The Results

“With the old phone system all we could do was make calls,” Brown says. “With the Cisco Unified Communications platform from Single Path we enhanced our phone system functionality, but also gained advanced features that deliver major productivity gains. The organization can now click to call from desktops, integrate voice over our state of the art WLAN, allow for intelligent call routing to the sales/marketing team, create screen pops through our CRM application, and deliver an integrated public safety solution for employees and vendors. It’s an incredibly powerful system, very 21st Century.”

The most recent project has been working with Boingo to deliver free wireless Internet service to fans within the ballpark. Brown expects the system will be ready to handle the wireless needs of our fans on Opening Day.

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