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Avaya Helps Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Deliver on its Commitment toPublic Safety

03-31-2004
  • IP telephony solution supports rapid response, will link over 60 fire-rescue stations, reduces costs and provides continuity of operations for the largest emergency services team in the Southeast; Cost-effectively extends advanced communications capabilities to other high-profile county agencies

Avaya is helping Florida's Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) team to deliver on its commitment to public safety and to extend its new, state-of-the-art communications capabilities to other high-profile county agencies.

Avaya Inc. (NYSE:AV), a leading global provider of communications networks and services for businesses, is helping Florida's Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (MDFR) team to deliver on its commitment to public safety and to extend its new, state-of-the-art communications capabilities to other high-profile county agencies.

With more than 1,800 employees and a coverage area of almost 2,000 square miles, MDFR is the seventh largest emergency response unit in the U.S. The department serves more than two million residents and businesses within the county and its 25 municipalities - responding to more than 191,000 emergency calls in 2002 alone.

The experiences of September 11 influenced MDFR's decision to upgrade its communications network. The department wanted a highly reliable solution capable of handling sudden, large surges in call traffic and providing "fail-safe" communications continuity even in the face of a local or national catastrophe. The agency's sprawling territory made it imperative that any new communication network be simple and cost-effective to administer, allowing MDFR to focus its time and resources on emergency response.

North American Communications Resources Inc. (NACR), an Avaya Platinum BusinessPartner and four-time winner of BusinessPartner of the Year, designed a converged, Internet protocol (IP) telephony solution that allowed MDFR to migrate from the agency's existing Avaya communications platform to a new, high-capacity Avaya Media Server with Avaya Communication Manager IP telephony software. The server includes a backup processor for survivability, delivers 50 times the processing power of the previous platform, and has the ability to manage tens of thousands of calls simultaneously. Avaya Media Gateways installed at larger pision offices provide the local backup the agency required. If the primary servers fail for any reason, the local gateways continue to provide uninterrupted service.

The media server and gateways will distribute Avaya Communication Manager software to each of Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue sites, which include 60 stations and the Miami-Dade County Emergency Operations Center, the "eye of the storm" for coordinating public and private agencies and activities in times of trouble. Avaya Communication Manager software supports more than 700 distinct telephony features-from malicious call tracing to built-in conferencing capabilities that allow MDFR to set up conference calls on the fly. The Avaya Extension to Cellular application, which automatically bridges calls made to an office phone to a cellular phone, has proven particularly popular with MDFR Battalion Chiefs.

"Our Battalion Chiefs think it's incredible since they can get calls whether they're in the fire truck, in the back room at the station or in their office," said Michael Crisler, MDFR's telecommunications director. "They can answer the call on their cell phone, walk back into the office and pick up the same call on their office line with no interruption."

By reducing administration costs and eliminating unnecessary toll lines, the Avaya solution is estimated to save the county about $1 million over five years. The new converged voice and data network and Avaya IP phones at each site eliminates the need for inpidual key systems and multiple phone lines in each location, which also reduces costs for administration and maintenance by up to $150 per station each month.

The ease of operations has allowed MDFR to support the entire telecommunications network with a single manager, instead of the predicted, 2.5 full-time personnel. Even as the "lone gunman," Crisler has slashed the time and costs required to handle requests for moves, adds and changes. Three-week turnaround times and price tags of $50 to $75 per move are a thing of the past. Instead, Crisler uses a simple web interface to reassign a port, while end users simply plug their phones in at the new location.

"Now 99 percent of our moves, adds and changes are done before the next day - and 85 percent of them are accomplished within the hour," Crisler said.

MDFR's successes with the network and its ability to rapidly deploy IP telephony at remote locations have turned the department into the "go to" organization for other Miami-Dade County agencies that want excellent communications. The County's Elections department joined the MDFR network to take advantage of new, state-of-the-art communication capabilities. So did the Miami-Dade County 311 Answer Center, a contact center set up to answer public inquiries.

Miami police turned to MDFR to establish emergency communications backup when protesters threatened to shut down the city during a recent, major free trade conference. Nearly two hundred Avaya IP telephones were quickly installed in strategic locations and brought online when disturbances began.

About Avaya
Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than 1 million businesses worldwide, including 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet Protocol (IP) telephony systems and communications software applications and services.

Driving the convergence of voice and data communications with business applications - and distinguished by comprehensive worldwide services - Avaya helps customers leverage existing and new networks to achieve superior business results. For more information visit the Avaya Web site: http://www.avaya.com

About NACR
NACR is headquartered in Eagan, Minnesota. Launched in 1993 with only five employees, the company has grown to more than 300 employees and 55 locations across the country. As an Avaya largest Diamond, Platinum and Three Star Dealer, NACR is dedicated to designing, selling, and servicing Avaya solutions exclusively and offering the entire Avaya product line. For more information about NACR, call 1-888-321-NACR (6227) or visit its Web site at nacr.com.

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