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Boston Red Sox Take Avaya IP Telephony on the Road

03-30-2005

When the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox pulled out of FenwayPark this year to head south for spring training, there was oneimportant thing they didn't leave behind.

When the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox pulled out of Fenway Park this year to head south for spring training, there was one important thing they didn't leave behind. With an IP telephony solution from Avaya (NYSE:AV), a leading global provider of business communications software, systems and services, the team for the first time was able to "pack" its headquarters communications capabilities for the road trip as well.

Last spring Carousel Industries, an Avaya-certified BusinessPartner, installed a new communications network for the team just in time for the regular-season season opener. This year the Red Sox added a communication gateway in Ft. Myers, Fla., to deliver the same converged voice and data capabilities that have transformed its operations in Boston to the players, managers and operations staff who travel to spring training.

The new survivable gateway serves both the team's operational headquarters in Florida and a nearby Minor League ballpark where practices are held, providing a seamless transition as the Red Sox relocate from Boston to Ft. Myers. Players and staff access the same calling features they have at Fenway, just as if they were in the office. Should the connection between Boston and Ft. Myers fail for any reason, the spring training site is able to continue to operate on its own, without interruption.

To extend the capabilities of the Red Sox network even further, a new dedicated Internet circuit provides connectivity for a player academy in the Dominican Republic. Now staff members traveling to the academy use Avaya IP phones to access the headquarters network, helping them work more productively and cost effectively while away from the office.

"Putting a gateway in Florida takes our network to another level," said Steve Conley, Red Sox director of information technology. "Now it doesn't matter where you are, you can be part of the office, even if you're not tied to a physical desk."

Even the team's global scouting staff is reaping the benefits of IP telephony when on the road. An Avaya Softphone application allows them to use their laptop PCs to make and receive phone calls and stay in touch with management, colleagues and even family members. As a result, the team has eliminated thousands of dollars in toll charges for calls made from hotels and remote offices, routing voice traffic over its own private network instead. Conley himself is also freed from his desk and now can manage the Red Sox network with his laptop computer either from his Fenway Park office or from his home.

Improving Voice Clarity, Saving Money and Giving Fans a Fair Shot at Tickets
In addition to supporting remote and traveling staff members, the Red Sox are using their Avaya network to manage what Conley describes as the "controlled chaos" of a small city springing to life each game day. That includes delivering greatly improved voice clarity to calls made to the Fenway Park bullpen. Even managers of opposing teams have given the organization accolades since they now can hear instructions over the roar of loyal Boston fans.

The Red Sox also have made fundamental changes in how they deliver communications to the hordes of media during each game. By providing IP connectivity to reporters over the Fenway network and eliminating the need for the local phone company to provision hundreds of inpidual lines, the team has wiped more than $40,000 in annual costs off the books.

Avaya's solution is even helping the Red Sox stay ahead of ticket scalpers. When inpidual game tickets went on sale earlier this year, a flood of calls to the Red Sox ticket hotline knocked out both the 617 telephone exchange and cell phone service in the Boston area - a testament to the immense popularity of the championship-winning team. Not only was the Red Sox ticket line swamped, but even the team's central information number received spikes of 60 to 100 calls per second.

Though it was not possible to add sufficient staff to eliminate wait times, Conley was determined to make the process of landing tickets as fair as possible for fans. That includes being able to identify potential scalpers trying to find a "backdoor" into the Red Sox contact center in order to move to the front of calling queues. Using the reporting capabilities that Avaya contact center software provides, managers were able to spot suspicious activity and shut down scalpers within moments of detection.

"Though we may be ahead of the curve in adopting a number of new technologies, we're using them to give the Red Sox a competitive advantage, not just to be cool," Conley said. "Anything we put into our communications infrastructure is helping us serve our customers better, and every dollar we save contributes to putting a better product on the field.

"Now that we have the fundamental infrastructure in place, we plan to continue to look at how we can use it to improve a wide range of business processes."

About Avaya
Avaya Inc. designs, builds and manages communications networks for more than one million businesses worldwide, including over 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500 ®. Focused on businesses large to small, Avaya is a world leader in secure and reliable Internet Protocol 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 Carousel Industries
Carousel Industries, Inc. is a communication systems integrator and reseller specializing in the design, implementation and support of strategic, integrated communication solutions. A Platinum-certified Avaya BusinessPartner, the company supports Fortune 1000 as well as small- to medium-sized enterprise customers in need of converged communications solutions and applications. The company's solutions include voice messaging, unified messaging and an impressive suite of other IP-based communications technologies. With Carousel Industries, businesses can expect to get a modern, scalable and cost effective communications infrastructure that allows them to work more productively. The company is privately held and headquartered in Peace Dale, Rhode Island. For more information, visit www.carouselindustries.com.

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