Alberta’s public shared procurement program adds communications hardware and services

Alberta’s ShareIT public procurement program has now added a variety of telephony equipment, licensing, and services to its catalogue of offerings. The “unified communications” (UC) services will make it easier for education institutions to administer secure phone and videoconferencing tools across their entire organizations. This is expected to further ease costs and reduce workloads for dozens of school districts and post-secondary institutions in the province.

“We’re thrilled to be unveiling telephony services on the ShareIT catalogue, as this is an area that our members have identified as a particular need,” says ShareIT Manager Mary Friedrich. “We have had great engagement between our working group of post-secondary and K-12 representatives, as well as the vendors, and are eager to now provide Alberta’s education sector with these ready-to-use communication services.”

Equipment Procurement and SIP Trunking Services

ShareIT has brokered a master agreement with Combat Networks to provide the sale, delivery and, if required, support of telephony equipment for three major vendors — Cisco, Avaya, and MiTel — and to provide Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) access via Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). 

The latter service, also known as SIP trunking, allows institutions to operate their phone systems via an internet connection, rather than a traditional phone line. This saves the institution time and money, as they no longer need to maintain phone hardware, wiring, or circuit boxes. It also allows them to scale more easily to the needs of staff and students.

“This is a great opportunity for Combat Networks to engage with more organizations in the education sector and explore solutions to their common issues, as well as contribute to the modernization of their telephony/UC infrastructure,” says Rick Trebilco, Western Region Manager of Business Sales for Combat Networks. “We’re excited to get involved with ShareIT and provide optimal pricing, in-depth consultations, and support services to the membership.”

Fully Managed VOIP (IP Telephony) System

ShareIT has also brokered an agreement with LogMeIn for their GoTo suite of voice and video solutions. The GoTo VOIP (IP telephony) system is designed to meet the functionality, scalability, reliability, and manageability requirements of members, and includes robust disaster recovery capabilities. The GoTo suite also offers a single, unified platform for phone and videoconferencing, and can be scaled to configure bells and paging.

“We’re pleased to bring to ShareIT the GoTo communications suite, our unified voice, video and collaboration solution that’s designed to easily scale within any organization,” says Luke Ferris, Senior Territory Channel Manager for GoTo. “Our goal is to help educational institutions connect their faculty, students, and community more reliably and affordably, and to shift how organizations think about their communications needs and requirements.”

Looking ahead

The ShareIT team will schedule introductory webinars for members on the Combat Networks and GoTo offerings, with more advanced training opportunities to follow later in the year. Details will be sent out to all participants in the program.

ShareIT will also be adding other items to its catalogue later this year, including A/V hardware and services, Adobe licensing, and additional security hardware and services. Cybera encourages members who have ideas for other services / products they would like to see offered to contact our team at ShareIT@cybera.ca.

BACKGROUND

About ShareIT

ShareIT is an Alberta-based procurement service, managed by Cybera, that leverages economies of scope and scale to give members access to a broader, more powerful, and more economic suite of computing technologies. It was formed by post-secondary institutions in 2016 to pool their hardware and software purchasing needs, thereby increasing their negotiating powers with third-party providers. It has since expanded its scope to allow K-12 school districts in Alberta to take advantage of existing contracts. Since its launch, ShareIT has saved member institutions millions of dollars in IT costs and time spent on procurement.

About Combat Networks

Combat Networks Inc is a Canadian network solutions integrator focused on mission-critical networks for public and private organizations where security, performance and reliability are the key to the operating mission. In the classroom, across the campus and out to the community of remote learners, our networks carry and/or support the message of todays’ lessons to tomorrow’s leaders.

About LogMeIn

LogMeIn, Inc. simplifies how people connect with each other and the world around them to drive meaningful interactions, deepen relationships, and create better outcomes for individuals and businesses. One of the world’s top 10 public SaaS companies, and a market leader in unified communications and collaboration, identity and access management, and customer engagement and support solutions, LogMeIn has millions of customers spanning virtually every country across the globe.