Commander and Nortel win $7m unified comms deal

RMIT university joins a line of education institutions investing in unified communications

Commander and Nortel have signed a $7 million network upgrade contract with Melbourne's RMIT University. It is one of several recent unified communication wins for the networking vendor in the education market.

The RMIT deal is based on building a unified communications network and initially involves the deployment of 5000 Nortel IP handsets across RMIT's campuses. RMIT will also run trials of Nortel's Multimedia Communications Server (MCS), with the possibility of other unified communications applications being deployed.

Commander is working alongside Nortel on network design and management and will deploy and provide ongoing service and support for the solution for RMIT. The contract will be completed over the next two years, and Commander will also deploy the MCS solution if the trials are effective.

The network will be built around Nortel's Communication Server (CS) 1000 IP PBX serving 7000 endpoints and installed across RMIT University's three main campuses. Other components will include Nortel's MCS 5100 for multimedia conferencing and Nortel Contact Center 6.0 for an IP-based helpdesk infrastructure.

RMIT University has more than 3500 staff and 60,000 students. The education institution went to tender to upgrade its complete telephony network and short listed two vendors for the contract.

Nortel general manager of enterprise, Mark Fioretto, said the vendor chose to work with Commander as both had an existing relationship with RMIT, and together they had a strong knowledge of the university's environment and future needs.

Commander group general manager of corporate, Geoff Horth, said it was also the lead partner for Nortel in Australia with its Unified Communications Program under the Innovative Communications Alliance with Microsoft..

"This deployment is a significant one for Commander both in its scale and complexity. It draws on a broad cross-section of our systems integration and professional services resources," he said.

RMIT is one of several universities investing in unified communications infrastructure, Nortel said. The vendor has also announced two wins with Macquarie University in Sydney and the Edith Cowan University in Perth.

The new data network at Macquarie will be implemented by Nortel integration partner, 3D Networks. Financial details have not been disclosed.

The Edith Cowan win is the second phase in a five-year, multi-million dollar data network rollout.