News Release

Municipalities Enhance Business Processes and Public Services with Cisco IP Communications System

SAN JOSE, Calif. - April 28, 2004 - Cisco Systems® today
Apr 28, 2004

SAN JOSE, Calif. - April 28, 2004 - Cisco Systems® today announced continuing adoption of its Internet Protocol (IP) Communications solution by public sector organizations, including the Town of Herndon, Va., the City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., the City of Southfield, Mich. and the City of Houston, Texas.

The municipalities selected Cisco as a trusted business advisor and technology partner to help them transform business processes and deploy technology to increase productivity, deliver improved services to citizens and create new revenue opportunities.

City of Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.

When the city of Rancho Palos Verdes discovered its previous communications system provider was discontinuing support, it began an exhaustive search for a new system. With the help of a Cisco IP Telephony specialized partner, Nexus IS, the City of Rancho Palos Verdes decided on an IP Communications solution from Cisco. The City's converged solution includes Cisco CallManager IP PBX software, and Cisco IP phones.

Not only is the Cisco IP Communications solution less expensive and simpler to maintain than an analog system, its flexibility proved invaluable during a recent crisis. The city tested the system under an emergency situation in March when a gas leak caused a temporary evacuation of residents.

"With the Cisco IP Communications solution we could quickly reconfigure the phone system to create a (residential) hotline for callers to access a pre-recorded message for updated information about the leak and evacuation," said Dennis McLean, director of finance and information technology for the City.

Cable television viewers saw the hotline number scroll on the bottom of their television screens and callers had the option of transferring to a live attendant after listening to the pre-recorded message. The system was so successful that only one in 20 callers opted to speak with an attendant.

"We would not have been able to do that with our previous system," he explained. The City's technical team is now able to perform day-to-day administration and maintenance themselves - resulting in a savings of as much as $20,000 per year.

Town of Herndon, Va.

Working with Cisco premier certified and IP Telephony specialized partner AAC, Inc. as the integration partner, The Town of Herndon, Va. replaced its aging phone and network systems with a Cisco converged voice and data network and developed an innovative Extensible Markup Language (XML) software program that helps locate missing children in their area. AAC provided the town with its PhoneTop AMBER Alert Services software. The application quickly sends AMBER alerts of missing children to Cisco IP phone screens in the Herndon, Virginia local government. When a child is missing, the town's system will automatically show a picture of the child and possible suspects to the color display screen of Cisco IP phones used by municipal workers.

In addition, the Town of Herndon has reduced management costs and built operational efficiencies into its business processes using the Cisco IP Communications system.

"Our converged Cisco IP Communications solution gives us a chance to eliminate operational redundancies and inefficiencies, so we can work smarter," said Bill Ashton, director of IT for the Town of Herndon. "The technology is really easy for my staff to manage and if a little problem comes up, they can handle it on the fly instead of calling in an expensive contractor. And with the AMBER Alert application on top of the Cisco IP phones, I know we're doing everything we can to locate a missing child in our area."

City of Southfield, Mich.

Responsible for more than two dozen municipal departments located in 18 different buildings, the City of Southfield, Mich. needed to upgrade an aging and overloaded communications system. After an in-depth strategic planning review, the City concluded that the most cost-effective solution would be to replace existing voice and data systems with a single converged IP infrastructure that could deliver voice and data services to its headquarters and branch offices.

"We had an existing mainframe that needed to be replaced and a new library under construction," said Gerald Werner, Information Access Strategies consultant for the City of Southfield. "These changes, coupled with the need to replace the overloaded infrastructure and phone system, presented us with a 'green field' opportunity. It made sense to combine our voice and data networks into one infrastructure that we could build on, rather than creating separate networks."

Working with Cisco Silver Certified and IP Telephony Specialized partners, SunTel Services and Norstan, the City deployed a Cisco IP Communications solution. The new converged IP network enables city employees to serve citizens and businesses more efficiently than ever while reducing costs by an estimated $100,000 each year. Rolling out 780 Cisco IP phones to more than two dozen municipal departments was accomplished over a single weekend without incident. By switching to all-new phone numbers within a single exchange, the city simplified dialing and added room for growth.

"One of the biggest time-savers is the XML based phone directory," says Ann Farquhar, Southfield's director of civilian operations and communications. "Our users no longer have to flip through their paper directory, look at an outdated list, or call the person at the front desk to find a number. It's displayed right there on their phone's LCD screen."

City of Houston, Texas

The City of Houston Public Library needed to upgrade its expensive, antiquated telephone system. Because the library was using several independent telephone systems within its 39 locations and nearly 700 phones, employees had difficulty talking to one another and were unable to transfer calls between branches. Callers were asked to hang up and dial another number to reach the expert needed. In addition, the library was unable to obtain replacement parts to support its traditional telephone system. It was time to upgrade.

As a public institution, the Houston Public Library must provide access to all its customers including disabled visitors. Its new telephone system would need to provide teletypewriter (TTY) device access for the hearing impaired, devices for the sight and mobility impaired, and support existing functionality such as music on hold. The Library also wanted five-digit extension dialing on each phone, an online directory, voice mail for all employees, an improved call center, and redundancy in case of system failure.

The Cisco IP Communications solution, including Cisco Unity and Cisco IP Contact Center, was a natural choice to deliver new capabilities, reduce operating expenses, and provide a reliable phone system for the Houston Public Library.

"When people want a quick answer to a question, whether it is business related, or school homework, or trying to settle a bet, calling the Public Library is one of the ways that people do that," said Toni Lambert, assistant director of Information Technology at the Houston Public Library. "Our telephone reference service is extremely busy, and we have to have a reliable telephone system."

The Houston Public Library has seen tremendous return on investment. The monthly cost per phone has dropped more than 50 percent and maintaining the new Cisco IP Communications solution is much easier than with its previous system. The Library has also been able to reduce the number of IT support staff required to maintain the technology - from two and a half to one person.