AT&T Offers Wide Range of Communications Solutions for Education

ying a school to all of its many parts &emdash; both internally and outside to other campuses, offices or institutions &emdash; with phone and data communications services is a newly critical factor. Doing it well opens opportunities for staff and students, eases administrative burdens and improves service, and can bring community access and acclaim. Demands on educational institutions being what they are, finding "solutions" for this can be a near-holy quest. AT&T, with its long history, is a natural to offer a whole family of products that can work together, or alone, to provide just that &emdash; solutions. We profile a few of them below.

For K-12 Institutions

The telephone is still center stage in most offices. AT&T's Intuity Conversant interactive voice response (IVR) system puts it to work automating tedious tasks.

Finding substitute teachers is one process the system can completely handle all its own. Student attendance tracking is another application for which it's especially suited. In fact, the Los Angeles Unified School District cost justified its Intuity Conversant with this function alone. According to AT&T, resolving just one unexcused absence a day at each school pays LAUSD's cost of a monthly lease for the system.

Homework hotline and student registration for classes are two other ready-made applications for the Intuity Conversant system.

With additional PassageWay Solutions, programmed options for the system, myriad other services can be automated.

Some of these include speed dial emergency numbers from the student database, outbound calls to parents logged and notes about the conversation saved, even a fully automated survey function that calls and tabulates results.

Of course, a broad range of other Voice Messaging services are available from AT&T.

For coaches, maintenance staff, security, administrative personnel &emdash; even classroom teachers &emdash; a TransTalk 9000 Digital Wireless phone may fit the situation.

Distance learning is aided by AT&T's Vistium videoconferencing stations, their Picasso Still-Image Phone and DataPort 2001 Multimedia Communicator Modem. The modem has AT&T's VoiceSpan technology plus conferencing software to allow simultaneous voice and data communications. Team up Picasso and DataPort and conduct class with remote students.

Cabling is critical for schools, especially with multimedia delivery over the network now in demand. The AT&T SYSTIMAX Structured Cabling System combines a fiber optic backbone with copper connections to the desktop for speeds up to 100 Mbps.

For Higher Education

Much of what K-12 wants to accomplish also applies to colleges and universities. However, unique needs exist as well.

Automating class registration is prime; AT&T offers for the job either Intuity Conversant or its advanced Definity Communications System Call Center with Call Management software . The system can even tie into the college's billing system to pay fees.

There is also The FAX Attendant, for 24-hour access to course descriptions, etc.; Financial Aid Hotline; Job Hotline and Student Resume Hotline; Automated Account Inquiry applications; and more.

AT&T Interactive Visual Distance Learning Solutions, and their Visual Solution Professional Services team, address this growing area. The firm's Vistium systems, turnkey videoconferencing bundles, are offered in Group and Classroom editions. Add their Learning Option Package for a set of extra components, peripherals and presentation tools.

To underlie it all, AT&T's Definity G3 System can provide the campus network with scalability, open architecture and multimedia capability &emdash; it can switch voice, video and data simultaneously.

And finally, OneVision Network Management Solutions are a family of AT&T products and services designed to help harried administrators monitor both telephony and data systems.

Helping Put It All Together

This profile touches upon just some of the more education-focused products from AT&T. As important, however, the firm helps one to put all the pieces together.

Their Professional Services staff helps define needs, recommends infrastructure modifications, aids implementation, and handles long-term support. Offered are a variety of Training Solutions (multimedia, video onsite). And AT&T Credit Corp. helps K-12 schools acquire equipment affordably. For instance, a tax-exempt lease/ purchase plan may be available depending on state restrictions.

AT&T's offerings to education are indicative of their peerless understanding of our modern communications landscape.

This article originally appeared in the 01/01/1996 issue of THE Journal.