Communication Technologies - August 2009

Greg Sparks – Communication Technologies

This time of year is always full of excitement and anticipation as we look forward to campus awakening from what some may consider a summer hibernation. Move-in weekend (August 14-16)  a major tangible milestone  marks the beginning of a new year, full of new energy and new opportunities for innovation. This time of year in particular, I’m struck by the incredible diverse ways Communication Technologies supports this thriving campus.

In just the past few weeks, we’ve been involved in everything from consulting with computer science faculty on a grant proposal to enable leading-edge wireless research to working with Ticketmaster validating use of a state-of-the-art ticket scanning system for an upcoming concert at Carter-Finley. Of course, in the midst of this, we’re wrapping up our final pieces of the initial IP Telephony deployment, continuing to improve the resiliency of the WolfWise system, planning to decommission our legacy VPN system, and ensuring that our new student billing system is ready for the first “real” semester of use after being implemented earlier in the summer.

While there are literally dozens of initiatives underway within ComTech, it’s the scope of these initiatives and the ability of our team to produce tangible results that most impresses me. Despite continued budget challenges, we are moving forward with innovative solutions in support of a thriving and robust campus community.

Of particular interest is the fact that we have now awarded our IPTV initiative and are ready to move forward with Video Furnace from Haivision. This will eventually lead to all cable television on campus being delivered over the IP network instead of relying on a separate overlay network. This project is also important as our current system is at capacity in terms of channels and doesn’t have bandwidth available for services such as HDTV or Video on Demand. Both of these are increasingly being requested by our residential students.

Lastly, we are set to kickoff a Unified Communications advisory group this month. This team will survey vendor offerings, evaluate and prioritize the needs of our campus, and set an overall strategy leading to a tangible three to five year roadmap for implementing unified communications.

All of this is to say that, despite the many challenges we’re facing, NC State is a very exciting community of innovators constantly demanding that we investigate new technologies. As technologists, I can’t imagine we could find a more suitable environment, and I look forward to working with all of you in exploring these new paths and embracing new opportunities.