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The Buffalo Bills roll out new ShoreTel UC system

The Buffalo Bills have deployed a new ShoreTel unified communications system to accompany their revamped stadium.

In renovating their home stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., last year, the Buffalo Bills decided the aging facility needed more than new entrance gates and concession stands. It also needed a new phone system.

So the NFL team took advantage of the $130 million facelift of the Ralph Wilson Stadium to replace its aging Nortel desk phones with a ShoreTel IP telephony system.

Working with systems integrator PremCom, based in Buffalo, N.Y., the Bills installed a total of 400 new phones at the stadium and at the team's new field house and administration building, called the ADPRO Sports Training Center. In addition, the team deployed contact center software from ShoreTel, as well as a mobile application that extended the telephony features of the new system to employees' smartphones.

UC system advantages

During the 2014 regular season, the Bills and visiting teams used the ShoreTel system to relay game-time decisions. TV crews on the field also used the phones.

"On the old phones, [the Bills] used to have to make extensions for each group. Now, they can provision phones on the fly," Peter Proulx, CEO of PremCom, said. "It's flexibility they didn't have before."

The phones are easy to configure, so employees can customize features without waiting for assistance from IT staff, Proulx said. The IT department benefits from a single, simple user interface for managing communications.

"The old Nortel system had a very cryptic management interface, [and] it wasn't easy for changes to be made on the fly," Proulx said. "The end users have a lot more flexibility, [too], and can change their statuses to let people know exactly where they are." 

The Bills are not the only professional sports team to use the ShoreTel system. Others include the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and San Francisco Giants.

For the Bills, the system has lowered monthly maintenance costs and has reduced the team's carbon footprint. ShoreTel hardware trims power consumption by using fewer servers than the old Nortel system, Proulx said.

ShoreTel unified communications mobile app

For its scouts and traveling employees, the Bills bought ShoreTel Mobility, which is a software-based clone of the desk phone that's installed on a smartphone.

"When administration was away from their desks on the field, they used to just have their cell phones out there," Proulx said. "Now, they'll have their office extension with them with the Mobility application, and they can do business from wherever they are."

As the ShoreTel app is rolled out to more users, and as employees get used to the new UC system, more efficiencies will be found as they start to take advantage of new features. "They'll find ways of having the system work for them," Proulx said.

The team is also deploying ShoreTel's Enterprise Contact Center, which is the Bills' first true contact center application, Proulx said. The software has helped to improve productivity and efficiency in the ticket office.

"They can track live stats and the number of calls coming in, and are able to put more agents on [during peak hours]," he said. "The benefits [the Bills] are getting today from this application is huge."

Let us know what you think about the story; email Gina Narcisi, senior news writer, and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter. 

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