How cloud computing became a Pan Am Games competitor

The Toronto 2015 sporting extravaganza may become the best case study unified communications-as-a-service has ever had

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Pan Am 2015 early bird tickets

Pick whatever sport you want: basketball, tennis, baseball. In many of the more than 35 events that will be featured at the Pan Am Games in 2015, athletic ability is largely about knowing when and where to make the most of what you have. In most of these sports, you don’t use up all your strength, speed or energy at once, but apply them when it counts. The technology that underpins the Games works much the same way.

As early ticket sales became available last week, most of those planning to attend the Pan Am and Parapan Games in Toronto can probably imagine all the training athletes are doing to get in shape. Behind the scenes, Allstream has already equipped the organizers’ head offices with our Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), which was designed to be as ready for action as the most well-prepared Pan Am competitor.

Though many IT and business professionals are still uncertain about where cloud computing makes sense in their organization, HCS and the Pan Am Games is a great example of where a product and use case come together perfectly. The unified communications features in HCS — such as messaging, conferencing and video — have all been available for a long time in the on-premise model, where everything was deployed at the customer’s location. As a cloud-based offering, though, HCS couples all those features and functions with the flexibility that an event like the Pan Am Games needs. These include:

  • Rapid deployment
  • Dynamic scalability
  • Reduced IT expenditures
  • End-to-end management
  • Increased resiliency and security
  • Detailed control and visibility

The Pan Am Games and Parapan Games are not alone in recognizing the power of unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), of course. As market research firm Gartner Inc. pointed out in its recent Magic Quadrant report that ranks various UCaaS vendors, the challenges are largely about what’s happened in the past rather than the future potential of the technology.

“Enterprises developing plans in UC today continue to face difficult choices. At a high level, they must choose between a longer-term on-premises approach versus a cloud strategy,” the report says. “Then, as an enterprise develops its specific migration plans, it must determine how it wishes to migrate. The decision for many enterprises is further complicated because integrating existing telephony and video investments with added UC functionality is the most cost-effective approach, but may change the migration plan or pace.”

Of course, the Games are not burdened by a lot of legacy infrastructure or migration issues. Instead, HCS will allow the organizers to facilitate real-time collaboration across a dynamic group of stakeholders as venues go live and we get closer to the summer 2015 opening ceremonies. Also, one of the largest challenges of the Pan Am team is the dynamic nature of having huge volunteer churn, plus a constantly changing full time workforce.  This is a true strength of HCS, as they can very quickly scale to the requirements.

In fact, the Pan Am/ParaPan Games will not only be a showcase for talented athletes, but for UCaaS as a winning delivery model that more organizations should investigate. It may not be the reason people start buying tickets, but for IT professionals it could be well worth the price of admission.

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