HD VoIP connectivity and branch survivability for a global Lync deployment
MediaMind is a leading global provider of digital advertising campaign management solutions to advertising agencies and advertisers. MediaMind provides media and creative agencies, advertisers and publishers with an integrated platform to manage campaigns across digital media channels and a variety of formats, including rich media, in-stream video, display and search. Headquartered in New York, MediaMind has 40 representation offices across all major markets worldwide, throughout North America, South America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East.
As a global company, with its 550 employees spread around the world, MediaMind needed an efficient solution for its employees to communicate quickly and easily across the different regions. The company was looking for an integrated communication solution that would replace its existing telephony systems to increase their workforce productivity and competitive edge. Among the company’s requirements were features such as instant messaging, presence, and web conferencing. Moreover, MediaMind was looking for ways to lower the communications costs of its growing mobile workforce without affecting productivity or changing work habits. The company had been using Asterisk-based private branch exchanges (PBXs) in its branch offices but lacked centralized administrative tools. This in turn forced MediaMind to invest its limited IT resources in maintaining and managing each of its branch telephony systems separately in every location.
It was clear to MediaMind that a new communications environment was essential in order to be able to address the growing demand of its workforce for innovative collaboration tools, while reducing CAPEX and simplifying maintenance and management processes. MediaMind analyzed several potential solution proposals and determined that the joint solution from Microsoft and AudioCodes provided the best match for its needs. NeWay Technologies, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner which offers system integration services, designed and deployed the Microsoft Lync Server 2010 solution along with AudioCodes’ versatile product offering for Microsoft Unified Communications. The system included AudioCodes Mediant Survivable Branch Appliances (SBAs) for ensuring continuous communications services for branch offices; AudioCodes 320HD IP Phones connected to Lync using AudioCodes SIP Phone Support (SPS); and AudioCodes MobilityPLUS for integrating employees’ existing Smartphone devices with Microsoft Lync and enabling cost-effective VoIP calls by leveraging corporate WiFi networks, public Wi-Fi and mobile 3G/4G broadband data coverage.
Microsoft Lync Server 2010
Microsoft Lync Server 2010 is a key component of Unified Communications. It streamlines communications between people and organizations and delivers software-powered telephony, instant messaging, and unified conferencing (audio, video and Collaboration). Built on Active Directory, and integrated with Exchange Server and Microsoft Office applications, Lync Server 2010 works with existing telephony systems to provide a unified communications platform. It helps save on infrastructure and operating costs, while improving productivity, collaboration, and business outcomes.
AudioCodes Survivable Branch Appliance (SBA)
AudioCodes Survivable Branch Appliances are part of Microsoft Lync architecture. Their main purpose is to increase the voice resiliency in remote branch locations. In times of Wide Area Network (WAN) connection loss or central site failures, branch sites with a Survivable Branch Appliances are able to continue providing Lync services, including making and receiving external PSTN and internal branch office calls. MediaMind initially deployed 16 SBAs based on AudioCodes Mediant 1000 Multi-Service Business Gateways (MSBG), enabling survivable connections of the branch office users with the PSTN, while supporting the local PSTN homologations within the individual countries. In addition, with the expected growth in its workforce, MediaMind already plans to deploy an additional 10 SBAs in its global branch offices. On top of that, as part of its ongoing process to improve efficiency, the company is planning to utilize the built-in Mediant 1000 MSBG upgrade option to add support for advanced Data services including Data Router and Data Firewall thus reducing the number of separate network components and simplifying maintenance and management processes.
AudioCodes SIP Phone Support (SPS) with 320HD IP Phones
Enterprises deploying Microsoft Unified Communications solutions are limited in their choice of IP Phones. Only costly Microsoft-certified, IP Phones from a small number of IP Phone vendors can be used directly with Lync. MediaMind was quick to realize this gap and chose to deploy AudioCodes SIP Phone Support (SPS) software based on Microsoft UCMA interface in each of its branch offices. AudioCodes SPS enables the connectivity of AudioCodes 300HD Series SIP Phones and 3rd party SIP phones into the Microsoft Lync environment. By implementing SPS, MediaMind was able to equip 550 employees with AudioCodes 320HD IP Phones that are optimized to work with Lync Server. The 4-line 320HD model includes a large LCD screen and supports Power over Ethernet (PoE) connectivity and advanced Unified Communications features such as Busy Lamp Field with Lync Presence, RTA Vocoder (wideband and narrowband), Directory lookup and more.
AudioCodes MobilityPLUS for Microsoft Unified Communications
Many enterprises consider mobility to be a critical component for enabling the utilization of office communications and collaboration services from any location. MediaMind found AudioCodes MobilityPLUS solution to be a perfect match. With MobilityPLUS deployed, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices become mobile extensions of Microsoft Lync enabling MediaMind’s employees to collaborate with their co-workers, partners and customers while on the go. MobilityPLUS helped MediaMind save on its mobile communications costs by facilitating Mobile VoIP with the utilization of both Wi-Fi and cellular data connectivity.
AudioCodes’ comprehensive product offering for Microsoft Lync has proved highly valuable to enterprises that are deploying Microsoft UC solutions. AudioCodes SPS and MobilityPLUS expand AudioCodes portfolio of best-of-breed voice products for enterprises, clearly differentiating between AudioCodes’ broad product offering and competing vendors’ offerings which mainly focus on PSTN connectivity.
AudioCodes’ solution resulted in a number of important benefits for MediaMind:
- Comprehensive enterprise communications solution with full integration between Lync and AudioCodes
- Unified solution across all company offices
- Reduced OPEX with centralized management and control
- High reliability with redundancy at main offices and branch office survivability
- Increased productivity through integrated mobile VoIP solution
- Built-in scalability to enable support for extra capacity when required
"As we service the largest advertisers globally, our choice of a Unified Communications system was taken very seriously," said Efi Cohen, Vice President Technology, MediaMind. "We evaluated a number of potential suppliers, and concluded that the combination of Microsoft and AudioCodes offered us the best match for our needs. AudioCodes' products enable us to make the best out of the Microsoft UC environment, by integrating it seamlessly with the PSTN, desktop IP Phones and mobile devices. With AudioCodes Survivable Branch Appliances in each of our sites, our branch office UC users are assured of continuous communications even when the WAN link is interrupted. All of our employees are benefitting from the excellent voice quality of the AudioCodes 320HD IP Phone. The deployment of the entire solution was handled very smoothly and we are already seeing significant enhancements in our employees’ efficiency and productivity."