The cooler autumn weather means the end of gardening season, as we pick those last few ripening tomatoes off the vine before the first freeze and watch our summer annuals begin to wilt. Maybe a few of us have small greenhouses that allow us to grow just enough to supply fresh veggies through the winter. For most of us, it means a weekly return to the grocery store produce section until next year's harvest. Only a few die-hard gardners will find space in their tiny- backyard greenhouses to grow decoratives for the next year.

metrolinaThe onset of cooler weather is never a problem for Metrolina Greenhouses, a Huntersville, North Carolina, nursery that has mastered growing decorative annuals and perrenials regardless of the weather outside. With over 162 acres of greenhouse space, Metrolina Greenhouses is bigger than two-and-a-half Malls of America or 122 American Football fields. Even the coporate office is under the transparent roof. Walking is not a viable option for getting around Metrolina Greenhouses, so on any given day visitors can witness a veritable flurry of activity with workers buzzing around on bicycles, scooters, and golfcarts. Plants are shuttled from one area to another on trains of seven-foot-tall carts pulled by lawn tractors. Although Metrolina Greenhouses has no problems producing beautiful plants year round, it did have a different problem before Telware stepped in to help.

Season of Change

As you might guess, a facility of that scale made communications difficult to say the least. Add to that a couple of remote locations in South Carolina, and the task got even more complicated. Unfortunately, Metrolina Greenhouses also had an old phone system that was unreliable and not compatible with the phone system at one of the newly acquired remote sites. Clearly, it was time for a change.

Metrolina Greenhouses' IT staff needed to solve multiple issues:

  • Poor call quality on the old phone system,
  • The old phone system dropped calls frequently,
  • Normally easy tasks like answering a call, transfers, and hold all required PC login and interaction on the computer screen,
  • Technical support for the old phone system was difficult to find,
  • Remote locations needed to be integrated into the network.

Making Unified Communication Easy Again

For years, Metrolina Greenhouses has looked to TelWare for its voice and data cabling needs, and decided to enlist TelWare's expertise in implementing a new telephone and network solution. TelWare designed and installed a unified communication solution that solved these problems and gave users added features. Telware also coordinated the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) architecture reconfiguration with the local ISP (Internet Service Provider) and created multiple VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks) to seperate voice, video and data traffic on the network. This is what TelWare provided:

  • Avaya Network Switches,
  • Avaya Remote Server,
  • Xima Server for call reporting,
  • Avaya IP Office Server Edition phone system,
  • Avaya 9608 IP telephones,
  • Integration of customer provided IP office phone system and network equipment at a remote site.

With the new IP Office phone system, users no longer need to log into their computers in order to make phone calls; they each have their own personalized conference bridge; conferences bridges are larger, with up to 60 participants; call reliability is restored; and remote sites are networked in.

But, even as the seasons are always changing, so is Metrolina Greenhouses. Telware recently returned to relocate a network and phone closet to accomodate the horticulturists' remodeled and expanded shipping and receiving office, and will soon implement a new emergency paging solution throughout the complex. In a business as successful as Metrolina Greenhouses, changes come at a swift pace. Surely Telware will be called on again as we slip into another season.

TelWare is a national leader in the installation of voice, video, data and unified communication solutions. Contact TelWare at 1-800-637-3148 or to see how we can help your organization. TelWare is an Authorized Avaya, Mitel, and Star2Star Dealer.

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