The Crossing Studios Reduces
IT Overhead and Improves Communications in its Fast Expanding Production Facilities by Making a Quick Transition to the Cloud 

 
Avaya Case Study
 

Experiencing the kind of explosive growth that had employees feeling as if they were “on a runaway train,” The Crossing Studios expanded from one to eight production facilities almost overnight, and now rents more than 330,000 square-feet of studio space to Hollywood film and TV productions. 

With Burnaby and the rest of B.C.’s burgeoning film industry showing no signs of slowing down, the region’s fastest-growing studio provider turned to Unity’s cloud UC solution, powered by Avaya IP Office, a scalable, affordable and easy-to-manage communications platform that would support its rapid expansion while meeting the high expectations of its clients’ specific demands.

Fast, Seamless Transition
to the Cloud Keeps Business Rolling

To satisfy growing demand from U.S. film studios, The Crossing Studios rapidly converted warehousing space, but quickly found itself with eight buildings in various locations, all running disparate communications technology. While fast growth is of course one of those good problems for businesses to have, it was nevertheless a challenge for the studio provider’s IT staff, who had to set up and manage phone systems at every location for each production that rented space. 


CHALLENGES

  • Multiple studios with disparate, difficult-to-maintain phone systems 

  • Demanding clients require scalable solutions in expedited time frames 

  • Separate phone systems were unreliable 


VALUE CREATED 

  • Over $100k saved in IT resources 

  • Scalable, seamless integration across eight production studios 

  • Secure, always-on communication 


Since every production is different, first and foremost we needed a high-quality, easy-to-manage solution that would provide our clients with secure, stable networks and the rich communication features they were asking for. We needed something that would support our rapid growth, support our clients, and grow our bottom line

A Simple, Scalable Communications Platform That’s Easy to Manage

 
Avaya Communications Platform
 

Film productions scale up and down quickly, going from a few individuals to more than a hundred supporting personnel almost overnight, with little (if any) advanced notice. While in the past Herrmann and his staff would spend days going back and forth to their different facilities, programming each phone system to each production’s specific needs, The Crossing Studios can now resolve any client request in just a few hours, quickly adding or removing users or features to the network at any one of its eight sites.

Avaya Case Study - Crossing Studios

Having opted for managed services around its hosted cloud solution, the studio provider simply emails Unity when one of the productions has a new request. This not only makes it easy to deliver and manage a consistent communications environment that fits each of its client’s needs, it also helps the business save money on managing and maintaining its network infrastructure, helping control operating costs and reducing the workload of IT staff.

Simplifying the delivery of unified communications to its customers, Herrmann estimates that using managed services for Unity’s cloud UC solution, Powered by Avaya IP Office, has helped save The Crossing Studios at least a $100,000 in staffing costs in the first year alone, with an additional $100,000 in savings expected next year as the business continues to expand and add facilities. 

 

Secure, Resilient Networks
that Studios Can Rely On 

 
Avaya Secure Network
 

During a film production, it’s essential that producers, directors, crew and actors stay in constant contact with their executive producers, creative team and agents back in Hollywood. After all, with multi-million dollar shoots operating on tight schedules that run up to 12 to 15 hours a day, any loss in network connectivity could result in an expensive delay that costs the production thousands of dollars an hour. 

Thanks to IP Office and the hosted cloud model, we’re able to keep pace with these dynamic, fast-moving productions, staying as flexible as our clients need us to be,” says Herrmann. “Now when I get that early morning call from the studio telling me they need ten new users up and running on the system, all I have to do is send an email and it’s done within hours

However, with high availability and uptime with resilient architecture — all secured with identity-based access control, Unity’s cloud UC solution, Powered by Avaya IP Office — has proven to be exactly what The Crossing Studios’ clients need. With the platform, not only will entire locations failover to a secondary server, but customizable groups or even single extensions can be configured to failover to any location within the system. And in the event of a system outage, the IP phones with active calls stay connected, while idle IP phones simply re-register to the designated failover server. Offering best-in-class security and resiliency, the hosted cloud solution also ensures privacy and data integrity — two things every studio is looking for after the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures. 

In addition to security and reliability, Avaya’s cloud-based communications deliver crisp and clean Voice over IP at all times, with no network degradation even when productions quickly scale up to hundreds of users. As far as usability is concerned, the studios also like the simple, straightforward handsets and time-saving features such as Auto Attendant, which redirects calls to specific extensions without having to go through a receptionist, and Mobile Twinning, which automatically forwards calls from a user’s office phone to their cell phone, helping the productions better communicate with their studios back in L.A., without delay.

Avaya’s cloud-based communicationsAvaya cloud communications

Billing also couldn’t be easier with Unity’s cloud UC solution, Powered by Avaya IP Office. Instead of having to send each studio itemized invoices with their long distance phone charges — a scenario that’s every bit as bone-chilling as most horror movies today — The Crossing Studios simply charges the productions on a per user basis. Each user is entitled to 500 bundled minutes (inbound and outbound) and free calls inside North America, and better yet, the minutes can be pooled across each of the facilities, thereby reducing costs for all involved. The Crossing Studios also has the flexibility to turn off the service when a production wraps, and switch it back on when a new studio comes into their facility.

 

A Hollywood-ending
that Demands a Sequel

 
Avaya IP Office Case Study
 

With business showing no signs of slowing down, The Crossing Studios is looking at acquiring an additional 200,000 square-feet of production space in the near future. And thanks to Unity’s cloud UC solution, Powered by Avaya IP Office, the studio provider has a scalable, future-proofed communications infrastructure that can keep up with its rapid growth. 

“I’m always out in the field making sure our clients are happy, and to this point we have received nothing but praise and support for the solution. For an IT guy and a former employee of the telephone company, I can’t tell you how strange it is not to have any complaints,” laughs Herrmann. “From a metrics perspective, Avaya IP Office ticks every box. Is it what my clients are looking for? Yes. Are they happy with the solution? Yes. Is it costing me a lot of money to service and maintain? It’s definitely not. I really couldn’t have chosen a better solution.”


From a metrics perspective, Avaya IP Office ticks every box. Is it what my clients are looking for? Yes. Are they happy with the solution? Yes. Is it costing me a lot of money to service and maintain? Definitely not. I really couldn’t have chosen a better solution.
— Mark Herrmann, Chief Technical Officer, The Crossing Studios

In the year ahead, The Crossing Studios hopes to implement a video collaboration solution to allow productions to have face-to-face calls and meetings with their execs back in Hollywood. One possible option the business is exploring is Avaya Equinox™, a single platform that supports all the different modes of conferencing. High scale audio conferencing, extensive web collaboration, rich multi-vendor HD video conferencing, even event streaming to 100,000 users in an all-in-one software solution. Users can participate in meetings from mobiles, through their desktops and web browsers, along with H.323 or SIP video conferencing room systems. 

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