XCEL Energy Center Taps Avaya and Cross Telecom for Event Execution

XCEL Energy Center Taps Avaya and Cross Telecom for Event Execution

June 24, 2011

  • Avaya and Cross create highly reliable infrastructure for communications-intensive event
  • Easy-to-use Avaya 9600 phones sport sophisticated features and team caller IDs to help enable fast decision making
  • Communications help staff and clients collaborate and teams negotiate

When participants stream onto Minnesota’s Xcel Energy Center floor tonight for the NHL Draft to name their picks for the future of the sport, it’s unlikely that the finely tuned technology supporting the event will get a second thought – and that’s a good thing. As part of the advance team, Avaya and Cross Telecom have made sure that when there are seconds to negotiate a change in pick order or execute a trade, communication moves faster than a puck on ice.

It’s the moment Jim Ibister, vice president of the St. Paul RiverCentre and Xcel Energy Center, has been preparing for since last year’s draft.

“We’re a small team with a big business,” said Ibister. “We have a very dynamic environment and a lot of sophisticated requirements to support all events coming in. Managing all pieces of the puzzle is the challenge. So picking the right pieces of the puzzle is critical.”

At Xcel Energy Center, communications plays a critical role helping Ibister’s team collaborate with each other and deliver service – and never more so than with the Draft. The event itself has multiple facets – including a stage show, media center, fans, draft picks and families, and the draft business itself being conducted by a dozen representatives from every team at assigned tables on the arena floor.

“The Draft is a very large IT event – we have networks that allow people at those tables to communicate via Internet, email, and telephone. They can communicate from table to table, to the outside world, to professional scouts able to answer questions about trades, and even to other people in the industry,” said Ibister. “The infrastructure is critical, but for 365 days out of the year prior to the event, it doesn’t exist – having phones and a redundant and reliable network on the arena floor doesn’t exist.”

Avaya and Cross Telecom helped Ibister put together a multi-disciplined plan that gave him the critical – albeit temporary – infrastructure needed and got it in place just days before the event.

“I feel really confident that the time we’ve spent with Avaya, Cross and others in designing this system is rock solid,” said Ibister. “It’s been like finding the edges of a puzzle to make the framework and then filling it in – and we are not going to fail the Draft.”

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