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CBTS helps governments use telehealth technology

Businesswoman showing laptop to doctor in hospital Telehealth and telemedicine aren’t new concepts, but emerging technologies and robust networks mean they can be implemented more easily and effectively.

However, there are still challenges to adoption and effective deployment, especially for government-supported initiatives. Key hurdles include budget constraints, siloed IT departments, and organizational structures that traditionally haven’t had to work together. To solve these problems, governments at all levels, in collaboration with community organizations, are turning to their technology partners.

Tim Lonsway, Regional Director at CBTS, works with many state and regional governments to adopt telehealth and telemedicine technologies. Adoption is growing, but there are still growing pains.

What is the state of telehealth today, and what’s driving it compared with a decade ago?

There’s private healthcare, but there are also hooks all over the place with education, higher education, and then, of course, government activity, because governments have hospitals. They do healthcare activities and health services. There are other opportunities such as addiction services and corrections facilities care for individuals, and even out into rural K-12 schools, where it’s hard to get nurses.

There are federal or state requirements that require a certain amount of capabilities to service the constituents of a given community. It’s exemplified by the fact that the federal government is funding certain programs to implement telehealth solutions into those rural areas to provide some additional help, or even in urban deserts where it’s difficult to attract and maintain a workforce.

What are some of the newer technologies that are helping deliver on these mandates?

It can be as simple as a laptop with a camera, a microphone, and an internet connection. But you still need the software and the software packages behind the scenes. You must document changes because ultimately there are compliance rules. Hospitals do a lot of collaboration and sharing of information, and they leverage a lot for training.

It’s really the ability to use, store, and share anything over a distance. You’re taking your entire hospital capabilities and putting them in the palm of your hand with mobile devices, laptops, and tablets.

Are there still technological challenges given the bandwidth available to remote communities, or do we have all the pieces?

The pieces are there. It’s the distribution of the capabilities that is always going to be a challenge, and the consistencies of the deployments. There are other technologies that may suck away bandwidth from those mission-critical life-saving activities. And then it’s the deployment of the individual technologies. Do the applications feed back properly into the various systems? Did you deploy the technology properly so it’s sustainable and supportable?

And you go into some of these smaller areas with these great ideas, like with K-12s, where you’re putting big kinds of multiple video box, all-in-one monitor, speaker, camera, keyboard, into a school, and the technology just sits there. And then, of course, there’s the quality of the individual implementations once you get out to remote and rural areas.

What are the key challenges for governments looking to support telehealth aside from budget constraints?

The biggest challenge is multiple governments or entities or agencies. Better end user services are different than mental health and addictive services, for example. It’s different than youth corrections facilities or adult corrections facilities. You not only have administrators and policy makers at the top, but your technologists within each of those silos. They all have different challenges and they create their own organizations. There’s lots of overlap. But those are starting to consolidate. It’s about the money, but it’s also about the inefficiencies of how the money gets allocated and distributed to deploy technology.

How are governments looking to technology partners like CBTS to solve these challenges?

The trend away from doing individual siloed work has really been going on for about 10 years, and has gotten a lot of traction over the last five or six years. The IT partner comes in and says, “We’ll take those basic infrastructure services off your plate. We’ll worry about compliance and adoption and availability, security vulnerabilities, bandwidth constraints, computing constraints, resource management, all that stuff. You can focus on the business of treating cases or educating students or whatever it is you might be doing.”

That’s really where the partnerships come together. They help governments focus further upstream and break down those silos.

How beneficial are emerging technologies and “as-a-Service” models for deploying them?

In these environments, they may or may not have an enterprise network. Plain internet connections aren’t secure or robust enough to handle the traffic. The ability to leverage software-defined networks to prioritize the traffic and create what looks like an enterprise network meshes it all together and creates the right environment.

Network-as-a-Service or compute-as-a-service, storage-as-a-service, SD-WAN, even wireless LAN-as-a-service enables organizations to basically create line items on their monthly invoice at a consumption level. You can predict it, you can plan for it, you can budget it. Those types of services are tremendous for government. The adoption of partnerships are there and they’re continuing to expand and grow.

Reds, CBTS partner to leverage NaaS

Network as a Service (NaaS) technology isn’t typically associated with Opening Day and baseball, but with the 2018 season now under way, it’s a great time for us to share details about a technology partnership between CBTS and the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds are leveraging the CBTS NaaS solution, built on Cisco Meraki technology, to create pop-up networks at each of the team’s minor league facilities and Spring Training facility that are accessible through Meraki’s Auto Virtual Private Network technology.

This technology allows Reds Front Office executives and scouts to watch players in real time at any one of the team’s locations across the United States. In previous years, Reds officials had to wait for videos of players to be transmitted digitally, which is an inefficient, time-consuming and expensive process.

CBTS provides monitoring, management of NaaS

Video conferencing Hosted Enterprise UC

CBTS sourced the necessary Internet connectivity at each Reds location, deployed the solution, and provides 24/7/365 monitoring and management of the network. CBTS’ NaaS solution is secure, flexible, and will scale to meet the team’s future needs.

“MLB is an extremely competitive landscape, and leveraging NaaS technology from CBTS will give the Reds an important edge as we work to develop top talent and scout across our organization,” said Brian Keys, Vice President of Technology at the Cincinnati Reds, in a release announcing the partnership.

Click here to learn more about Network as a Service from CBTS.


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CBTS helps clients drive business outcomes  

CBTS helps clients drive business outcomes through the right technology products and services.

These business outcomes don’t just include financial goals. Healthcare providers, for example, consider providing value-based care a critical business outcome as they move away from volume-based models of care.

Healthcare has experienced massive consolidation over the past decade, a trend that is taxing internal IT resources. CBTS is partnering with several large healthcare organizations that, after growing through a series of mergers and acquisitions, are managing disparate voice technologies across multiple locations.

These organizations need a cost-efficient, holistic solution that meets their current needs, scales for future growth, and gives their internal IT organizations bandwidth to focus on value-added initiatives.

CBTS is there to help drive these specific desired business outcomes.

The Case in Point

CBTS recently implemented a Cisco-based Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution for a major regional healthcare organization with $5.6 billion in assets and 33,000 employees. This organization is the largest healthcare provider in the State of Ohio, and has hospitals and physician offices throughout Ohio and Kentucky.

Ultimately, the client had to replace a mix of outdated PBX systems that it inherited through a series of acquisitions, and move to a single UCaaS solution for all locations. The solution also required improved quality of service (QoS) for voice calling, supporting the quick addition of new properties, meeting compliance requirements, and supporting teleconferencing and other apps that are essential to improving the patient experience.

Business woman and doctor

A Fully Managed Healthcare Solution

CBTS recommended a hosted, fully managed voice solution in this case to support the client’s desired business outcomes and IT resource needs.

With this solution now in place, the rapidly growing healthcare provider can focus its internal IT resources on value-added initiatives while CBTS manages its voice network, which must be available 24x7x365 to support continuous patient care.

CBTS also is managing the client’s migration from legacy PBX to new VoIP systems on a site-to-site basis. Currently, the older equipment and new UCaaS systems are centrally managed from the CBTS Enterprise Network Operations Center (ENOC).

The CBTS solution also supports TelePresence Video Centers now available across acute care facilities throughout the client’s healthcare network for videoconferencing among medical practitioners. After an initial rollout at 50 sites, new units are being added on a gradual basis.

CBTS staff at the ENOC also administers a Cisco Emergency Responder (CER), which works with the Cisco phone system to enhance 911 calling. CER is designed to ensure calls are routed to the correct Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) for the caller’s location, and that emergency calls are returned if necessary. The emergency response system also tracks phone locations.

A number of integration points are included in the network for easy addition of third-party healthcare apps.

People Power, Too

Engineering expertise is necessary to fully leverage this innovative technology.  CBTS deployed two dozen employees to the client’s network sites – including project managers, design architects, and implementation and design engineers – along with approximately 40 professional consultants specializing in various aspects of this project.

This is what we mean when we say CBTS helps our clients drive business outcomes.

CBTS has extensive experience working with multi-site health care organizations on their voice application needs. Want to learn more about this ongoing healthcare IT initiative? Read the case study here.

CBTS offers broad expertise across practices

The IT professionals at CBTS have broad expertise across multiple practices: Communications, Cloud Services, Infrastructure Solutions, and Consulting Services. This allows CBTS to engineer and implement solutions that are tailored to meet customer needs.  

CBTS clients include Fortune 20 and Forbes Global 2000 companies. We serve organizations in all verticals, including Education, where we recently demonstrated our broad expertise and customized approach with client Morehead State University (MSU).  

MSU serves nearly 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students from 41 states and 31 countries, and operates a main campus and regional campuses throughout eastern Kentucky. MSU engaged CBTS while moving to a universal communications infrastructure that integrates voice, video, and data. The solution also reduces costs across MSU’s five branches. 

MSU invested in a cloud-enabled collaborative communications system from Cisco, which CBTS fully manages.  

Lower Costs for Voice Calling  

The new solution allowed MSU to move from an antiquated analog PBX system into the Hosted Enterprise Unified Communications (UC) solution from CBTS, which features a utility based pricing model and consistent experience across MSU’s footprint. The solution includes 1,500 Cisco handsets with charges billed per phone on a monthly basis, which creates a predictable pricing model. 

This solution is also driving more collaboration and greater productivity among MSU’s faculty and other staff.  

Woman at computer

Additional Collaborative Tools 

Hosted Enterprise UC from CBTS features a full suite of unified communication apps from Cisco, including telephony, messaging, softphone, instant messaging (IM) and presence, video, conferencing, and more.  

CBTS also incorporated a centralized SIP trunking system for MSU, which provides a secure digital PBX environment. Other components include a call manager and call centers. CBTS provided all network design, installation, training, and monitoring for the unified cloud infrastructure, and handles remote monitoring and management. 

MSU is just one example of how we have broad expertise throughout the IT landscape.  There are many more examples like this with other technologies such as cloud, consulting and infrastructure. 

Want to discover more about the fully managed networks at MSU? Read the case study here. 


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NaaS Is the Future of Food Service Networking

Food service customers have long memories, and they love to tell family and friends about their experiences—good and bad. Even when the memory of a delicious meal starts to fade, they remember the quality of the customer service. That’s why savvy food service owners evaluate their point of sale (POS) systems just as carefully as they evaluate their menus to ensure each part of the system, such as payment transactions, inventory management, and sales applications, serves their mission and their bottom line.

From Legacy to NaaS
Even the most knowledgeable food service owners face increasing costs and thin margins, showing the importance of having the best networks in place to maximize the benefits and justify the costs of POS systems. Food services are transitioning from legacy network systems to the Network as a Service (NaaS) model in increasing numbers, primarily because NaaS addresses the need for dependable Wi-Fi and network security at a price that doesn’t fluctuate each month.

Network as a Service with SD-WAN
CBTS recently added Network as a Service with software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) , a solution that offers food service owners the kind of reliability and business-computing power they currently need with the flexibility to grow in the future as their businesses expand.

SD-WAN Is a Cost-Saving Powerhouse
Based on Cisco’s Meraki technology, SD-WAN technology provided by CBTS maximizes the automatic provisioning of important network security components—such as firewalls—faster and at a fraction of the expense of conventional bandwidth services. Additionally, SD-WAN’s ability to connect remotely to multi-location businesses gives owners powerful flexibility in addressing the specific needs of different locations, such as providing secure guest Wi-Fi.  Owners can also leverage their marketing power by tapping into the strategies offered by NaaS location analytics.

Furthermore, CBTS’ tech engineering team provides expertise that food service owners can rely on to ensure their NaaS systems work seamlessly. This eliminates the costly expenses of hiring IT consultants or maintaining in-house staff to handle network systems.

Utility Pricing for Cost Reductions with No Surprises
The NaaS utility-pricing model effectively manages present and future costs. Benefits include:

  • Monthly fixed costs for equipment and management
  • No capital investments for expensive network equipment
  • No technology obsolescence worries (hardware refreshing is built into the solution lifecycle)
  • Better performance than legacy systems at a lower cost

24/7 Expert IT Technical Support
CBTS’ IT team specializes in enterprise-level technology. They handle the ins and outs of the network infrastructure, and this allows food service owners to put their network worries in the hands of a team fully equipped to monitor networks and troubleshoot around the clock.

With CBTS’ world-class business operations managing their networks, owners can concentrate on leveraging the power of NaaS to scale operations at their desired pace without increasing costs by adding new users or new locations to individual networks. It’s a win-win proposition that food services can’t afford to ignore and customers are sure to notice. Migrate from expensive MPLS to robust Network as a Service with SD-WAN.

Learn about Network as a Service and SD-WAN from CBTS.


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