Moffitt Cancer Center

Mission: Bridge the collaboration gap

As it works to advance the state of cancer research and improve healthcare, the Moffitt Cancer Center has taken its collaboration capabilities across the enterprise again and again by using Cisco solutions. For much of the past decade, Moffitt has relied on Cisco for its video conferencing, digital signage, livestreaming, recording, and a self-branded on-demand video channel. Moffitt has also been working with Cisco to help drive the changes that go into its platforms, and taken part in early field trials of new Cisco products.

After Cisco showed us their CMR offering, we said, “We need this now.”

During these past 10 years, AVI-SPL has played a key role in this partnership by working with Moffitt to integrate those audiovisual solutions into conference rooms, auditoriums, and other areas across the Moffitt campus.

“AVI-SPL has been my go-to for all my video integration,” says John Maass, head of Moffitt’s IT operations.

And so AVI-SPL was called upon again when Moffitt’s leaders wanted to expand the existing collaboration capabilities to bridge a lingering communication gap. That gap was due to an array of video collaboration technology that would lead to conferences marred by technical issues and aggravating delays. A solution would need to promote collaboration among its 4,500 doctors, researchers, and staff across seven campuses in the Tampa area, 23 affiliates throughout Florida, and a global network of partners whose members reach into the tens of thousands.

“Up until a year ago, we had nine different telephony pieces,” says Maass. “That’s a mash of technologies we have to support with a very small crew. So we said, ‘Let’s do best-of-breed.’”

Maass and executives at Moffitt spent three years evaluating their options in order to agree on a just-right solution that would provide a simple way for people across the Moffitt family to interact. The Microsoft engineers on Maass’ IT team recommended Cisco’s Collaboration Meeting Rooms Cloud (CMR), since it would allow Moffitt’s existing Cisco telephony and collaboration systems to work seamlessly with the new solutions.

“After Cisco showed us their CMR offering,” says Maass, “we said, ‘We need this now.’”

Action: Integrate the Collaboration Meeting Room

AVI-SPL’s work integrating the CMR Cloud brings together Moffitt’s desktops and boardrooms, and with them, its people. In light of Moffitt’s aging technology infrastructure, the CMR Cloud provides a solution without requiring an overhaul of existing resources. It’s also easy to use.

“We needed something universally acceptable for people without the infrastructure,” says Maass, who is responsible for over 100 conference rooms, many of which inclue Cisco video endpoints. “If it takes them more than three steps to make collaboration work, they won’t do it.”

Connecting Cisco WebEx personal rooms with the WebEx cloud-based video bridge allows participants to use their personal devices to call into a room codec and connect with its telepresence system. Attendees enjoy the same experience, whether they are in the boardroom or working mobile.

WebEx also ties into VBrick Rev, which delivers live and on-demand video content. CMR integrates with Cisco Spark’s instant messaging feature, which streamlines communication by enabling consistent presence availability among participants.

“I like Spark because you can put all the folks in a single email chain and see their conversation,” says Maass. “I might receive over 700 emails in a day. At the higher level, you don’t need to see every single response – you just want the bullet points.”

Impact: One workflow for end users

Throughout Moffitt, people of every job type and responsibility are benefiting from the CMR Cloud. Doctors use it to set up their own meetings and participate in calls from any device, which has the extra benefit of reducing the burden on IT. Human Resources recruiters conduct high-quality video interviews with out-of-state job applicants because the latter can connect with any standards-based system, including Microsoft Skype. And administrators, board members and other higher ups have the level of telephony services they expect with conventional handset phones, while the call centers can use the soft phones they prefer.

“The biggest advantage to all this for the end users is one workflow,” says Maass. For example, participants can jump into a video call or a WebEx call from a series of Spark messages. They can also transition a Spark call to sharing their screen when it’s time to brainstorm and collaborate.

With WebEx, Moffitt connects the 800 people at its business center with staff at the other locations. It also empowers its people to get out of the office, since they can collaborate from their personal devices and aren’t tied to a desk.

“We can have 1,200 folks on a single WebEx event,” says Maass. “If we need more people on a call, we can set up the event as a streaming lecture with one-way communication.”

So far they’ve had over 200 on one call, one that takes only about 10 minutes to set up – a vast improvement to the hour that Maass’ team previously had to devote to preparing each event.