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ECAR-CIA Contacts

Co-chairs: Jim Jokl, University of Virginia, and Mark Katsouros, The Pennsylvania State University
Staff Liaison: Karen A. Wetzel, EDUCAUSE
ECAR-CIA Working Group Roster

Current Projects

Improving Institutional Collaboration Through Unified Communications: A Study of Current Implementations

Many higher education institutions are experiencing a fundamental shift in enterprise communication and collaboration. Traditional telephone and e-mail systems provide reliable and highly available voice and text communication, but users of these technologies are beginning to see greater possibilities, such as multi-modal communications, presence, mobility, document collaboration, and virtual meetings. Each of these new possibilities are often viewed as disparate technology solutions, but a greater outcome is achievable by integrating these technologies into Unified Communications (UC). Through a series of case studies, this white paper will present different approaches to this paradigm shift along with the real-world challenges and benefits encountered.
Project currently underway; expected publication: September 2014


Promise and Reality of SDN

This joint project with ECAR-CCI and ECAR-CIA lwill answer the questions: what is software-defined networking, where will it help you in the long-term, and where does it stand now?
Project currently underway; expected publication: December 2014

Interested in working on these topics? Contact us!


The ECAR Communications Infrastructure and Applications (ECAR-CIA) Working Group focuses on the challenges that higher-education institutions face with respect to enterprise communication, collaboration, and mobility. Group participants pool their collective resources, time, and energy towards investigating specific challenges and opportunities in this space, sharing individual solutions, and developing effective practices for the higher-education community.

ECAR-CIA aims to help the organizational decision-makers in this space (senior IT managers, CIOs, CTOs, COOs, CFOs, provosts, etc.) focus on the important communication technology issues: emerging and evolving technologies, operational challenges, peer benchmarking, policies and procedures, federal and state regulations, staffing and service structures, strategic planning, sustainable funding models, and other relevant topics. In addition, we believe it is crucial to provide a forum for meeting with vendors, especially as more core IT services are potentially commoditized and/or cast into the cloud, and as the seamless integration and interoperability of multiple vended and locally-developed solutions becomes even more of a necessity and challenge.

The scope of this working group typically includes investigations around:

  • Telecommunications, including IP telephony, dual-mode phones, wireless, mobile infrastructures, and fixed-mobile convergence
  • Unified communications
  • Collaborative communications, including presence awareness, videoconferencing, telepresence, application sharing, and collaboration platforms
  • Communication in the cloud
  • Support for specific communications technologies, such as VoIP, SIP, campus LAN/Wi-Fi, cellular, GPS, and GIS
  • Emergency communications management and notification
  • Social networking

The working group welcomes input, ideas, and participation from the higher education community. Contact us at



See all ECAR Working Group Resources. Visit the EDUCAUSE library.


Join This Group

Members meet biweekly to identify and discuss specific projects. To get involved, contact us.


New from ECAR-CIA:
Emergency Notification Strategy

ENS technology strategies to consider when determining the best notification system for your institution, along with recommendations that will help you make implementation and usage decisions.

Distributed Antenna Systems: Briefing Note

This briefing note provides an overview of distributed antenna system (DAS) solutions for in-building wireless coverage for cellular voice services on higher education campuses.

First Look: Integrated Communications Technology Survey

In late 2011 this group conducted a survey in order to better understand what peer institutions are doing when it comes to universal communication (UC). The short survey had questions in three main areas:

  1. Voice Platforms and Services
  2. Voice Integration with Related Platforms
  3. Your Opinions

This First Look includes highlights from section one of the survey, as well as shares more information about the areas covered in sections two and three.


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