Matt Brunk
Matt Brunk has worked in past roles as director of IT for a multisite health care firm; president of Telecomworx,...
Read Full Bio >>

Matt Brunk | December 23, 2016 |


All I Want for Christmas...

All I Want for Christmas... For schools undergoing technology refreshes, every little bit helps.

For schools undergoing technology refreshes, every little bit helps.

Around this time of year, I think about Spike Jones & His City Slickers, who sang the infamous song, "All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth" -- a melody showing what Christmas is all about for a kid who wants something more than presents or toys and candy. While I won't sing a tune, I will tell a story about what 183 kids in a southern Florida school need.

I recently completed a significant build-out of a campus infrastructure that included layering in a WLAN. While the process was complex and lengthy, the deeper conversations I had with the teachers and administrators while there were also significant.

The school was challenged with getting into a more positive technology position, requiring updated infrastructure to support new devices and an online learning curriculum. Budgets being tight, I had to ask its maintenance staff to do work they wouldn't have typically done. The staff was asked to help install badly needed new infrastructure, including conduit, cabling, fiber, and equipment cabinets, in addition to digging trenches to replace and repair underground conduit connected to other buildings. This whole process led me to develop a good friendship with Edgar, a retired machinist who taught me some pretty cool fixes along the way as we built out this infrastructure of PVC, Cat-6P/UTP, and fiber.

Edgar and I set out to clean up the campus cabling, because the broadband provider that installed aerial cables for older services refused to remove their old cabling. One thing I've learned well over the years is that installing the right materials for areas with weather challenges -- like being in a hurricane zone, for example -- will make all the difference. And in the case of this school, it has thus far. We also resolved a 'Wi-Fi Gone Wrong' effort; replacing it with a viable hosted solution put the school in a much better technology and connectivity position. All these events took place in May through August, which unfortunately is during the hot season. But I'm happy to report that the sweat equity is paying off.

But of course, just when you think you are making progress and things are looking up, something blows up. Such was the case in this story, as a giant iguana chose this point in time to scale the power pole and toast itself, blowing the transformer in the process. No, I'm not kidding. Unfortunately, this caused a surge which damaged some of the gear onsite. But no matter, we pushed forward with the project to revitalize the school's technology position -- just a little road bump.


As I touched on earlier, one of the forces driving this infrastructure refresh was the school's plans to move students to an online curriculum. Additionally, the school was striving to achieve a one-to-one student to device ratio, an initiative many schools across the country are undergoing. This school in my story has enrollment of 225 students, and needs 183 Chromebooks to close the gap and meet that one-to-one goal. With the help of multiple fundraisers and funds from the E-Rate program, the school has been able to pay for its much needed infrastructure -- one that, if I might say so myself, is running lean and mean.

I've been able to add some endpoint protection for the staff computers using a free service from Avast and rebuild all the workstations on campus. My IT buddy in D.C. has been assisting me by giving me punch lists of tasks to knock out on the workstations, as well as spending countless hours pro bono remotely fixing servers. I should also mention, Microsoft's free and reduced licensing for education, Tech Soup, and Google's free services for education have been instrumental in getting software and services to this school, too.

The to-do list for this school's technology revitalization seems never ending. Even so, we seem to have made small successes and advances. With a limited number of devices the school does have -- consisting mostly of 6-year old iPads and 7-year old MacBooks -- the school manages to utilize technology for both online testing (assessment) and curriculum applications. The devices are shared and moved between classes when teachers need them.

This brings me to "All I Want for Christmas" ... Chromebooks that are no longer needed would be a huge blessing to this school and the many other schools around the country that are in similar positions. I know old devices are out there, and as technology ages, they eventually get dumped, boxed, or forgotten about. Consider donating your old devices to schools in need this holiday season.

Wishing you all the very best of happy holidays and a Merry Christmas.

Follow Matt Brunk on Twitter and Google+!
Matt Brunk on Google+


Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem

Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

January 24, 2018

Communications, collaboration, and contact center systems are all being delivered from the cloud, to more enterprises each year. With the cloud growing in strategic importance, the question is what

December 13, 2017

The two major vendors in the Unified Communications space, Cisco and Microsoft, are both strongly promoting their cloud UC deployments. If cloud UC is on your enterprises roadmap, but you dont want

November 29, 2017

As video conferencing use rises in the enterprise, businesses are looking for ways to bring this technology out of traditional conference room and make it more broadly accessible. That's made the h

December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.