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Cisco network really was $100 million more

California State explains RFP that produced wide delta in Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent bids

By , Network World
October 25, 2012 05:08 PM ET

Page 2 of 2

SJSU is replacing three legacy phone systems with a Cisco VoIP implementation supporting integrated voice/data and video. The university is also implementing WebEx conferencing in each classroom, Wi-Fi access across the campus, high-definition TelePresence conferencing in 51 "learning spaces," and a new switch and router infrastructure to support it all.

"We're using technology to provide a better learning environment," says SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi. "We want to make sure students will be successful. Our view was not what hardware or software we were looking at; our view was a comprehensive solution with a strong emphasis on learning and the delivery of learning content and the students' success."

Cisco is SJSU's incumbent vendor, just as it is with the entire CSU system. Asked if SJSU put the project out for bid, Qayoumi said the university "looked at the industry at what was available.

"No other vendor could meet the needs," he said. "They may have better cost or performance but the more important element in a university is how all of these technologies connect together and work as an integrated solution."

SJSU worked with Cisco over a six- to nine-month period designing a system, Qayoumi said. He said he didn't know if SJSU took part in the RFP evaluation that culminated in Alcatel-Lucent winning the $22 million systemwide contract.

"I don't know, but I don't believe we participated in the CSU systemwide evaluation," he said. "I don't know what kind of committee system the chancellor's office had set up for evaluating Alcatel.

"If you look at the overall solution ... you might make savings in one particular aspect, whether it's hardware, software or servers," he said. "But our view was, how does it really meet the needs of all of our students and the needs of our faculty and staff. That was the most critical element for us."

Davidoff declined to comment on SJSU's decision to go in another direction for its network infrastructure. The first year of the SJSU project will be funded by the sale of SJSU's Educational Broadband Service spectrum, and additional funds will come from the university's IT services office budget, a new student fee, and monies from the continuing education program.

Cisco declined to comment for this story.

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 25 years, 21 at Network World. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy.

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