Q&A with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI)

The EBCI Works Smarter with Video Conferencing in the Cloud.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) is the only Indian tribe in North Carolina that is federally recognized by the US government. EBCI runs its own government, including educational and recreational services, public health and human services, and a public safety and sanitation department. The tribe is situated across 56,000 mountainous acres, which means traveling to division buildings even half a mile apart can take considerable time. We spoke with Jeremy Brown, the audio/ video administrator for EBCI, about the tribe’s recent switch from Lifesize’s on-premise solution to Lifesize® Cloud, and how the conversion to the cloud-based application is helping save time, money and resources.

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

“I can deploy Skype for Business for my desktop users that integrates seamlessly with Lifesize. Essentially, we are able to enhance our Skype for Business environment, which is a great additional benefit.”

Why did you switch from Lifesize’s on-premise solution to Lifesize’s application?

We no longer wanted to maintain conference rooms outfitted with expensive video equipment. We don’t need all those bells and whistles anymore because we are now able to launch our video meetings from any personal device. Also, audio is so much better now. Even though the video with Lifesize has always been fantastic, we would occasionally face audio issues. For example, some users wanted to call into a video meeting on their phones, but they couldn’t easily figure out how to do that with the onpremise solution. Cloud finally makes that happen. We’re ridiculously happy with how Lifesize Cloud is working. It’s becoming a big part of our daily workflow.

How are you using Lifesize?

The biggest user right now is our Public Health and Human Services Department. The director is constantly scheduling meetings with Lifesize’s technology. It makes no sense to run all over the state to meet with people when you can just use Lifesize. We also have council members and executives who travel quite a bit, so getting them together in the same room can be challenging. With Lifesize, they can communicate face to face no matter where they are. We are also using the cloud-based application for telemedicine. We operate our own hospital, so patients use Lifesize to communicate with medical specialists outside our boundary area. We have set up these rooms where patients can come in and talk to specialists. This is something we simply were not capable of doing before Lifesize.

How is the new Lifesize solution benefiting your organization?

It has made my network administration team a lot happier. With our previous Lifesize deployment, we needed on-premise equipment, such as servers, that are expensive to run and maintain. With the new Lifesize application, we don’t need any of that equipment anymore, and we don’t have to keep paying maintenance fees on those servers. Also, we would always have to worry about opening certain firewalls or installing software before starting a meeting. Now, all those issues are gone. All we have to do is get users on the internet. We can get our video meetings up and running with just a few clicks and nothing to install.

Were there any aha moments in your use of the Lifesize application?

The biggest surprise was getting Lifesize® Cloud Amplify, Lifesize’s recording and sharing feature. I remember dreaming about the ability to record our video conferences and thinking that it would be massive for our folks here. Sometimes people can’t make the video conference, and now we can share a recording of those meetings with a simple web link. I even use the Amplify recording feature to create a series of 30-second tutorials on things like how to reset your password or how to hook up an HDMI cable in the conference room. Lifesize has become my own little production studio.

Does Lifesize integrate with some of your other solutions?

We recently switched to Microsoft Enterprise, which means we are now using Skype for Business. So instead of having to buy thousands of seats of Lifesize, I can deploy Skype for Business for my desktop users [and it] integrates seamlessly with Lifesize. Essentially, we are able to enhance our Skype for Business environment, which is a great additional benefit.

Are you happy with the support you are receiving from Lifesize?

I love the fact that at any time, I can pick up the phone and speak with a Lifesize engineer who is actually involved with building the product and understands everything that I’m saying. That direct line of communication with Lifesize is so valuable because I know I’ll always get my questions answered.

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