Managed Cloud: Why it’s a tour de force for a fast-growing B.C. movie studio

Sponsored By: Avaya

If it was a movie, this would be a blockbuster.

With the help of Canada’s lower dollar and local expertise, Hollywood producers are flocking to British Columbia, making it the third largest film production location in North America. That’s resulted in meteoric growth for The Crossing Studios, one of the largest and most experienced production facilities in Vancouver.

The unprecedented increase in business has been great news for the company, but it also posed a challenge for managing its communications systems.

The Crossing Studios, which now rents more than 350,000 square feet of studio space, quickly expanded from one to eight buildings in various locations “almost overnight.” Each facility had different technology, and to compound the problem, each client needed unique services that could scale with little notice. It called for an easy-to manage solution, says Mark Herrmann, former chief technical officer at The Crossing Studios. “We needed something that would support our rapid growth, support our clients and grow our bottom line.”

The Solution

To address these issues, the studio opted for an all-in-one hosted cloud solution by Unity Connected Solutions and powered by Avaya IP Office.

In an action-packed transition, the studio’s first facility was moved to the cloud in under three weeks. With the migration now complete, IT staff no longer has to program the systems at each facility. Client requests to add or remove users or features at any one of its eight sites can be done within hours. “We’re able to keep pace with these dynamic, fast-moving productions, staying as flexible as our clients need us to be,” says Hermann.

Movie shoots are multi-million dollar operations where costly production delays are not an option. The solution provides high availability and uptime with resilient architecture so that entire locations or customizable groups will fail over to another server. In the event of a system outage, IP phones with active calls will stay connected.

Given the 2014 hack at Sony Pictures, security was another big priority. Unity’s cloud UC solution, powered by Avaya IP Office is fully secured with identity-based access control to ensure privacy and data integrity.

The solution makes the client billing easy to manage. It allows The Crossing Studio to charge on a bundled per user basis, thereby avoiding the horrors of itemized billing systems.

A five star rating

The implementation of Unity’s cloud UC solution, powered by Avaya IP Office, has resulted in significant savings. Hermann says it’s saved at least $100,000 in staffing costs in the first year alone. He expects that the ability to easily scale its communications infrastructure will save another $100,000 next year as the business continues to expand.

In the year ahead, The Crossing Studios is looking at an Avaya video collaboration service to provide face-to-face meetings between local producers and their executives in Hollywood. The platform can be used on mobile devices, desktop web browsers or conferencing rooms.

“From a metrics perspective, Avaya IP Office ticks every box,” says Hermann. “Is it what my clients are looking for? Yes. Are they happy with the solution? Yes. Is it costing me a lot of money to service and maintain? It’s definitely not. I really couldn’t have chosen a better solution.”

Read the case study for all of the details on how the new communications solution helps The Crossing Studios grow.


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Sponsored By: Avaya

Suzanne Robicheau
Suzanne Robicheau
Suzanne Robicheau is a communications specialist based in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where working remotely continues to fuel her passion for new mobile technologies -- especially on snowy days.