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28 June 2013
NRENum.net enhances University of Michigan role in global collaboration

The University of Michigan (U­M) is the first institution in the USA to use NRENum.net technology to enhance global teaching, learning and research collaboration by linking high definition video and voice systems with research and education institutions in North America, Europe and Asia.

U­M has already completed a successful pilot with the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and Information and Technology Services and will soon make NRENum.net available to all campus units. This technology enables high-definition video connections between people on the Ann Arbor campus, as well as in Australia, Europe, Asia and other university campuses in the United States.

"NRENum.net is a trusted, open, research and education, community-­owned service that makes collaborative video and voice technologies easy to use. NRENum.net helps institutions register the IP devices they want reachable via the Internet," says Laura Patterson, Chief Information Officer at the University of Michigan. "Once a device is registered in NRENum.net, it can make and receive video and voice calls simply dialled as a traditional phone number. This kind of cooperative technology could help the university reduce traditional telephone system costs in the future as well as enable advanced new services."

How NRENum.net works

NRENum.net uses E.164 Number Mapping (ENUM) and applies it for research and education: ENUM is a standard protocol that simplifies the way voice and video calls are made over the Internet, and allows these calls to travel directly over global research and education networks. Researchers and others from various cooperating research and education institutions are able to use standard phone number formats to contact one another using both voice-over-IP (VoIP) and videoconferencing systems. ENUM translates those numbers into an Internet address, creating a quick, stable and cost­-effective link between telecommunications systems and the Internet.

Growth of NRENum.net

"Having gained partners from North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific, NRENum.net has grown to a global, production-grade, community service in recent years," says Michael Nowlan, Chief Technical Officer at TERENA, which coordinates the service. "As one of the key building blocks of global unified communications, it is TERENA's mission to coordinate and continuously enhance the service for the benefit of the entire research and education community in a sustainable manner."

Internet2 manages the technology in the North American calling area. Internet2 Senior Vice President Shel Waggener says: "Cloud based communication technologies are not incremental gains, but rather create low cost, easy-to-use solutions that revolutionise the way our universities collaborate. With ENUM and NRENum.net, we expect to make communicating via voice or video as easy as sending an email – connecting with people regardless of geographic distance or the voice or video technology used by callers. We're looking forward to seeing the use of advanced IP voice and video grow as adoption of this technology spreads across our community."

Further Information

More about NRENum.net, Internet2, University of Michigan.