News

Transition to New Phone System for Faculty Offices

by Mur Muchane

Beginning the week of March 17, we will deploy the new campus phone system, Cisco Unified Communications, to faculty offices. Among other features, the new system will enable you to work effectively anytime from any place with any device and will eliminate chargebacks for long-distance phone calls. The installation of the new phone and associated software will take about 10 minutes for each individual. While the new phone set will be immediately operational, incoming phone calls will continue to ring on your existing phone until the cutover date of March 31 to allow time for familiarization.

Why this Change?

The existing campus phone system, Nortel Networks, represents the state of phone technology in the mid-to-late 1970s and the technology is now increasingly prone to failure. Further, several years ago, the vendor, Nortel Corporation, declared bankruptcy. Since that time support and maintenance costs have grown considerably as support vendors have sought to get customers off the platform.

The New System

The new system will introduce many new capabilities and the new infrastructure will enhance teaching, learning and research in interesting new ways, including: 

  • Supporting collaborations via voice and video (e.g. allowing classes to easily invite external experts into the classroom);
  • Providing untethered access to campus resources from off-campus (e.g. allowing study-abroad programs to leverage campus telecommunications);
  • Providing faculty and staff the ability to work from anywhere, anytime and with any device (e.g. place and receive phone calls remotely).

 To help you learn more about this upgrade and its accompanying software, Jabber, we have scheduled a variety of information sessions as detailed below.

Transition Details 

Overview during the Common Hour, March 18: We have reserved the Common Hour on March 18 (11:15 a.m. - noon) in the 900 Room of the Alvarez College Union, and will offer an overview of the new system, demonstrate some of the system’s capabilities, and answer any questions you may have.

Installation Week (March 17 – 21): We will let you and departmental assistants know approximately when we will be working in your area. Our teams of installers will need to connect your new phone to the network in your office and your computer to the new phone. They also will need to install the Jabber software on your computer. If they are unable to install the Jabber software while they are there, you may request installation through the ITS Help Desk

Training Week (March 24-28): We will offer seven hour-long training sessions at a variety of times throughout the week. All of these sessions will be in Alvarez 313 in the Union. The times of these sessions are as follows: 

  • Monday, March 24, 10-11 a.m.
  • Tuesday, March 25, 3-4 p.m.
  • Wednesday March 26, 11 a.m.-noon and 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 27, 10-11 a.m.
  • Friday, March 28, 11 a.m.-noon

Cutover to the New System (March 31): On Monday, March 31, the new system will be active. ITS will have made appropriate system changes over the weekend. 

Exceptions: We are aware that, for a variety of extenuating circumstances, a delayed transition for some individuals may be desirable. If so, please email Rob Smith to determine a mutually agreeable time for your upgrade outside the March 17-21 timeframe.  

More Information: In addition to the seven sessions described above, documentation, including a detailed FAQ document, is located on Inside Davidson.