One ringy-dingy: New phones coming your way
The UCOP phone system has neared the end of its life, and Information Technology Service (ITS) will replace it with a state-of-the-art system over the coming months.
The new phone system, based on Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, transmits voice over the data network, much like a computer transmits email, rather than a traditional telephone network.
Training and migration schedule
Migration of phone services to the new system will be done one building at a time over different weekends. Before each building is scheduled to migrate, employees will have an opportunity to attend a training session to learn how the new system operates. Logistical details and actual training dates and times will be provided closer to each migration date.
The tentative training and migration schedule is as follows:
20th Street/OSF building
- Training: week of July 20
- Migration: weekend of July 24–26
- Training: week of July 27
- Migration: weekend of July 31–August 2
- Training: week of August 17
- Migration: weekend of August 21–23
- Training: week of October 19, 2015
- Migration: weekend of October 23–25
Softphones or desk phones
New desk phones are the most expensive component of the new phone system. But the new phone system provides “softphones,” which may supplant many employees’ need for a desk phone. A softphone is software that runs on the employee’s desktop or laptop (PC or MAC) and emulates a desk phone, providing much of the same functionality without the costs. The new phone system also provides a mobile device app that also may eliminate the need for a desk phone. Both the softphone software and the mobile device app (see above and right) are called Cisco Jabber.
To minimize the number of desk phones we need to purchase, and to reduce overall costs for UCOP, employees and their managers are encouraged to consider forgoing the use of a desk phone and to use Jabber instead.
Jabber is a viable option for many employees. In some cases, though, a desk phone may be more appropriate. ITS has developed guidelines, which they’ll share with a single point of contact in each department, who will then work with employees to determine the best option.
Key differences between the old and new systems
Many things about the new phone system will be familiar. Phone calls are placed and received very much as they have been for decades, and basic call functions such as hold, transfer and conference have not changed much.
But there are key differences:
- VoIP phone systems only work when the data network is available.
- You only need one line, or extension, because the Cisco phone system allows you to make and receive multiple calls using only one line.
- PBX phone key features that stored and dialed phone numbers, such as AutoDial or SpeedCall keys, are replaced in the Cisco phone system with a personal directory.
- A built-in UCOP directory is also available.
- Voicemail messages can also be received as an attachment in an email.
Further project updates and additional information details will be communicated as your scheduled migration weekend approaches. Please direct any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.