Campus Transition to VoIP Phones

What is Happening: New Phones!

CIS is working to rapidly roll out a new voice communications platform to replace our 30+ year old legacy phone system. Microsoft's Teams Calling phone system will be deployed to handle voice-over IP (VoIP) calling, video calling, voicemail, and more. Over the next few months, CIS will be rolling out Teams Calling on a department-by-department basis. A CIS representative will work with your area to ensure that each calling scenario is accounted for in the migration.  

Do you want to learn what the future of unified communications looks like? Watch this video on  How Teams Calling Works (3min).

Why Switch Now?

  • Work Flexibility
    Moving to VoIP through Microsoft Teams allows you to make/receive phone calls on your computer or on your smartphone via the Teams app from anywhere in the world. You won't be tethered to your desk and working remotely from campus becomes even easier. This includes modern features like voice-to-text for your voicemails.
  • Unified Communications
    This change is another step toward unified communications for the campus. Instant messaging, team collaboration, video conferencing, and now phones are all combined into a single platform that you can access from anywhere.  
  • Unreliable Infrastructure
    SPU's legacy PBX based phone system has been deprecated and out of support for nearly a decade. The system has become prone to hardware failures, which occurred again a few weeks ago with a power outage taking campus phones offline. After each breakage we scour eBay and old technology “scrap yards” looking for spare parts, which is risky and unsustainable.

Key Considerations for You

  • Headsets (microphone/speakers for your workstation)
    Many faculty and staff already have a headset or would prefer to use one they already own. CIS plans to provide a headset for anyone who doesn’t already have one.
  • Desktop / Conference Room Phones
    Existing phone handsets that rely on the PBX technology will be removed.  Teams compatible desktop phones will be provided for core call centers (Admissions front line, Safety & Security Dispatch, etc.) and for Deans/VPs who request one. Anyone else desiring a physical handset may purchase one through CIS at cost for ~$200-$300. Existing conference room phones will be replaced as part of the project.
  • Do you need a phone number? 
    SPU pays a fee per line for phone numbers (traditional and VoIP). Many folks have discovered that Microsoft Teams works well for coordinating and calling within SPU. If you don’t make / receive phone calls to / from parties outside of SPU on a regular basis, you may not need an actual phone number. You can help reduce institutional overhead by considering whether you need a dialable phone number and discussing your needs with your supervisor. Your CIS representative can walk you through what calling looks like for folks without a number.

Next Steps

As we progress with the rollout over the summer, a representative from CIS will contact you to discuss the transition that will make sure your needs are met and minimize disruption to your office. 

If you have any high level concerns or feedback, please reach out to the project leadership, Gerard Duguay and Josh Kanehen.