tidBiTS
Informs and engages the UNB community on IT developments and news

Management Briefing - VOIP Project Extended to Saint John

Author: ITS

Posted on Oct 30, 2014

Category: Management Briefings

Background The Voice‐Over‐IP (VOIP) deployment project on the Fredericton campus was a great success, completed well within budget and ahead of schedule. Now, the same technology has been deployed on the Saint John campus. A total of 381 phone lines were converted, and will ultimately contribute savings to the campus of over $80,000 per year. Saint John faculty and staff now enjoy the same phone functionality and convenience as Fredericton colleagues, and the entire university benefits from 4‐digit dialing to any user on either campus, elimination of long‐distance charges between campuses, plus a single directory service available on every new phone. The implementation in Fredericton was trouble‐free and calls are consistently of high quality, the result of ongoing fine‐tuning and expert maintenance; Saint John users can expect the same great experience after the roll‐out phase. Networks on both campuses are robust, with many improvements and upgrades made over the last few years to support this new technology. The Saint John project has been a well‐orchestrated, collaborative effort between ITS and ISS, with participation from Bulletproof Solutions, a local company that specializes in complex implementations such as VOIP. Integration VOIP is integrated with connectEd, UNB’s productivity environment consisting of email, calendaring, printing, and file sharing (and winner of the 2013 Macaulay‐O’Sullivan Administrative Service and Innovation Award!). This integration provides the university with the new directory system, which helps ITS support everything from identity management to remote configuration of lab computers, and which makes life easier for other users as well. In the VOIP system, the directory is used to find people, and to initiate calls with them; in the near future, it will be possible to extend this functionality to launch video conferencing, messaging, email, or, of course, plain old fashioned voice, with either one or just about any number of participants. Beyond the deskset One of the many advantages of operating a system like VOIP is that the university has more control over future costs and service growth and enhancements than would otherwise be the case. We include voicemail in our service at no extra cost, plus call centers, automated phoneanswering services, voice‐to‐email, and so on. In the future we intend to add other services like conference bridging and a central fax server, as they become available and feasible (all without the need to charge HST, thus passing on further savings). We will also investigate ‘soft‐phones’, software installed on computers and/or hand‐held devices and used with a headset, meaning users can take their office phone anywhere they go. And as Saint John has found, campuses don’t have to reinvent the service when they wish to implement it—the system has more than enough horse‐power to meet the needs of the entire university—it was planned that way. Clearly, this investment in core technology is paying off in many ways, and will continue to do so for years to come.

Terry Nikkel, AVP, ITS, October 30, 2014