ITS

Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services

Improved telephony service coming to Queen's with new Voice over IP technology

Queen's will begin implementation of an enhanced phone service using VoIP technology through Skype for Business starting in 2017.

With the existing telephony system running toward the end of its life expectancy, the ITS Infrastructure Team has been busy developing a solution that will provide enhanced phone service campus-wide.

The current phone systems on campus uses an independent network that has hardware nearing the end of its product life. Over the last six months, the ITS Infrastructure Team has been looking at the future of voice communications for the university. As a result of the business case planning and review of various suppliers, Microsoft's Skype for Business platform, which uses Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, has stood out as the future service provider for the development of the audio communications on campus.

VoIP is a voice communication service that is delivered using the existing network connection such as the wired connections at our desks or an available wireless connection. This new telephone system allows for many advanced features, most notably it can be integrated directly with Microsoft's desktop or mobile Skype for Business and Office 365 email and calendaring.

The new VoIP system will emulate the current features already available such as call forward, conference calling and voicemail while also making use of and building upon new technology for better service for end users.

“The current system is very reliable; very stable. The downside is that it is also very expensive to maintain,” says Brad Hannah, Manager of ITS Systems and Storage. “With the new system we get all the functionality of the existing telephone service but with increased integration with Microsoft services. If you are looking for more options, you will be able to take advantage of that but for users who don’t want to, they will still be able to use the new system without experiencing any drastic change in function."

The advantages of the new system far outweigh staying with the older system, especially when support and updates will no longer be offered in the coming years.

“We’re already using Microsoft for so many communication avenues like Skype for Business, email and calendaring – the next logical step is to integrate our audio communication into the network,” says Bo Wandschneider, CIO and Associate Vice-Principal (ITS) “This is a really great opportunity for Queen's to integrate and strengthen our collaborative tools suite and greatly enhance the experience of our community."

Implementation of the new hardware is set to begin early 2017 and is estimated to take approximately three years to complete in all campus buildings.

As the project moves forward, more information will be made available to campus users from Infrastructure Services.

 


Benefits of the Microsoft Skype for Business voice platform:

  • Less expensive for the university to purchase and expand than existing hardware
  • No need for separate phone wiring - phones use the computer network
  • Offers increased flexibility to staff and faculty by enabling Queen's extension calls on a mobile device
  • Can use a handset phone or softphone (computer or mobile device) directly to and from your existing Queen's extension
  • Tight integration with instant messaging, video/chat conferencing and voice services under a single unified platform

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