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University Relations

University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943



telephones

UCM Plans Deployment of Intuitive, Multi-Feature Phone System This Spring

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Jan. 23, 2017) – The University of Central Missouri will deploy a new Unified Communications/Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system this spring that gives campus telephone users access to features that include Bluetooth capability, improved audio quality, single number reach, and the ability to make video calls.  

“With this new system, campus users will still have the telephone services they are used to, but they will get so much more because the new devices are really computers that happen to be built in the shape of a phone,” said Mel Gross, manager of the Technology Support Center in UCM’s Office of Technology (OT).

Gross and project manager Mark Schlueter, assistant director of OT, Network Services, updated UCM faculty and staff on the new system during annual Learning Day activities in January, noting that the university has entered an agreement with AT&T to make the VoIP possible. Projected deployment of this new system, which replaces about 1,750 existing campus telephones, takes place during spring break, March 20-24. Testing with a target group is planned prior to deployment, as well as employee information sessions and online opportunities to better acquaint campus users with the new system.  While OT will work closely with campus personnel to make a smooth transition to this new system, the campus learning curve could be brief.   

“The new phones are pretty intuitive,” Gross said. “We don’t anticipate a lot of people needing much in-depth training.  They are menu-driven, and you can scroll through whatever you need to find, very similar to a cell phone.”  

According to Schlueter, the university currently uses legacy switching equipment that has been in place since 2001 to provide traditional telephone services to the campus that include dial tone for analog and digital telephone, fax machines, emergency line and voice messaging. Factors which include the manufacturer of the current equipment previously going out of business, the system’s approaching end of life date, difficulty in obtaining replacement parts, and implementing costly software, contributed to a need to implement the industry standard Unified Communications/VoIP system.

At its basic level the new system will use the university’s network infrastructure to carry voice calls via the IP data network to an IP Private Branch Exchange (PBX) terminal that uses the Internet and existing telephone infrastructure to conduct calls. This will allow UCM to provide telephone services, multi-media conferencing, enterprise fax services, and other communication services to the main campus in Warrensburg, UCM-Lee’s Summit and at university owned facilities such as the Max B. Swisher Skyhaven Airport, Mules National Golf Club facilities at Pertle Springs, and South Recreation Complex.

Advantages of moving to a Unified Communications/VoIP environment include easier installation, configuration and management of the proprietary phone system;  scalability; better customer service and productivity; additional services at lower cost; advanced features that are much easier to use; unified messaging; branch offices; and remote extensions.

From a user standpoint, Gross and Schlueter believe campus members will appreciate new features that include a corporate (campus) telephone directory and a programmable contact list at users’ fingertips, and increased sound quality that makes it possible to replace meeting room phones with these new units for conference call situations.  Single number reach also will allow users to set the phone so that when calls come in to their university telephone, both their office phone, cell phone and home phone can be set to ring at the same time.

“These phones are Bluetooth and USB capable,” Schlueter added.

A small video screen on each telephone makes it possible to view campus members during a telephone  conversation, if both users choose to do so.  A simple adjustment on the phone can turn off the camera for users who prefer not to take advantage of this function.

Both UCM and AT&T are looking forward to continuing the collaboration that has made this project possible.

“First, I’d like to mention that the entire team, specifically Mark Schlueter and team, as well as Lisa Butler (UCM director of procurement and materials management), were integral in the success of this collaboration,” said John Irwin, senior vice president, AT&T Global Business – Government, Education, and Healthcare Solutions. “IP Flexible Reach and Cisco Hosted Collaboration Solution from AT&T are a part of our Voice & Collaboration suite of solutions that can simplify network management and lower IT costs – allowing educational institutions like UCM to consolidate their voice, video and data traffic across a single network infrastructure. This demonstrates UCM’s propensity to stay ahead of the technology curve and their desire to always provide the best technology to their staff and students.”

Individuals who want to know more about the new Unified Communications/VoIP can contact Gross at gross@ucmo.edu or 660543-4357 or Schlueter at schlueter@ucmo.edu or 660-543-8289.