Last year The University of Toledo’s Board of Trustees approved a new Cisco telecommunication system to replace the phone systems on all UToledo campuses. Installation of new phones already has begun, with the new phone system expected to be in place for all areas across campuses by June 2020.
“Because our current phone systems are over 30 years old, they’ve become difficult and costly to maintain, as spare parts are no longer readily available,” said Bill McCreary, vice president and chief information and technology officer. “The current systems are also very inflexible and don’t support our current or future business needs.”
After exploring several options, the University selected the Cisco Unified Communication system — the national market leader used by many other major universities and healthcare networks across the U.S.
“We were able to procure this system under very favorable terms established by the state, and there are many new capabilities it will provide for our users,” McCreary said.
The new Cisco system runs on the existing UToledo computer networks, which eliminates the need for any special installation. This system offers many benefits such as multi-party video calling, E-911 service and overall system integration. This enables efficiencies and collaboration not possible with the current phone systems.
For example, the system’s ability to provide call center management and metrics, such as those needed by The University of Toledo Medical Center and Rocket Solutions Central, are not possible with UToledo’s current technology.
“These are features we need to stay competitive and — more importantly — to provide better service to our students, patients, co-workers and other customers,” McCreary said. “Since installation began, we’ve received many positive comments from early users.”
When users receive their new Cisco phone, it should be accompanied by a detailed instruction sheet that provides guidance on how to use the new features of the system. While many features are unchanged from the old systems, including dialing “9” for outside lines and voicemail integration with email, there is one notable change.
The new Cisco system uses seven-digit dialing, so when you want to call another UToledo number, you must dial the full seven digits of the number instead of only the four-digit extension. For frequently dialed numbers, there are fast-dial options that users may set up to save time.
Much more information, including a user’s quick reference guide, is available on the unified communications project information website. Select Menu in the upper right-hand corner, then choose the plus-sign icon next to Resources, and select the option of your choosing, such as Reference Guides.