New phone system will have clear audio, special features

New phones that offer clear audio quality, voicemail-to-email capability and other new features are coming to UAB — the first phase of a transition from traditional phone lines to internet transmission.

The new phones will use VOIP technology — or voice over Internet protocol — and will be phased in over 18 to 24 months. Once everyone on campus has a new Cisco VOIP phone, even more advanced features will be available.

New Cisco phones have been installed in a handful of departments taking part in a pilot program, and buildings on the west side of campus, including the new Collat School of Business and School of Nursing buildings, are scheduled to get new phones over the next three months.

Employees in the pilot groups who have received the new phones said the new features and quality

“The audio quality is amazing,” said Joey Jones, information systems specialist for the School of Optometry dean’s office. “They are easy to operate, and recent calls have been especially helpful. The ability to connect a Bluetooth headset is also very nice. … We are very happy.”

While there are a number of new features, those who have the new phones said they are easy to use.

“I love the new phones and they are really simple to use,” said Anthony Purcell, assistant vice president and chief of UAB Police.

UAB IT is nearing completion of installation of the system that will run all of the VOIP phones — a system that will take up a fraction of the space of the current traditional phone lines.

On July 24, UAB IT will hold a town hall meeting with telephone representatives from across campus to discuss the project and begin to co-author the implementation schedule for the new phones. The town hall will be held at 4 p.m. at Cudworth Hall Auditorium.

UAB IT will implement a variety of training methods — including in-person training, videos and print and online guides. As new phones are installed, UAB IT will be on site in each building or department for two days to offer technology support.

In all, more than 8,000 new phones will be installed over the next 18 months to two years. Once the entire campus is outfitted with new phones, new collaboration and mobile features — including Cisco Jabber — will be available.

Last modified on July 10, 2018