Colleges are moving communications to the cloud


IT staff have eliminated all desk phones and are asking employees to use the Zoom app instead. Employees are familiar with the Zoom app, so no training was required. The only change was that a phone icon appeared on the app, Logan explains.

Now, employees have the ability to make phone calls, initiate video conferences, or send messages to colleagues or students. Zoom Phone also allows faculty members to communicate with students via text message, a popular feature. Logan outfitted every Apple AirPods staff member to serve as headsets.

“Staff can switch between communication options,” says Logan. “It’s a real collaboration.”

Texas Christian University taps RingCentral for cloud phone service

Down south, Texas Christian University, a 12,000-student private university in Fort Worth, Texas, recently migrated to RingCentral’s cloud-based phone service, which has improved on- and off-campus communications, officials say. computers.

About three years ago, TCU’s maintenance contract for its traditional telephone system was up for renewal. TCU CTO Bryan Lucas noticed a trend among vendors of customer-premises equipment-based phones where more of their research and development was dedicated to their cloud-based solutions.

TCU’s existing telephone system was an antiquated mix of analog and digital telephones. So, to modernize phone communications, Lucas and his team explored cloud-based options and chose RingCentral.

The migration of 5,000 user and campus phone numbers required meticulous planning. They implemented the project in 14 phases, installing between 500 and 1,000 phone lines in multiple buildings at once, with each phase taking two months, says Joshua Tooley, TCU’s IT support manager.

First, they took inventory of the phone lines and administrative processes in each building. Then they contacted their phone company to port the numbers to RingCentral. Meanwhile, TCU’s IT infrastructure team installed network switches and jacks in areas that needed ports for the phone transition.

They then trained employees on the new system, rolled out new Poly VVX phones, and after migrating phone service to RingCentral, they provided technical support to ensure numbers were ported over successfully, Tooley says.

The IT team completed the user migration in the spring of 2021, approximately 2.5 years after the start of the project. “This is a very comprehensive and coordinated effort,” said Travis Cook, executive director of the university’s telecommunications and distributed antenna systems.

Today, approximately 90% of employees use RingCentral solely for its phone and voicemail services. The remaining 10% take advantage of RingCentral’s other features, including texting and faxing, Tooley says.

Texting is an important new feature. TCU faculty members can now communicate with students via text without having to give out their personal cell phone numbers, Tooley says. Remote phone access is also important and has had a big impact on TCU’s out-of-state recruiters, for example.

Instead of using a cell phone number that might display recruiters’ names, they can now call or text students on the RingCentral app, and the caller ID will display a TCU number, increasing the chances that students will respond to the call.

“The biggest change is that we’re no longer limited to being on campus, and it allows employees to be anywhere in the world, and they can take their work phones with them,” Tooley says.


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