What is Unified Communications?
The Office of Information Systems has been tasked with improving telephone communications on campus by building out a sustainable telephony infrastructure that will support the campus for years to come. The university has chosen the Cisco Unified Communications (UC) platform as it's standard for communications moving forward.
Unified Communications is the combination of voice, video, instant messaging, presence, and data services into a cohesive system dedicated to meeting the communication needs of the university.
Features of Unified Communications
At the most basic level, Unified Communications works much like a traditional phone system. Each phone still supports local and long distance calling, call forwarding, call hold, call transfer, voicemail, and caller ID.
UC also provides new features like:
- Do Not Disturb (DND) minimizes interruptions by notifying you of an incoming call with a single beep while still allowing you the option to pick up the call before it gets sent to voicemail.
- Call Park essentially places a call on hold and assigns it to an extension, then any other phone can dial that extension and resume the call. This is a convenient way to transfer a call between two phones.
- Video Calling: The standard phone on the UC platform is equipped with a camera to allow for video calling between two phones on the system.
- Single Number Reach (SNR) allows UC users to specify up to 5 external phone numbers to ring anytime your primary extension is dialed. This is convenient for mobile users who might wish to answer calls on their cell phone while away from their desk or for someone who needs to work from home and wants to be able to answer their work calls on their home phone. Each number specified can be set up to ring based on a schedule.
- Call Pickup allows UC users in an office area to pick up each other's calls if desired. This feature must be requested and all extensions that should be included in the pickup group must be specified.
- Hunt Groups can be configured to allow multiple people to answer the main number for an office. Hunt groups are configured to ring any available phone that is logged into the group and each phone can be easily logged in and out of the group.
- Automated Attendants and Call Queuing provides a pre-recorded announcements and call menus to help route calls within a department as well as an "on hold" queue for callers to wait if nobody is immediately available to answer their call. Automated attendants and call queues are considered an advanced service and require additional configuration, additional end user training, and/or possible setup cost.
- Call Screening allows UC users to filter out unwanted calls based on a pre-defined contact list. Call screening is considered an advanced service and require additional configuration, additional end user training, and/or possible setup cost.
- Advanced Routing can automatically route incoming calls based on a UC user's contact list or a schedule. Advanced routing is considered an advanced service and require additional configuration, additional end user training, and/or possible setup cost.
- Voice Dialing provides an easy method to reach anyone on the system. Simply tell the system who you wish to call and it automatically connects you. No need to remember extensions or look them up in a printed directory.
Voicemail is provided for each user and automatically integrates into Outlook or Outlook Web App. Each voice mailbox can be set up with custom greetings and the greetings can be changed based on a schedule.
Instant Messaging and Presence are also part of Unified Communications and is accessed through WebEx. Webex is an app for continuous teamwork with chat, video meetings, group messaging, file sharing, whiteboarding and so much more - making it easy to work anytime on any device, securely with everyone in one place. There are numerous examples where remote collaborative communication may become necessary, and here are some ways you might use it!
WAYS TO USE WEBEX IN YOUR DAY-TO-DAY INTERACTIONS:
- Create groups for projects, and easily upload and share documents with other faculty and staff for quick review.
- Integrate on-campus and online students into a single environment and interact with students in a way that feels like you’re in the same room.
- Take lessons beyond the classroom walls. Video can be used to bring experts from anywhere in the globe into the classroom quickly and easily.
- Use Webex Teams Meetings and screen/content sharing for important student review and advising sessions.
- Hold online office hours.
- With remote work becoming increasingly common, having students interact with Webex Teams is another ways to set them up for success in their future careers.
UC also provides access to digital FAX services. Digital FAX allows UC users to send and receive FAXs through email or a web portal.
How do I request support for Unified Communications?
All support requests for UC phones, jabber, or any feature should be directed to the Campus Support Center at email@example.com or submit a ticket online at support.atu.edu. Please include your full name, username, extension, and external phone number if you have one.