The Enrollment Services SUBI move committee met with Doris Rollins and Pam Larkin from ITU/Telecom Admin. We discussed our phone queues, using VOIP and upgrading our call management system.
Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) converts your telephone voice/sound into digital data and transmits that data using the same method as the Internet. In a standard phone system, you have a dedicated wire from your phone to a central switch (reserved for phones only) in your office to the main telephone bank switch. This is expensive because you need a copper line and exclusive equipment just for calls. In addition, you still need a data jack for your PC. This means that every station needs two dedicated wires installed. With VOIP, you can use one wire for each desk and it can handle phone and PC data. This will also allow you to have one data switch. The cost savings are significant with your deployment and maintenance costs reduced by wide margins.
We had a lively discussion with the issues of converting to VOIP. We have major concerns with the reliability of VOIP, the shifting of voice traffic to the network, and the accuracy of ITU communications.
Doris started the meeting expressing an overall happiness with VOIP. While the implementation had issues they have learned from their mistakes and are ready to switch our call queues to VOIP. We asked her if anybody else was using VOIP for their phone queues exclusively and she answered no. The ITU support center and University Services (Main Switchboard) is not using VOIP. We do not want to be the first offices to use VOIP in our calling centers. We then learned that the Police are having a difficult time using VOIP. They have both types of phones at each desk in case one goes down. Doris then recommended that all offices (not just call centers) have 'some' analog phones as back-up and recommended a fax machine. This fax/analog solution does not address call centers/queues. She said we would need at least a few desks with old phones in case we have issues. Not the most confident recommendation from the director of telecom.
I then questioned her interpretation of system reliability and asked her about the numerous announcements we get when the phone system is down. I specifically asked her about 911 being down the previous week and ARL being down that morning. She stated that “911 has only been down one time” since implementation. I quickly corrected her, as I have seen at least three emails when 911 is down directing callers to use a cell phone. She did my statement or her count. I then relayed a conversation I had with the police department where they stated the phones don't work. Doris was very surprised by this.. I explained how they couldn’t transfer calls and their voice mail was down. Pam then told her that their phones were down on Thursday. She did not seem to be aware of this down time. We then brought up ARL being down that morning and she sighed. She said that they had been having...