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UAlbany Launching Cutting-Edge Communications System

ITS is launching a new telephone system that will dramatically improve communications infrastructure.

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 2, 2018) -- The UAlbany telephone system is getting a major upgrade, with new options that will dramatically improve the capabilities of the University’s communications system.

Information Technology Services is leading efforts to transform the University’s current legacy telephone system into a modernized communication platform using a Cisco solution which includes the popular Webex product.

Among the capabilities of the new system will be mobile phone flexibility and Office365 integration.

The new service will offer modern, Voice over IP (VoIP) technology that runs on the University network and will be housed in the University Data Center. Cisco is a recognized industry leader, and their web conferencing solution, Webex, provides several of the features faculty and staff requested in a recent satisfaction survey and a series of focus groups conducted by ITS.

These include the elimination of a personal security code (PSC) for long distance calls, better voicemail-to-email integration, options to integrate office phones with mobile devices, and other tools that complement UAlbany Mail and Office365. There will also be improvements for call centers, and existing telephones will be replaced by new models with high quality speakers. Emergency telephones and red phones in residence halls will remain the same.

The University recently signed a contract with SMP, a company with a solid reputation for providing end-to-end solutions in the areas of networking, data centers, and end-user computing across a wide range of industries. The project is largely funded by a $2.5 million Compact Plan and $800,000 from ITS’s operational budget. Once fully implemented, the new communications system will reduce operating costs in addition to offering improvements and new features.

ITS will be the first to migrate to the new service by the end of this calendar year. Other departments will follow beginning in 2019. Expected completion of the project is in August 2019 -- the same time that the University’s current telephone maintenance contract expires. The project will be rolled out across the campus to ensure service continuity and provide support and training for departments as they are introduced to the new system.

“This is a great opportunity to provide an advanced upgrade to the University’s telephone service,” says Brian Heaton, UAlbany’s new chief information officer. “Our current telephone system was cutting edge 25 years ago. Technology has changed exponentially since then. The new system will stabilize operating costs and provide the functionality and integration our faculty, staff and students expect from the University’s telephone service.”

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than
120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.