Dentistry Migrates to U of T’s New VoIP Service

A U of T Telecommunications Case Study

“We needed a new system that would meet the very unique requirements of our 500-plus faculty, staff, and students.”

James Fiege, Manager, Information and Instructional Technology Services (IITS), Faculty of Dentistry

Choosing VoIP

The Faculty of Dentistry, located on Edward Street just east of University Ave, had been looking for a new phone system for some time to replace its aging, and frequently failing, PBX system. With business operations that include a busy reception and patient call-centre, 14 in-house clinics, students that need to be in touch with their patients, as well as the other telecom requirements common to schools running professional programs, Dentistry needed a robust, reliable, versatile, and secure solution.

Having never been a part of the university’s legacy Bell Centrex telecommunications infrastructure, Dentistry was considering a variety of solutions to replace its on-premise PBX system. Ultimately, the Faculty decided to migrate to the new enterprise VoIP service being implemented across the university by the ITS Telecommunications team.

“Working with the U of T Telecommunications team on this project has been an absolute pleasure. We were impressed with the professionalism of Will Hu, who was our Unified Communications Support Analyst from U of T’s Telecom department. The vendor, BCT, listened to, and was responsive to, our particular needs.”

James Fiege

Unique Requirements

One of Dentistry’s unique requirements was for students to be able to be in voice communication with their patients. Rather than provision a discrete phone line to each student, which would have been overkill, not to mention more costly, BCT created a new plan that provided each student with a shared phone number and an individual voicemail box. Students use an application on their mobile phone to listen to their voicemail message and call their patients back. This voicemail-only plan turned out to be the perfect solution for this unique situation.

Communicating Change

Beth Hensler, Dentistry’s Manager of Administrative Services, discusses the importance of change management for the move to the new system.

“The Dentistry IITS team ensured a climate of open communication and thorough consultation during the implementation of the new system, ensuring all stakeholders at Dentistry were well prepared. They offered information sessions, distributed clear and regular email updates and offered lots of in-person consultation. This was very important for the roll out and a key reason why it was such a success.”

Cost Savings

One of the ways Dentistry controlled costs in the implementation was by encouraging staff to use headsets with the VoIP software client for making and receiving calls. Says Beth, “Some people were resistant to change, so we had to work with them. Luckily, we have a great IT team who were always on hand—if a user had an issue, there were always two staff to provide hands-on help.”

Result

The implementation at the Faculty of Dentistry was completed in late August. After a couple of months of using the new system, even those in the change-averse group have embraced it, citing as the primary benefits, better ergonomics and the ability to take notes and multitask as a result of wearing a headset instead of holding a phone. Using the phone has become a hands-free task. Other advantages of the system that staff have noted are: the ability to easily see the directory of the rest of the university, something that was not available to them previously; 5-digit dialing to the rest of the university—again, a new experience for them; and the ease of copying and pasting a phone number and then a single mouse click to connect the call.

Mary Choi, Assistant Dean, Administration at Dentistry, is very happy with the migration process and the resulting product:

“This was a good, collaborative implementation. The experience working with ITS Telecommunications has made us very positive about working with the university on other implementations in the future.”

Telecommunications is holding information sessions on VoIP throughout the fall

U of T’s Telecommunication department will be holding information sessions this fall to help the community learn more about VoIP! Understand why your department should make the move, how to begin, and learn about the costs and savings expected. The sessions are an hour in length and will consist of a presentation with enough time at the end to answer any questions you may have. Look for the banner at the top of this page for the next scheduled session.

University set to transform communications on campus

Greater collaboration, access and mobility are just a few of the benefits the University of Toronto faculty and staff will experience through a new telephone communications system.

Starting in spring 2017, a new modern Voice over IP (VoIP) system provided by BroadConnect Telecom will be available for adoption by Divisions and Departments at the U of T.

This new service offering has been selected after extensive community consultation, needs analysis and technology evaluations with the goal of providing better services and advanced unified communications features for staff and faculty while also reducing costs.

“Improving access to communication for faculty and staff was at the forefront of our selection process for this VoIP solution,” said Patrick Hopewell, Director of Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions. “Users can expect a modern telephony system that allows them to easily communicate with colleagues from virtually any location while still providing familiar processes for daily telephone needs like checking voicemails or forwarding calls. The end result will be a more connected community whether working remotely or in an office and at lower cost per phone line.”

Departments will experience immediate monthly savings once lines are migrated and the University anticipates cost savings of $10 to $12 million over five years.

The project is rolling out over the next three years. Additional details will be released by the Telecommunications Department over the coming weeks. Please visit the VoIP & Unified Communications section to view the latest information. Questions about this project can be directed to Tony Danas, Manager, Telecommunications at 416-946-8820 or tony.danas@utoronto.ca.

 

 

 

Corporate Cell Phone Plans Reminder

We would like to remind the community about the requirements to enrol in the UofT Corporate Bell Mobility plan

  1. An employee must submit a request to their immediate manager for approval
  2. The manager is to approve the request based on departmental requirements and budget
  3. The manager is responsible to submit the request to their departmental business officer
  4. The business officer is responsible for filling out and submitting the application form on the Worldlynx website
  5. Billing invoice must indicate:
    • A UofT billing address, and;
    • Invoice must be paid directly by UofT

The Corporate plan is intended for departments that require their staff to use a cellphone for University business.  It is not intended for individual use even if the individual plans to submit an expense reimbursement to their department.

Telecom Services now part of EIS

As of October 1st 2015, Telecom Services is part of the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) group.  This will better position the Telecom group to make the transition from traditional Bell Centrex phone lines to an IP-based telephony solution (VoIP) in order to provide better service and reduce costs.  It will also ensure that the VoIP solution integrates with the many online collaboration and unified communications tools already in use at the University.  More information on the VoIP/UC project can be found here.

Welcome to the New Telecommunications Website

New Web Presence for the Telecommunications Department

Since the transition of the Telecommunications Department to the Information Technology Services portfolio, we worked to provide a new web presence for the department. Staff and faculty can now easily access information related to the available products and services, including billing rates and telecom support resources. In addition to this website, all Telecommunications products and services will remain listed in the IT Service Catalogue, as a complimentary channel for easy access to information.

What’s new?

We worked to streamline the content and organize it in a more user friendly manner. The only other change to the Telecommunications online content is a new dedicated space, separate from the previous portfolio, Facilities and Services, and current portfolio Information Technology Services. Telephone coordinators and staff requesting any Telecommunications changes will still be able to use the same tools as before to manage the U of T Directory and create Telephone Services Orders. 

Looking ahead:

We invite all faculty and staff utilizing telecommunications services (land lines, conference services or mobile phones) to give us feedback on the information available on the website. We will be working to bridge any gaps and add other helpful content to the website going forward. Faculty and staff may send their feedback to the ITS Communications Office.