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Phase I of SMU’s Phone Replacement Project Completed

Phone Project Phase 1 StatsIn September, we wrapped up the completion of Phase I of the Phone Replacement project.  This multi-year project kicked off with over 900 cabling upgrades and enabling layer 3 routing to ensure infrastructure readiness. Once these initial upgrades were complete, OIT kicked off a pilot to test functionality and ensure the successful rollout of new phones on campus.  Implementing this new system was a massive undertaking, with OIT staff canvassing The Hilltop to audit, plan, train, and deploy. From the University Data Center to Expressway Tower to the Law quad, every campus building required exceptional attention to detail.

In total, 3,184 phones to users were provided among common areas in 92 buildings on campus. OIT migrated and trained 2,686 users from the old PBX system and upgraded 718 departmental accounts to Enterprise Voice.

Phase I of the phone project also included implementing a cloud-based call center solution for areas that require the capability to handle significant call volumes. The NICE InContact solution is being utilized by the SMU operators, Enrollment Services, Facilities Services, and the IT Help Desk. This new communications solution was rapidly deployed to allow staff to begin working remotely when work-from-home orders were announced.

Looking Ahead

Now that the first phase has been completed, we have kicked off Phase II of the project. Phase II includes removing analog lines that are no longer needed and migrating the remaining lines to newly installed analog gateways. In order to complete this phase of the project, we will be auditing the analog lines of faxes, modems, panic buttons, alarms, elevators, emergency phones, and card readers.

We will also be implementing the AT&T Vesta E911 call handling solution for the SMU Police Department. This implementation will include deploying new dispatch equipment with GIS mapping and E911 texting functionality for emergency calls.

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Ian Aberle

Ian Aberle is the IT Communications Specialist and Trainer for the Office of Information Technology (OIT) at Southern Methodist University (SMU). He started at SMU in 1996 and, for much of his career at the University, had managed the SMU STAR Program before joining the Training & Communications Team in 2015. In his free time, Ian enjoys photography and road trips with his family. You can see examples of when the two collide at ianaberle.com.