Thanks for Taking Our Calls: SMU’s Former PBX Leaves The Hilltop

More banks of interface cards in the legacy PBX.
Additional interface cards.

A few years ago, we made the switch to our new telephone system on campus. While individuals on campus moved to the new system a while back, that wasn’t the end of the project! Our legacy Private Branch Exchange (PBX) was still in a state of limited operation while the remaining legacy phone lines (like fire alarms, fax lines, Blue Light safety phones, etc.) were moved to their own more modern equivalents.

That stage of the phone replacement project recently ended, as the final power connections to our Intecom PBX system were completely removed and preparations began for the system to be moved out of the data center in Patterson Hall. We stopped by Patterson Hall to take one last look at the equipment that handled SMU’s phone calls for nearly thirty years.

An image of the Intecom PBX system in the Patterson Hall data center.
The Intecom PBX system in its longtime home of Patterson Hall.

Moving this system will be no easy feat! The PBX takes up an entire aisle of the data center; a gargantuan chassis filled with interface and circuit cards connecting all of the old desk telephones to the outside world. First placed into service in 1992, this equipment handled every incoming and outgoing call, every transfer, every number dialed, every call placed on hold, and every message saved on its large attached voicemail system, which itself was replaced by voicemails heading to your email several years ago.

A photo of a Digital Sound Corporation VoiceServer.
A mammoth component of the legacy voicemail system.

While technology ceaselessly hurdles toward the next new thing, it’s still a bittersweet moment to say goodbye to a system that functioned so well, doing so much, for such a long period of time. So as we look to the future, all of us at OIT salute our own piece of telecommunications history, and say for one last time “thanks for taking our call.”

A bank of interface cards inside SMU's legacy PBX system.
A bank of interface cards for the PBX system.
A management terminal for the PBX system.
A now silent management terminal for the PBX system.

Photos courtesy John Patterson and Zach Peterson

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Published by

Zach Peterson

Zach is a Senior IT Training & Communications Consultant with OIT. Zach began his SMU career at the IT Help Desk in 2012 and joined the Training & Communications Team in 2015. He is a 2011 graduate from the University of North Texas and obtained a Master of Liberal Studies degree from SMU in 2018. He enjoys reading and collecting vintage and antique radio sets. He grew up in Valley View, Texas near Denton.