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Telephone system change expands communication options

Sydney Daly-Weber
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne is currently in the process of bringing its telephone system more up to date.

Nortel, the old system that the phones ran on, went bankrupt. In order to save the school money and have a more efficient phone system, La Verne decided to switch to Cisco Unified Communications System.

The new telephones are guaranteed to reduce the schools entire calling costs.

With Cisco, there is a reduction in the national call rate and all local calls are free.

“It will be more cost saving for the school in the long run,” said Clive Houston-Brown, associate vice president for facility and technology services and chief information officer.

Not only are the phones cheaper, but they also have features the old telephone system did not have.

The Cisco system has unified all voice, data and video communication services.

This means all of the telephones are directly connected to the computers.

The phones are also equipped with a camera for video conferences.

Also, if any of the professors, directors or assistants are out of their office and need to be reached, the new telephones will have the call forwarded to their smartphone, Ipad, or computer.

Voicemails are now being sent directly to the person’s e-mail address if they are not available at the time.

“I was surprised when I looked at my e-mail and I saw a voicemail on it,” writing program director Jolivette Mecenas said. “This change is ultimately better for the school because now if I am off campus, I won’t miss important phone calls.”

Only one-third of the school is currently working on the new system. The school is taking a “waterfall” approach with the installation process.

This is because the process has to be done around the professors’ schedules.

Workers can only install the phones into certain offices when somebody is there to learn how to work the new system.

Recipients of the new telephones are not given an instruction manual.

They are given a few pointers, but then they are left to figure it out on their own.

“With any new technology, you need a little learning time,” professor of sociology Sharon Davis said.

Even though professors, directors and assistants are basically left to fend for themselves, they all seem pretty pleased with the new system so far.

“I’m happy for the new phone,” Davis said. “I can personalize it to me.”

The new system allows users to change the ringer sound, view a directory of missed, placed, and received calls, and either dial a number or directly tell the system the person they are trying to reach since it is voice automated.

Another major improvement from the old phones is that if 911 needs to be dialed, they can immediately identify the location the call is coming from.

The school is in the middle of installing these new phones into all of the offices on campus. This change will take anywhere from six to nine months to be complete.

“The new phone system takes the school on a whole new platform,” Brown said.

Sydney Daly-Weber can be reached at sydney.daly-weber@laverne.edu.

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