Yesterday it was Our University Collaboration Improvement Programme Board, (or UCIP as it's affectionately known). The board concentrates on benefits and strategy, and we like to demonstrate new services to them so that they can give us advice on how they could be used in the wider University to improve services. It was the turn of the telephony twins again yesterday to talk about some of the features of the new phone system which we put in about 2 years ago.
Most of the benefits of it have been hidden to the users so far. The system allows us to run VOIP - (Voice over IP, or phones over the data network), and there are a number of infrastructure benefits - the system is now more resilient as we have the kit split over two data centres, we have much more capacity for expansion, and we are saving on cabling. It's also a much greener way of providing telephony as it saves on power. Now that the system is bedded in, we're looking at rolling out some new features to users. Starting with those areas of the University who use call centre functionality - including our own IT helpdesk - but also including other helpdesks and enquiry lines, including ones we set up during clearing and major incidents. The system provides real time infomation on the number of calls waiting, the average time to answer a call, time spent on calls, abandoned calls. Standard stuff in major call centres, but not things we've used before.
There's lots of features for individual users as well. Providing staff with the ability to make work related calls via the University switchboard from wherever they are for - working from home for example. It should also avoid the very high costs of making phone calls from hotels. We'll also be able to make calls from mobiles using your deskphone number, avoiding having to give your mobile number out, and have calls follow you round campus - ie ring on your deskphone and mobile simultaneously. All good stuff.