TELEPHONE SYSTEM UPGRADE
On October 18th, 1999, Trent University Campaign Chair Don
Tapscott, Chancellor Peter Gzowski and President and Vice-Chancellor
Bonnie Patterson officially launched Trent's $17 million Beyond
Our Walls Campaign. On this occasion, Mike Larkin, Bell Vice-President,
Sales and Marketing, announced a commitment of over $1 million
in resources, equipment and expertise from Bell Canada."
Bell Canada's support includes: a new telecommunications system
for Trent's campuses, significant on- and off-campus Internet
access for students through Bell's High Speed Sympatico product,
donation of video conferencing equipment and significant resources
towards the development of a web-based liberal arts and sciences
curriculum, the creation of a Bell World location on campus,
agreements that support enrollment of Bell employees in Trent's
emerging web and video-conferencing based professional development,
degree completion and distance learning programs. The new technology
will be introduced to the University community in several phases.
Phase One is a joint venture with Bell Canada and Mitel and
involves replacement of the current Nortel technology with a
Mitel 2000 SX switch on the main campus. This will result in
some telephone set changes and migration of current meridian
voicemail users to the Mitel voicemail product. The downtown
campuses were migrated to a separate Mitel switch in October
of 1999. The main campus telephone switch will be brought online
during the weekend of February 18th through the 20th. The move
to Mitel Mail (Mitel's version of voicemail) will also occur
at that time.
Why are we replacing the current telephone configuration?
The current telephone switch was installed at Trent many years
ago and is in a state of constant repair and maintenance. Several
lightning strikes in the past have significantly damaged the
Nortel switch. Costs to maintain and upgrade are becoming prohibitive.
Our costs to provide cable protection for the existing telephone
infrastructure would have exceeded $100,000. The new system utilizes
our fiber optic wiring and therefore does not require this expensive
protection. The new technology will provide for us a high level
of reliability, an opportunity to provide voicemail to all offices,
as well as sophisticated tools for statistical reporting and
call flow analysis and other services the current configuration
is unable to provide. Telephony is moving towards integration
with data networking. Moving to the Mitel product provides Trent
with the opportunity to move forward in this direction.
What is the impact to the University Community?
Most of the changes to the system will be transparent to the
users and occur behind the scenes in the main telecommunications
room. There will be changes to some phone sets. Those who are
currently using a single line set will not see a change in their
phone. The older SL1 sets and newer multi-line digital sets will
be replaced with a Mitel equivalent. They were proprietary to
the Meridian switch and will not work with the Mitel. The phone
sets will be swapped out during the weekend of the upgrade.
What are the departmental costs associated with this new technology?
There will be no costs associated with the change in phone
sets, unless the individual is upgrading. At that point, the
cost of the set would be charged to the department. There is
no charge for voicemail and it will be introduced to the entire
University Community over the next few months.
What is the overall cost to the University for the new Telephone
The new telephone system has not caused the University to
spend any more money, either in operational or start-up costs.
The system is leased and has allowed us to reduce our operational
cost in other areas such as direct-inward-dial numbers. It has
allowed us to avoid additional expenditures to existing cabling
of over $100,000 to administrative and academic buildings and
through our new partnership with Bell, to avoid having to wire
our Residences for an additional expenditure in excess of $600,000.
What about training?
Training will be provided to each department for the new phones
and for the Mitel mail product. We will be contacting each department
to appoint a trainer for their area. They will attend the training
sessions and return to their departments to explain to the remainder
of the department how the new technology works. Hands on training
and handouts will be provided. The sessions will be 2 hours in
length, with the first hour focusing on the digital phone sets
and the second hour to focus on Mitel Mail, and voicemail etiquette.
All training will occur during the week of February 14th through
the 18th. Classes will be held in OC219, the Distance Education
Phase two involves the introduction and testing of Locus Liaison.
Locus is a speech recognition system which allows callers to
speak the name of the person, department or service they wish
to reach. They can also choose to dial the extension, if they
know it. Locus will, in time, be the front-end access to the
University. During phase 2, it will be tested by the Physical
Resources Department, ensuring that the caller can easily navigate
through the system to the destination they wish to reach. An
important part of Phase 2 is feedback from the University community
on the Locus Liaison product. How easy was it to use and navigate?
How can the help menus be modified to further assist the caller
in directing them to the correct area? A critical factor in programming
Locus is the use of key terms in the greetings and help menus,
which will prompt the caller in asking for the correct area.
Once the Physical Resources call flow is operating efficiently,
a model will be drawn up to migrate the rest of the University
to the system.
Phase 3 involves the removal of DID (direct-inward-dial) numbers
from those departments who currently have voicemail under the
old system, with the move to a single DID for each department.
All remaining DID's will become internal extensions. Internal
extension numbers will not change. The departments included in
phase 3 are:
Capital Campaign Office
Financial Services Office
Dean, Arts and Sciences Office and VP Academic
Dean, Research and Graduate Studies Office
VP Administration Office
The template developed in phase 2 will be used in phase 3
to incorporate the departments listed above into the Locus Liaison
Speech Recognition product. We are working towards a target date
of early Summer 2000.
Phase 4 is scheduled to occur during the Summer of 2000. We
will migrate the remainder of the University to voicemail and
departmental numbers and begin the DID removal. This will be
done on a departmental basis, with voicemail implemented first,
and, after a short period of time to become familiar with the
voicemail, the DID numbers will be removed.
DID REMOVAL PROCESS
In most cases, the departmental secretary's phone number will
become the DID for the academic department and a new internal
extension will be assigned to the secretary. All other telephone
extensions will remain in place and will work internally within
the University. If someone from the outside world wishes to call
someone at the University, they will call the new DID associated
with the department, followed by the existing 4 digit telephone
To reach my number within the Network and Telecommunications
department, you would dial: 748-1120. The speech recognition
software would welcome you to Trent and prompt you to either
"speak the name of the PERSON, DEPARTMENT or SERVICE you
wish to reach, or you can dial the extension now." You could
say CAROL CARTWRIGHT, VIDEO CONFERENCING BOOKINGS, or dial 1594.
All would go to the phone in the office.
DID removal will be planned out in conjunction with departments
to determine a cutover date. When the DID numbers are removed,
a "Reference of Call" will be provided by Bell for
a period of up to one year. When an outside caller dials the
old extension, Bell will inform the caller that the number is
no longer in service and will provide the caller with the new
extension. They will not automatically connect the caller to
the new extension.
Network and Telecommunications Services 16/02/00