New UI phone system is a step forward on the technology front

New UI phone system is a step forward on the technology front

     Employees and graduate students on the University of Illinois campus are getting used to a new, cutting-edge phone system.

     It combines email, calendaring, traditional voice phone service, instant messageing, video conferencing and audio conferencing, all integrated in a computer system.  
     Greg Gulick is the UI's deputy chief information officer and executive director of the university's Campus Information Technologies and Educational Services, known as CITES.  He said the computer-based system, called Unified Communications, will change the way people use their phone.  

     Gulick also said he thinks the system is a great starting point in a new era of communication and will evolve and broaden in the coming years.

     Gulick said employees can also use an Internet protocol phone which plugs into a computer jack in the wall and functions and looks like a regular phone.

     Gulick said the computer-based system cost about $4 million, but will save the UI about $3 million a year and will make it easier for people to collaborate across campus and with others outside the university.  For example, the system will be able to provide information to emergency dispatchers in Champaign County through the Enhanced 911 system, even though it is computer-based.