The UNT System IT Shared Services is moving Skype for Business phone service to Microsoft’s Cloud Voice!
For the past several years, the UNT System has been piloting Voice over IP telephony based on Microsoft Skype for Business. In the fall of 2017, ITSS acquired licenses for Microsoft’s A5 suite of applications for Office 365. These licenses gave us the opportunity to take a leading role amongst higher education institutions by moving our telephony services off traditional copper lines to the cloud. Additionally, major telecommunications carriers such as AT&T, Verizon, and others are exiting the landline telephone based service industry. Costs and expertise in older technology has become more expensive and harder to find. ITSS has positioned the UNT System enterprise to take advantage of a cloud-based service, lowering infrastructure costs, lowering billing costs, and reducing complexity in billing and administrative costs.
This project is in phase 1, scheduled to complete in September of 2018. The goal of this phase is to move the 875 individuals from the Skype of Business VoIP system in our datacenter, to Microsoft Phone Service, which we call Cloud Voice. Planning of phase 2 of this project began in the summer of 2018, and will focus on the future for UNT Denton and UNT Dallas campuses. Phase 2 is a multi-year project that will transform telephony for nearly 6000 individuals across the UNT System.
Skype for business seamlessly integrates with the rest of the Microsoft office suite, meaning that you can start impromptu conversations using Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, SharePoint, and more.
Dial in conferencing* (* this only applies to employees with A5 licenses. Students do not have this service under the student license for O365) for up to 250 participants. Host your own meeting with individuals inside or outside our organization. Use Outlook to generate a “Skype Meeting” or a “Teams Meeting” and send it to anyone. Your message will include a phone number to call in to, and/or a hyperlink that will join their computer to your meeting using a web browser or the Skype client if they have that installed at their organization.
NO LONGDISTANCE!! They days of long distance are over! No more long distance charges when you call using Skype for business from your PC/Mac or mobile client. Additionally, there is no need to dial 9 to “get out.” Just dial the 10 digits of the person with whom you wish to speak. International dialing is available by request. Please talk to your IT support staff for more details.
Anytime, anyplace, any device access. Skype for Business is available for Mac, PC, Android, iOS. Teams is also available in these formats and can be downloaded here (link: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/56505). For more information on Teams, refer to their website (link: https://products.office.com/en-us/microsoft-teams/group-chat-software).
Cloud Voice can be accessed using our recommended Polycom VVx IP phones, a number of headsets, web cameras, soft phones, or even the mobile app. All that is needed is a connection to the internet and you can start making or taking calls to your business number from anywhere.
Right now, IT Share Services is working in conjunction with the leadership at our institutions to create a roadmap to the cloud. The Skype for Business VoIP pilot has been very successful, and many have asked to be moved to the cloud early. The leadership understands the benefits and desire to make the transition, and the planning process has started. We are working with leadership to communicate information, schedules, and strategy at various levels. Refer back to this website for updates and information regarding the progress of Cloud Voice.
If you are in an area that has budgeted VoIP into your construction, we will honor those requests out of band. If you are onboarding into an area or team that is already on Cloud Voice, you will receive that service as well.