Microsoft Teams Voice Project Overview
After 40+ years of service, EIU’s phone system is retiring in 2024. Over the course of a phased rollout, the traditional phone system and equipment will be replaced with Microsoft Teams Voice, which uses the existing Teams platform to make and receive external calls on a computer or mobile device. The transition is expected to begin in November of 2023, followed by a phased rollout over the course of several months and being finished by July 1, 2024.
Teams Voice Benefits
- Your 581 phone number will be moved to Teams Voice.
- Domestic Long Distance is included at no additional cost.
- Voicemail transcription takes place within the Teams application and sent to Outlook.
- You will be able to call people by name or number, not just by number.
- Improved directory search capability.
- Centralized hub for collaboration, meetings, and calls.
- Improved accessibility and integration with compatible TTY devices.
- Supports work-from-anywhere situations without having to take a physical phone with you or forward a number.
- Web, mobile, and desktop applications for Windows, Mac OSX, iOS, Android, and Linux.
- Easily set vacation or other out-of-office notices on your phone.
Starting in early November, IT will provide a weekly 30-minute training, 30-minute Q & A session. We will be releasing further details about these meetings before we begin the transition in November. This training session will also be available here in the future.
Why are we moving to Microsoft Teams Voice
There are several reasons:
- The University’s legacy telephone platform, Centrex, has reached its end of life.
- Voicemail transcription is within the Teams application and messages will be sent to you via email.
- It utilizes EIU's existing Microsoft agreement by simply adding voice licensing.
- The new platform provides better, more-integrated communications features while simultaneously simplifying the delivery of those services: bundling basic service, voicemail, domestic long distance, webinars, collaboration tools, and chat into a single piece of software that is accessible both on- and off-campus.
- Teams Voice puts your work phone number on your computer (and optionally also on your handheld cellular device). You can make outbound calls by name or number.
- Teams Voice is accessed by the “Calls” icon on the far-left side of your Teams app, and is a way to make any phone call, regardless of if the other party is a part of Teams or is using software, a cell phone, or a traditional land line.
- Supports work-from-anywhere situations without the need for a physical phone
Why was the Teams Voice platform chosen?
Microsoft Teams is a proven communication solution at EIU. Because of the rising adoption of Teams at EIU, the seamless integration of the voice solution within Teams, the ability to work with our EIU directory contacts and external contacts, and the recent innovations spurred by the worldwide trend to move to a more flexible work environment, the move to Teams as a voice provider made more sense than other competitors in the voice over IP space.
What is changing with Teams Voice?
There are several changes that Microsoft Teams Voice will introduce. Here are some highlights:
- Phone numbers are no longer associated with a device. Instead, the phone number is associated with your account. This means that you can make and receive calls to/from your work phone number on any device that you are logged in to Teams with. Public phones will be handled differently – see FAQ below.
- You can make and receive calls using your work number from anywhere.
- You can access your phone via the Teams desktop app, the Teams web app, or the Teams mobile app.
- There is no longer a need to have multiple phone numbers if you have multiple offices.
- There is no longer a need to forward calls to your cell phone.
- There is no longer a need to mask your personal cell phone or home phone number when making calls if you are still working remotely.
- You can search/call by name or by dialing the full 10-digit phone number.
- Voicemails will be delivered to you via multiple mechanisms by default.
- You can access voicemails from the Teams app as an audio file and a supplemental transcription.
- Voicemails will also be emailed to you with a transcription and an attached audio file.
- If the caller is an internal EIU constituent, the email will come from the caller. This means that you can reply to the email and continue the conversation via email if you wish.
- Departmental main lines will now be a Teams Call Queue. Call Queues provide a greeting message, music while callers are waiting on hold in the queue, call routing to individuals in the department and handling options for queue overflow. There is no longer a need for roll over lines
Will I keep my 581 number?
Yes. Your number will stay the same with Teams calling.
Will I have the ability to answer other lines in the department?
Yes, you will have the same ability to answer other 581 lines as you do today.
Is Consolidated Communications still providing the voice service?
Yes. Consolidated Communications provides the voice service that is being used by the Teams client.
Will I receive training?
Yes. Employees will receive an invitation to a training session before going live in MS teams. ITS will also have a weekly open Q&A session.
Will I keep my phone or receive a new phone?
The current phones across the university are not compatible with the new system because of their age. ITS will be reclaiming phones as part of the campus rollout to be surplussed later. Largely, physical phones will not be part of the Teams voice solution. We anticipate that in very select cases installing a physical Teams certified phone is the only viable solution for a unit. These cases will by and large be scenarios where using a computer to make/receive calls is impractical. An example might a building phone that allows any user to call out, a central phone in a department that is accessed by many employees/students to answer calls to their department line, or possibly a PolyCom unit in a conference room. ITS is evaluating these scenarios to determine the appropriate solution and will provide guidance to departments during the rollout. Optionally, departments may choose to purchase a Teams certified phone from their local funds. More information about this option will be available at rollout.
My student employee or GA needs a phone? How will this be handled with the new Teams voice solution?
All student workers and GAs who currently use a phone with a 581 number will be supplied a Teams phone with the same 581 number assigned.
If physical phones won’t be provided, how do I use the Teams voice solution?
Most users will utilize a headset through the Microsoft Teams application to make/receive calls. The Teams application is considered a "soft phone", meaning that the calling capabilities exist in software and do not require a traditional handset to make and receive calls. Microsoft offers the Teams application as a web application; a desktop application for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux; and a mobile application for Android and iOS. Computer speakers/microphone or any Bluetooth or wired headset will work with the Microsoft Teams application, though there are "Teams Certified" devices. The difference between a Teams Certified device and any other headset or earbud(s) is that a Teams Certified device will be able to control the Teams application, i.e. mute, volume control, etc. Using a standard headset requires users to control their calls from the Teams application.
ITS is providing these headsets as part of the rollout. Optionally, departments may choose to purchase a Teams certified phone from their local funds. More information about this option will be available at rollout.
Where do I get a headset?
ITS will provide more information soon on where users can pickup their headsets.
Can I use my own headset?
Yes. If you currently conduct a Teams meeting use your computer speakers/microphone or any Bluetooth or wired headset it will continue to work in the migration to Teams voice.
When will my department move?
ITS will begin the transition to Teams voice in November 2023, with full campus transition done by July 1, 2024.
How will my department be charged for Teams voice?
Beginning July 1, 2024 departments will no longer be billed monthly for phone service. However, departments WILL see a reduction in budget equal to their average annual phone charges in 2022/2023. Going forward phone services will be a centrally managed service that is provided to all EIU employees.
Moving to this model will allow for any EIU employee to receive a phone number through Teams without additional department cost. It also shields the department from future cost increases from phone services.
If you have additional questions on billing, please submit the question via this machform.
Will 911 work in Teams Voice?
Will my fax line move to Teams Voice?
Fax machines will not move to Teams Voice
How do I request new service/moves/changes/disconnects?
A machform is available to request changes.
How do I request my department to be an early adopter?
Please fill out this machform to request to be an early adopter.
How do I ask additional questions?
Please fill out this machform with additional questions.