WPI is pleased to announce that we have made the strategic decision to move to Zoom Phone. In early summer, Information Technology will begin a phased approach to implement unified communications at WPI, transforming the way you communicate today! This exciting change enables many technical improvements and allows WPI to consolidate to a single vendor for voice, video, SMS text, and chat, all using Zoom, an application most WPI employees are already familiar with. While keeping current WPI phone extensions in use, the project replaces the call management system, upgrades multi-line and conference phones, and removes physical desk phones when they are not deemed necessary.
WPI’s Management Council supports this initiative, and asks all faculty and staff to embrace this opportunity to move WPI unified communications forward. IT will be meeting with divisions and departments to assess needs, plan the transition, and provide training and support.
Your participation in this initiative enables WPI to enhance communication and sustainability.
In addition to call management system replacement, the project upgrades multi-line and conference phones, and removes most desk phones. While this is a major change from WPI's current telecommunications, IT is here to support you and you are welcome to contact us using Get Support (below) throughout the transition.
As the project progresses, additional information will be added here.
Top 5 Things to Know:
- WPI phone numbers do not change!
- You do not need to be at your desk to receive or make a call. WPI calls happen wherever you use the Zoom app.
- You also can use Zoom for SMS text and chat.
- You can see what it looks like in the Zoom Phone App Overview video (linked in Actions).
- Starting June 21, external dialing is best. All calls will need to be treated as external using 9-1-508-831 before the extension. During the transition the two separate phone systems, old Avaya and new Zoom, will not recognize all 4-digit extensions. Using external dialing (i.e., 9-1-508-831-5000) ensures your call gets through. (4-digit dialing returns when all extensions have been moved to Zoom.)
Video Explanation of Softphones (3 minutes)
About the Project
Why is WPI upgrading the phone system?
WPI’s current Avaya phone system is aging, and not keeping pace with today’s technology. To improve overall architecture, service, and resiliency, it is being replaced. The new Zoom Phone system will retain existing phone extensions, provide all the features phones offer today, as well as enhanced functionality to meet future needs.
What does the project involve?
- Assessing phone hardware needs, including multi-line and conference phones, and removing physical desk phones when they are not deemed necessary.
- Transitioning software to Zoom Phone, and automating Zoom license provision and deprovision.
- Installing a new Private Branch eXchange (PBX), the calling management system.
- Aligning emergency calling (E911) with the new system.
- Retiring aging Avaya phone components.
What are the benefits of this transition?
- WPI employees will be better equipped to communicate and engage with our community.
- Reduced phone hardware and maintenance lowers cost and improves sustainability.
- Employees are no longer tied to office phones for business calls. Using the Zoom mobile and desktop application, calls can be placed and received using WPI phone numbers.
- Call transfer, forwarding, conferencing, and voicemail are still supported.
- Additional features are available in Zoom.
About Individual Phones
How does Zoom Phone work for me?
Call will be placed and received using the Zoom softphone application on a computer or mobile device. Because calls placed from and received in Zoom Phone will use WPI phone numbers:
- You can make and accept calls anywhere you connect to the Zoom app, and are no longer tied to the desk phone.
- You do not need to distribute your personal mobile number for WPI calls.
Do I need to install Zoom?
If you already have the Zoom app installed on your desktop or mobile device then you will continue to use the same app after your Zoom Phone license is turned on by IT.
If you do not have Zoom installed on your device then you will need to download it. For more information, please see the related item, View Zoom Download Center and the related article, Download Zoom on Personal Machine.
How does it alleviate staff using their person smart phones for work?
Most WPI computers already have Zoom installed. It is available for you to install on a personal device or smartphone if you choose. You are not required to use Zoom on your personal smartphone.
The Zoom app can be downloaded to a smartphone and you can be called with a WPI phone number. When someone calls your WPI number, your smartphone's Zoom app will notify you. The advantage is that you can use your WPI phone extension whether or not you are at your desk, eliminating the need to share your personal phone number for work.
Will every employee who does not currently have a WPI extension now have one by leveraging the Zoom app?
Yes, the Zoom Phone license is for all active employees.
What if I have concerns about my network or wireless reliability?
If you have concerns about network or wireless reliability or performance issues, please are encouraged to reach out to the Service Desk (using Get Support below). They will work with you to discuss options for addressing these concerns, ensuring the necessary performance for a reliable voice connection.
Can I keep my number?
Yes! Department and individual phone extensions that are currently in use will remain the same, and be ported to Zoom Phone.
When will my phone change?
IT will be meeting with divisions and departments to assess needs, plan the transition, and provide training and support. The goal is to complete the move to Zoom Phone in December 2023.
How do we call individuals during the transition?
It is best to call using external dialing (i.e., 9-1-508-831-5000) during the transition. During the transition the two separate phone systems can only recognize their own 4-digit extensions. When the project is complete, all 4-digit extensions will be reachable via Zoom.
What if I need to keep my desk phone?
Management Council has defined the need for a desk phone justification and approval process. When this is finalized, it will be shared with employees.
What headset do I use with Zoom Phone?
The headset you are currently using for Zoom video meetings will also work with the Zoom Phone app on your WPI-issued computer.
Do you have any videos I can watch?
This video provides a 2 minute overview. For additional videos, please click the Zoom Phone YouTube Playlist in the Actions menu. For additional information you can go to the Zoom Learning Center Videos in the Actions menu. As the rollout nears, IT will assist with training and highlighting Zoom instructions for common tasks.
About Department and Common Phones
Will department phones change?
New phone handsets will replace multi-line phones, such as a in department front offices. The department phone number will be ported to Zoom.
What type of handsets will be used?
Handsets for phones in high risk areas (ex. lab, rec center) will be the Grandstream GRP2602G model.
Handsets for information desks and desk phones approved by Management Council will be the Poly Edge E220.
What phones will the student workers use?
During the transition, there will be an assessment of common area phones. That process will help identify areas that still need a desk phone for student workers.
How do we call departments during the transition?
It is best to call using 10-digit phone numbers during the transition (i.e., 508-831-5000). During the transition the two separate phone systems can only recognize their own 4-digit extensions. When the project is complete, all 4-digit extensions will be reachable via Zoom.
How will calling WPI's main phone line 508-831-5000 work after the transition?
The main WPI line will still be 508-831-5000, and it will continue to route calls.
How does this initiative affect phone placement in areas with special safety circumstances?
We recognize that certain labs, machine shops, and other campus environments have specific concerns regarding safety and related communications, and we are working with the Office of Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) to assess and update phone services in such areas.
Are all phones moving to Zoom?
No. Blue light emergency phones and elevator phones are not moving to Zoom.
About Zoom Phone Features
Will I still have voicemail?
Yes, when you cannot accept a call it will go to voicemail.
What new features does Zoom Phone offer?
- Improved softphone experience from laptops and mobile devices.
- Automated and manual call blocking, reducing SPAM and other unwanted calls.
- SMS text messaging from primary and shared lines.
- Call handling, including setting business hours.
- Improved call queues, auto attendant, and call volume statistics.
- Automatic or on demand call recording.
- Automatic voicemail transcription.
Zoom Phone and Meetings
Do I use Zoom or Microsoft 365 Teams?
While Zoom will be our primary unified communications platform, Microsoft 365 Teams will remain available. Teams is a good option when file sharing through OneDrive and SharePoint is needed for calls, chat, and meetings.
Can I start a Zoom meeting when I am in Teams?
You will find the directions for how to use Zoom from within the Teams app in the Actions item, Using Zoom for MS Teams.
Videos about Zoom Phone
Zoom Phone App Overview (2 minutes)
Zoom Phone Advertisement (under 2 minutes)
Zoom Phone in Higher Education:
Minnesota State University, Mankato made this video for their Zoom Phone implementation. Please note there will be slight differences with using Zoom Phone at WPI, but this video provides a good general idea of what it will be like.
Downloading, Installing, and Updating Zoom’s Mobile App (under 3 minutes)
Initial Zoom Phone Setup (5 minutes)
Call Handling (under 5 minutes):
Visual Tour of Poly Edge E220 Desk Phone
If Management Council approved your area to have a desk phone, it will be the Poly Edge E220. A pictorial tour of this phone model is below. To view a bigger version of the picture, right click the image and select Open image in new tab.
Handset Cable Slot
LED Status Indicators