In a new book, MIT’s Ethan Zuckerman asserts that we need to overcome the Internet’s sorting tendencies and create tools to make ourselves ‘digital cosmopolitans.’
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology enables telephones to use networks such as MITnet to transmit calls. VoIP supports standard telephone features while providing advanced, web-based functionality. To bring the benefits of this technology to campus, Information Services and Technology (IS&T) has created the MITvoip service, which will be generally available for departments, labs and centers (DLCs) and is intended to replace MIT's traditional telephone service.
IS&T engaged the MIT community in both the design and transition planning process for MITvoip. This past fall, IS&T offered a series of outreach events and demonstrations and created a VoIP Advisory Board to provide input on the service and the campus deployment.
IS&T will transition the MIT community to MITvoip in a phased rollout that will include faculty, administration and staff. The transition began in early 2008 with the Sloan School of Management and MIT Resource Development. This quarter, the transition will include Human Resources, the Libraries, the Publishing Services Bureau and the Student Center (W20). To see the current transition schedule and the criteria for readiness, visit the MITvoip Project Update site.
By converging voice and data, VoIP enables web interface features that enhance productivity. For example, the VoIP system can send e-mail letting you know that someone has left you a voice-mail message or even send the message itself as an audio file attachment that you can play. With MITvoip's call-forwarding options, you can have your calls ring at multiple phones at the same time or in sequence. The online conference-call feature supports up to six participants. You can also place and receive calls from a remote location as if you were at your desk.
If you are already on the MITvoip service, you can explore these features at sylantro.mit.edu.
IS&T has designed a process to ensure an efficient, smooth transition with little or no service interruptions. Each DLC will partner with IS&T to create its own transition plan to ensure that the implementation meets both business and technical requirements. IS&T will review the plan with the DLC in detail and work collaboratively to address any concerns before the new phones are installed.
The Telephone Network Service Center (TNSC) will cover the cost of the transition. After a DLC has transitioned, it will be responsible for the cost of installing new VoIP phones or network jacks, or activating existing network jacks. This is similar to the existing model.
Just-in-time training and on-site support will be available to each DLC as part of the transition. IS&T will also provide online documentation and MITvoip Telephone Quick Start Guides.
Additional training sessions can be scheduled as needed.