New Phone System Introduced to Residence Halls

New Phone System Introduced to Residence Halls

Freshman Jaqueline Vera gets familiar with the new phone system on a friend's laptop.

Students in the residence halls at Southwestern Adventist University will find something missing in their rooms this semester.  All room phones have been removed and are being replaced by a new phone system.

The University has chosen to adopt and support Zoiper, a cross-platform software solution that allows students to use their computer as a phone. One of the great things about it is that students will receive their own personal extension. In other words, they don’t have to share the phone line with a roommate.  Also, all voicemail gets sent as an audio attachment to the student’s Southwestern email address for easy listening. Many of the old phones didn’t have accessible voicemail. Students would leave Southwestern and not share their voicemail password.  Then new students would go without a voicemail rather than bother to get it fixed.

Charles Lewis, director of Information and Technical Services (ITS), describes the old phones as “obsolete.”  He explains that “When a phone breaks down the only way to replace it is to buy a refurbished phone which is getting harder to find.”  Most students on campus own cell phones, so Southwestern was hesitant to completely replace the campus phones.  In previous years students would even unplug their desk phone so they could plug other devices into the network jack. Yet, there are still some who don’t use a cell phone, or just don’t want to run their bill up. Zoiper provides a phone without costing Southwestern or the student unnecessary money.

Lewis says, “There is often a learning curve when it comes to new technology, but once students learn to use it, I am confident it will work for them.” The laptop does have to be open to receive calls, and it has to have some sort of mike. Students who don’t have a mike on their laptop, or that don’t own a laptop, can visit ITS to check out a desk phone for their residence hall.

The program is initially for students in the residence hall, but if there is a demand of off campus students who want to use it Lewis says they should be able to accommodate.  Zoiper is downloaded off the Internet. Students should have received an email explaining how to set it up; if not, they should check with ITS.

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