A cloud telephony solution like Zoom Phone can fit seamlessly into your connected campus ecosystem. See how three institutions adopted Zoom Phone as an essential part of their communications platform and connected their communities in new ways. At Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC), where the move to flexible mobile learning had been underway for years, campus closures during the pandemic meant faculty and staff could no longer access their office phones. “We left our phones sitting at our desks,” said Mike Logan, dean of information technology at WITCC.
Communication is crucial for schools and universities seeking to create a connected campus. Schools and universities can use video, phone, and chat communication to make a variety of important connections within their communities, such as how they interact with faculty and staff, keep parents informed, build relationships with students, and deliver education, particularly with hybrid learning options. Telephony is frequently the most difficult component of a connected campus to incorporate. Faculty and staff are generally required to be at their desks with legacy phone systems, making it difficult to stay connected in a mobile world.
To augment emergency remote instruction, the college implemented Zoom Phone, providing employees with Apple AirPods to ease the transition to using a softphone. “Our employees are enabled to be wherever they need to be, when they need to be there. They aren’t chained to their desk anymore,” Logan said. Zoom Phone makes it easy to call someone and actually get them on the line, whether they’re working from home or on campus. As Lauren Erardi, director of academic technology at Quinnipiac University, said, “Zoom Phone allows me to receive my office calls from any location, anywhere I’m connected to Zoom – whether it’s my mobile device or my laptop from home.”
For faculty and staff, one of the biggest advantages of using Zoom Phone is that it’s part of the Zoom platform. That means using one app to connect with a colleague or parent by chat, phone, or video – and being able to switch your method of communication on the fly. “I don’t need to go looking for a [printed] directory. I pick up my phone and go to the Zoom directory, type in a name, and connect,” said Steven Ramos, director of information services and technology at Solano County Office of Education. “Being able to convert a phone call into a meeting so I can do screen sharing is big.”
Streamlined communications, combined with powerful features, support accessibility for faculty, staff, and students with different needs. At WITCC, an IT help desk employee who is deaf uses Zoom Phone’s voicemail transcription feature so she can read and understand her customers’ issues, then communicate via Zoom Chat to help them troubleshoot.
“Her phone is set up to go immediately to voicemail so she gets the transcript by email. Then, she goes to Zoom Chat to send a message to the customer. She can also send an SMS text [using Zoom Phone] if the customer doesn’t have Zoom,” Logan said. “She can interact with the customer in a way she’s never been able to before – and that’s pretty amazing.”
If your school already uses the Zoom platform, adding Zoom Phone is easy. According to Ramos, Solano County Office of Education replaced an antiquated on-premises phone system, and “it didn’t take a huge army of technicians. It went really smoothly. We don’t need an engineer to run our phone system now, which is great for schools.”
Zoom’s Professional Services Organization (PSO) team can make the migration even easier. WITCC worked with Zoom’s PSO team to roll out Zoom Phone in the middle of the pandemic while working remotely. “I’ve worked with lots of implementation teams, supplier-vendor partner projects, and this was probably the most pleasant project I’ve been involved in,” Logan said. “And we did this without any interruption in service to the college.” A final note on campus safety & E911 compliance. As you migrate to a cloud phone solution, Zoom Phone’s Nomadic E911 service helps support compliance with several Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, including:
Kari’s Law, which requires multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) to support direct dialing of 911 without any prefix or access code, and requires designated personnel to be alerted in the event an emergency call is placed.
RAY BAUM’S Act, which requires that information such as street address, building number, floor number, and suite are included in the dispatchable location information provided to public safety at the time of a 911 call.
Zoom Phone’s Nomadic E911 service supports direct emergency dialing, alerts designated campus safety personnel, and provides the ability to dynamically track the location of users as they move around your campus and pass along that information to emergency responders. This is especially important for schools and universities that need to comply with the FCC deadline for RAY BAUM’S Act on Jan. 6, 2022, which requires organizations with non-fixed phone devices (like cloud phone services) to provide the “dispatchable location” of the 911 caller so emergency personnel can more accurately locate them. Register for this Nov. 30 webinar for a look at how Zoom Phone can help keep you compliant with FCC regulations. Want to learn more about connecting your campus with the Zoom platform? Watch our “Building a Connected Campus Experience” webinar or talk to a Zoom education specialist.
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