New Telecommunications System Moving Ahead

You may have heard, the city is investing in a new phone system. Why the change? Our existing phone system was installed more than 20 years ago and is no longer being manufactured or supported. This transition brings with it a fully digitized foundation and some really cool features as well.


What is VoIP?

Simply stated it is a method that uses the internet to place and receive phone calls rather than the local telephone company. If you have an internet connection, you call anyone without the need for local phone service. It also provides other useful functions like voicemail, call forwarding, call recording and more.


Will phone numbers change?

The city’s current telephone numbers are randomly assigned, with seven different telephone exchanges. For example, the city currently has the following prefix codes: 602, 268, 603, 434, 438, 476, and 931.


The city is taking this opportunity to move all phone numbers to the same exchange, so the area code and next three numbers will be the same for all city users. Having the same area code and prefix will assist with number portability so that users can take their new number if they move to another city office location.


SOFTPHONES I’ve been hearing about a “softphone”. What does that mean for our staff?

The city will be installing softphones for most of the city staff. This is an app called Jabber that runs on your PC, Mac or city issued smartphone, that will provide all the same features and functionality as a traditional desk phone.

Does that mean I can answer calls on my PC?

Yes, users will have to login to their PC in order to take calls. They will also be able to answer calls via an app on a city provided smartphone.


Can I use the softphone on my PC at home?

The softphone application can only be loaded on city issued devices. If you use a city issued laptop or cell phone off site, you will be able to use the softphone remotely.


We have more than one person sharing a phone/workstation. How will that work with softphones?

IT will look at these situations individually to determine the best way to support the call handling needs and may elect to place a standard desk phone instead of a softphone for these circumstances.


How will we hear an incoming call?

Audible alerts on your PC or smartphone are available for incoming calls, as well as a “pop-up” on your desktop. In some cases, external speakers or bells may be required. IT will look at these situations individually to determine the best way to support the call handling needs.


What will we do in our conference room?

The city has purchased high quality speakerphones specifically designed for conference rooms.


VOICEMAIL

I get a notification of voicemails on my cell phone now. Will I still get this?

If you have a city issued cell phone, you will be able to answer calls, transfer calls and get notifications.


Do voicemails messages go to email?

Voicemail messages will be sent to user’s email, where users can listen to the message, save it, or transfer it to another user. Voicemail messages are left as .wav files that users can listen to, but the messages will not be transcribed to text.


HEADSETS We anticipate that most users will opt for headsets, but there are telephone handsets that can also be used with softphones. The city will provide a document that shows the options regarding headsets and handsets.


Will our current headsets work with the new system?

The city will provide adapters to accommodate existing headsets where available. Thus far, most devices work with these adapters.


We frequently move around the office but still need to answer calls. How can we do that with a softphone?

The headset options will be focused on wireless headset tools, providing you with the ability to move around the office area and answer your telephone. Using the wireless headset devices in this manner allows you to handle one call at a time and in most cases, this should work well. IT will look at these situations individually to determine the best way to support the call handling needs and may elect to place a standard desk phone instead of a softphone for these applications.


When will the new system go live?

Go-live dates are still in the works but be on the lookout for more information about this new technology that will touch all users and provide additional tools to assure effective communication between staff and our residents.




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