– March 30th, 2013 by Parker Pearlstein –
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Growth Brings New Ways of Communication

The growth rate at Colby-Sawyer has been astounding over the past four years. Just one step at a time has made the college  miss the  a lot of the upgrades . Seniors will remember four years ago when the school made a switch to Microsoft’s Live@edu which gave the students an increased ability to use a cloud-based emailing system. Microsoft this year is releasing an upgrade to Live@edu called Office 365 which includes a program called Lync, a Voice over IP phone system that Colby-Sawyer plans on transitioning to over the next year.

This new program will change the way people interact on campus and off. Starting with staff at the school, Lync has the ability to tie the phone system in directly with many of the Windows/MS Office features that are used on a regular base. Lync’s format looks much like the instant messaging programs that have been developing over the past 15 years.

Lync is a highly sophisticated program, giving users the ability to see if some one is at his or her computer or is away based on keyboard activity or appointments in their calendars. Users can chat over a conference call with multiple people at once, and all of the people that are in the conference call can message each other via text like instant messaging clients while at the same time members of the conference call can share screens, present PowerPoint presentations, use a white board or web sites.

Another feature that this program has is voice to text, when a person calls the user’s phone number and leaves a voice message, it will move that voice message into a .wav file that shows up in  Outlook email. It will also include a typed out version of what the person said inside the voicemail, and turn phone numbers into an link that a user can click on to make a phone call. Lync offers options to the staff that the college had not previously dreamed possible if the school
chooses adopt it as the new system.

The need for a new phone system is not only based on new features, but also the current Colby-Sawyer’s system called MITEL, is not getting any younger. The MITEL system is using approximately 30 year old  technology, and finding spare parts and vendors who could support it was becoming increasingly difficult. With the new Ware Campus center opening up and additional phones being added to that building, it made sense to begin the transition to a new phone system sooner than later. Many say that it is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks however with Lync, not only is the old dog learned many new tricks, but it is also opening the school up to the future of telecommunications and interactions that will continue moving us forward.

 

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