Jabber Softphone FAQ

What is a Cisco Jabber Softphone?

Softphones are part of what’s called unified communications technologies. The Cisco Jabber softphone platform streamlines communications and enhances productivity on many devices. It unifies online presence, instant messaging, video, voice, voice messaging, and conferencing capabilities securely into one client on your computer. Your extension number remains the same.

Is Jabber just another communication platform similar to Slack/Zoom/Google Hangouts?

No. While Jabber has chat and video functions, the key feature is that Jabber is connected to your University extension number, giving you what’s essentially a portable landline.

Why are we moving towards using softphones?

As part of the University’s response to Covid-19, a number of staff were assigned as student case managers, contacting every student by phone during Alert Level 4. To enable staff to do this without having to use their personal phone numbers, we set up temporary Jabber licenses so staff were able to make these calls using their University phone numbers from their home-based workstations.

The feedback from this solution was overwhelmingly positive, with requests from other areas of the University to implement this technology more widely, and to continue use for those whose temporary licenses were set to expire.

The University also has around 1,700 desk phones that are due for upgrade or replacement soon. It’s more cost effective to instead make the switch to softphones.

What are the benefits of softphones?

  • The cost of upgrading to softphones is less than replacing or maintaining the end-of-life desk phones. Full uptake of Jabber represents a significant saving to the University.
  • Increased flexibility - softphones allow you to do your job from virtually anywhere in the world and take your extension with you. This type of flexibility can lead to a rise in productivity of nearly 20%.1
  • Increased operational resiliency in case of situations like escalating Covid-19 alert levels.

How common are softphones?

A number of other universities and tertiary institutions have already adopted the use of softphones. The technology is robust and now considered common-place, as more and more homes and businesses move away from the traditional landline.

Why is Jabber now being rolled out faster?

Initially Jabber was being implemented via a managed, group by group process across the University.

However as part of the requirements for the University to be responsive to changes in Covid-19 alert levels, the full implementation of Jabber is now a priority. Our staff need to be flexible and mobile - taking their extension with them - as quickly as possible.

When will I be switched to a softphone?

ITS has installed Jabber on all computers on the network. You may have noticed the Cisco Jabber folder in your Start menu. Until ITS completes the background configuration of Jabber for your group, you do not need to do anything.

Your administrator will work with you and ITS on providing headsets and completing the setup of Jabber. If your administrator or department head has not yet been contacted about the switch to Jabber, they can contact the ITS Service Desk.

Will headsets be provided or can I use my own?

ITS can provide a wired standard headset as part of your Jabber set up. If you already have a suitable headset please continue to use it. Jabber can also be used without a headset via your laptop or desktop computer’s speaker and microphone, if you are in a private area.

What if I want a different headset to the one provided?

Alternative headset models, including wireless options, can be procured via Unimarket. These need to be purchased by your department or division. Please check with your Line Manager before ordering.

Is Jabber easy to use?

Yes! Check the self-help page or attend an online tutorial for an introduction to using Jabber.

Can I keep my desk phone?

The desk phones are nearing end-of-life, which means they are becoming more expensive to maintain and harder to support. Jabber is the lowest cost option and increases operational flexibility for the University. The cost of desk phones to your department will rise from January, so the budget holder for your team or department will need to approve any request to retain your desk phone.

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