Will my phone number change?

Only phone numbers that have an extension (e.g. 514-398-4400 ext. 12345) will have to change. If you don't have an extension you can keep your McGill phone number.

Will I get a new phone or a headset to use with the softphone?

The decision of which employees will receive physical phones versus headsets will be left to each department and may depend on your needs according to your role:

  • Heavy telephone user, requiring complex features, such as delegate phone access for another user and multi-line management;
  • Call centre agent, requiring use of telephone throughout the day to field incoming support calls;
  • Faculty and support staff who may work from one or multiple locations, with or without having access to a smart mobile phone.

The University has defined sustainability objectives for the Telephone Evolution Project aimed at reducing our footprint related to physical phones. Our objective is to reduce the number of physical phones by at least 20% and move those users toward the headset and softphone. While ambitious, the project team feels that this can be achieved, as many alternatives are now offered (headsets, mobile app, etc.) and as the past year fundamentally shifted the way most of us integrate communication technology in our daily work -- away from traditional telephony and toward a richer web conference experience, able to support hybrid work models.

Departments will therefore be expected to help reach this objective and will be allocated a budget based on the number of existing phones (with a maximum value of 80% physical phones and 20% headsets). Each department will decide how to distribute physical phones or headsets to its employees. Additional equipment may be purchased and paid for by the department. Departments will also be responsible for purchasing equipment for new hires and replacing any lost or broken equipment.

Do the physical phones require a telephone wall jack?

No. The new phone system is Internet-based, so physical phones will not require a telephone jack, but they will require a network jack; it can share the same network jack as your computer. You will not require two network jacks.

What phone models are available?

If you choose to request a desk phone, it will be similar to the Cisco IP Phone 8811 monochrome display.
Cisco phone model 8811

What headset models are available?

The Cisco headset model distributed by IT Services will be similar to the model 522. It is compatible with Cisco phones, USB and mobile devices. Note that Mac users will have to use an adapter (dongle) for the USB to Mac port.
Cisco 522 headset

How will I be prepared for this change?

When your unit is scheduled for migration, you will be invited to an information session, where you will be introduced to the Ciso phone system and features of the Cisco Webex softphone app and Cisco physical phone. You will also have an opportunity to ask questions of the project team.

What will happen on the day my phone number is activated in the new Cisco phone system?

Softphone activation and setup

  • The activation/migration is all done remotely, so you don’t need to be present.
  • On the day of your activation; you will receive an email with instructions to install and set up the Webex app on whatever computer you’re working on.
  • Setup steps include setting up a new voicemail PIN and recording your voicemail greeting.
  • A Cisco headset will be provided to those who opt to go with softphone only; however, if you already have a preferred headset, you may continue to use that one.

Physical phone activation/installation

  • The dates for delivery of physical phones will vary depending on your office location; you must be in a building that has been upgraded to the new network. If not, you may start with the softphone, and obtain the physical phone once your building is upgraded. if you do not want to start with the softphone, then your activation date may be delayed until the physical device can be installed.
  • You do not need to be on campus the day your phone is delivered/installed.
  • A quick reference guide will be placed beside the phone so that you can get started.
  • If you are working remotely, you can install the Webex app on your desktop or mobile device to ensure you receive phone calls.

What happens to my old phone?

  • Your old phone will be disconnected from the system; it will eventually be picked up to be recycled responsibly (details TBD)
  • You will no longer have access to any voicemail messages left in the old system (if there are any saved messages, be sure to listen to them before the migration)
  • New voicemail messages will be sent as email attachments and accessible through Outlook (as well as the Webex app, or directly from the physical phone).
  • If your McGill phone number is currently set to forward to another number, that forwarding will break. You will need to set up the call forwarding or single number reach features in the new Cisco system. For instructions, sign into the IT Knowledge Base and search for "forward" or "Single number reach".

Which tools should we use for collaborating with McGill colleagues?

We recommend using Microsoft Teams for meetings and collaboration with McGill people. Microsoft Teams is an Office 365 application, so you can take advantage of integration with the Outlook calendar, Microsoft Forms, OneDrive and other Office 365 tools. The documents you share on MS Teams are stored on McGill's SharePoint site, which is one of the recommended means of storing McGill enterprise data.

Which tools are recommended for collaborating with external contacts?

Use Webex to communicate and collaborate with people outside the university, especially when their contact information is a phone number. Open the Webex application and enter any phone number in Canada or the U.S. If you need to phone a McGill contact, you can search for them by name.

Note that you may also use MS Teams for collaboration with external contacts if they have a Microsoft Office 365 account; you may need to grant them permissions to access a specific MS Team.

Is the Webex softphone app available in French?

The Webex app will be installed in the language of your operating system; e.g., if your computer has Windows in French, the French version of Webex will be installed.

My team takes in credit card payments over the phone. Is the Cisco Webex solution PCI-compliant?

No. The Cisco Webex solution does not support Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards. Anyone who requires PCI support cannot become an early adopter, as you would lose the ability to use your current office phone. IT Services will work with you to recommend a telephone solution that is secure and meets PCI regulations within a suitable timeframe before our legacy phone system is completely decommissioned.

Additional information

Find more detailed FAQs in our IT Knowledge Base at: FAQs about the NEW telephone system (Cisco desk phones & Webex softphone)

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