Baylor to replace landlines with Microsoft Teams Calls

Landlines are being taken out of classrooms and offices across campus. Grace Fortier | Photographer

By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer

Baylor ITS will accelerate the transition of Baylor’s telephones to the Microsoft Teams Calls platform due to multiple telephone outages across campus.

On Sept. 20, Baylor ITS sent a campus-wide email explaining Teams Calls work like a standard phone service but can be used on a laptop, desktop or mobile device.

“Baylor ITS will begin this transition immediately due to the critical nature of the current outage and will provide instructions and training as individuals and departments make the transition to Teams Calls,” the email said.

Jon Allen, chief information officer and chief information security officer, said via email Baylor has been working to find a modern telephone solution for several years.

“During the spring and summer of 2021, Baylor executed a proof-of-concept to test Microsoft Teams,” Allen said. “The response from the proof-of-concept users has been extremely positive and validated our thoughts that a modern, more integrated solution would serve our campus well.”

Allen said Teams Calls will replace outdated and expensive phone systems on campus.

“Microsoft Teams enables new features, access methods and flexibility compared to traditional telephone solutions,” Allen said. “As I have talked with faculty, staff and leadership over the last six months, increased flexibility and the reduced need for a physical phone were consistent themes. Teams will support access to the telephony functions via the Teams desktop client, mobile apps and, where justified, a physical handset. Baylor ITS will be working with campus constituents to provide a smooth transition to Teams Calls.”

According to Allen, the goal is to complete the transition by the end of the fall semester.

“We have already entered the first phase of the transition project,” Allen said. “In the coming weeks, communication will be sent to campus constituents whose phone numbers reside on the oldest of our telephone systems outlining the transition process. The next phase will transition the users from the more modern phone system.”

Lori Clifton, budget associate for the School of Music, said she uses Microsoft Teams on a daily basis already.

“It’s actually easier because people can share their screens and things like that,” Clifton said. “Usually, I have a meeting scheduled [on Microsoft Teams], but sometimes I just call somebody just for a quick question.”

Clifton said she uses her telephone around as much as she uses Microsoft Teams.

“Most of the time, I use email more than anything, but the Teams chat is useful because I usually get quick responses that way, but I use both,” Clifton said. “It just depends. I use my computer more than the phone though.”