The main voice service (phone system) used throughout the Johns Hopkins enterprise is an Avaya PBX. This service, with some advanced digital features, is similar to traditional phone service, in that it runs on a dedicated wired network, separate from the network used by computers (IP). This system is supported by the telecommunications department of IT@JH. Some advanced features of this service include:
- Voice mail
- eFax (Right Fax): fax service which delivers faxes to email rather than to a fax machine. You can also send out faxes using a web interface.
- Voice mail to email: have your voice mail messages delivered to your email account.
To request Avaya phone service, to request changes, or add additional features, complete a Telephone Service Request Form (TSR form) using this link (East Baltimore):
For more information about these services, see www.it.johnshopkins.edu/services/telecom.
Enterprise Voice (Skype for Business)
A second voice service option is Skype for Business, Enterprise Voice. This service is a Voice over IP (VoIP) service. Unlike the Avaya service, VoIP uses the same network that computers use (IP) to transmit calls. This service provides more advanced options than the Avaya service, including:
- Simultaneous ring and forwarding features: calls to you office phone can be set to ring in your office or your cell phone or other phone (or forward to those phones)
- Unified Messaging with Exchange: allows retrieval of voice and Speech-To-Text message directly from the Outlook client
- Device Transfer features allow active calls to be transferred from phone to mobile to PC or any combination
- Soft phone feature allows any device/PC that can run Skype for Business to operate as a phone
There are several limitations (or at least what many would consider to be annoyances) to this service as it has been implemented at Hopkins that should be considered:
- Anyone getting Enterprise Voice gets a new phone number. There is no option to have an existing phone number ported over to the Enterprise Voice service. The numbers begin with the 667 area code.
- A new phone must also be purchased. Avaya phones are not compatible with the service.
- Forwarding calls from an old Avaya number to a new Enterprise Voice number is possible (tricky to set up), but it only works as long as you continue to pay for the Avaya service.
- Enterprise Voice lines are not at all integrated with the Avaya service, so normal dialing rules do not apply (you can't dial 5-HELP to reach the IT@JH help desk, for example).
- Users on Enterprise Voice calling an Avaya line will not be recognized with caller ID on the Avaya line.
- Some people don't like to use Skype for Business (they don't like anyone knowing their online "status"), but if someone is using Enterprise Voice, they are also using Skype for Business.
- To work well, a Skype for Business phone should be connected to a computer (one available model doesn't have to be, but for most uses it should be tied to a computer). The USB connection can limit where the phone is located (needs to be close to the PC). So for example, a Polycom CX600 model phone has a network connection (Ethernet, CAT5), a USB connection to the PC, a pass-through network connection to the PC, and a power cable. These are many more wires that the Avaya phones require (a single flexible/long CAT3 cable).
Enterprise voice on Microsoft Skype for Business is supported by the Integration Services Video Collaboration department within IT@JH. For more information, and to access an order form for the service, see: