Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
On Tuesday afternoon, the College announced its plans for a new phone system which should be in effect after the week of June 5th. Our current phone system, which was installed 14 years ago, is two years past the end of its life expectancy. This semester marks the last in which students will be provided with phones, and with the new school year all students will have to provide their own phones.
Why is the current system due for a replacement? According to Mark Dumic of ITS, the company which runs our current phone system was discontinued two years ago, and since then there has been no maintenance support, and spare parts for broken equipment have been hard to find. This is why the college has decided to go with a new and improved system.
This new system, manufactured by Cisco Systems Inc., has some very new and interesting features. Firstly, all users will receive E-mail alerts when they receive new voicemail. Web access will allow users to read, delete, or forward their voicemails, as well as copy them onto a computer. Users will also be able to access and change their personal preferences online. There will also be a new voice-response campus directory which is much more up to date than the currently in use system given that technology has improved significantly.
The phone system also has some interesting and important safety features. For example, if a person is receiving phone calls that they deem to be harassment or dangerous, they can immediately flag them and public safety will be notified, as well as the local phone company which can then trace the call. Furthermore, public safety will be notified of in-progress 9/11 calls, allowing them to respond quickly.