Jabber desktop client offers phone flexibility, more

December 1, 2015
Jabber desktop client

The Unified Communications system implemented this summer brought so much more than new desk phones to UW-Platteville employees.  Cisco’s Jabber desktop client allows employees to utilize their computers or laptops as a telephone for managing calls, instant messaging, managing voicemail, and more!

Use Jabber with or without your desk phone

Jabber desktop client can be used in one of two ways: as a tool to control your desk phone or as a phone in its own right.  Controlling your desk phone through jabber means the phone is still present; however, you can control the phone using Jabber.  The advantages of using Jabber to control your phone are the convenience of using one device versus two and the the additional functionality available through the tool--instant messaging.

Alternately, you can use Jabber desktop client exclusively in place of your desk phone.  You can make and take calls as you normally would with a headset, access all of Jabber’s enhanced features, and reduce your monthly phone bill by eliminating the phone lease fee.  Install Jabber on a laptop and you can conduct business wherever you are, wired or wireless.  You may call or instant message from anywhere you have internet access as if you were in your office for the same service charge as using a desk phone—without the cost of a phone.

Giving up the phone: Financial Services

Several staff of Financial Services opted to give up their desk phones for laptops with Jabber desktop client.  Controller Cathy Riedl-Farrey is happy with the decision. “The phone is with you at all times [on a laptop] so it's possible to never miss a call. [Using the desktop client] provides more desk space and is more economical…I love to save money!”

Bobbie Post, accountant, concurs and adds, “I like the instant message feature as well as the ability to use the camera. The screen share option works well when trying to explain things over the phone so others can see what you are doing as well as being able to instruct properly.”

No matter how you choose to use Jabber, you can take advantage of the ability to share your screen, manage your voice mail, instant message other campus employees, create video conferences (with the addition of a webcam), and set up audio-only conference calls with up to eight participants.

Instant messaging bridges distance, saves time: Event Services

The instant messaging feature is particularly helpful for departments spread over large areas or for employees whose work takes them across campus.  Kelly Jo Hadfield, Event Reservations Coordinator for Event Services, explains, “My new department is in four different work areas (three different buildings).  The five of us in my department message on Jabber on a daily basis. I get answers quicker and easier from my team. [Messaging] cuts the chit chat out of the voice call.”

Other helpful Jabber features on Kelly Jo’s list include its connection to the Outlook calendar (“I can see if my other co-workers are ‘available’ or not.”), the ability to save frequent contacts, and yes, the phone.  “I like dialing out from my computer instead of the phone.  It sounds lazy (eek!), but my hands are already on my keyboard and I don’t have to reach for the phone dial pad.”

The biggest challenge?  “I wish more people on campus would install it and use it. Looking at my contact list right now, the only people logged in are my own department, ITS people, and [another colleague].  Wish others would use it!!!”

Getting Jabber desktop client

Ready to give Jabber a try? Jabber desktop client is available for download to university-issued devices through Software Center for employees only. If you need assistance, contact the ITS Help Desk at 608.342.1400 or helpdesk@uwplatt.edu.

What about mobile options?

The Unified Communications system includes two mobile options, the Jabber mobile app and single number reach.  Both options allow you to place and take office calls on a mobile as if you were sitting at your desk.

The Jabber mobile app is available for iOS and Android devices and includes all the functionality of the desktop client.  Jabber mobile requires a data package.  Single number reach works on any cell phone (even flip phones!) and can be scheduled so that business calls only come through during hours you select. Single number reach uses minutes.

Deciding whether to use mobile functionality and then choosing the right tool is a complex process.  In addition to the various features, there are issues to consider.  For this reason, we suggest you contact the ITS Help Desk for assistance.  Our staff will talk with you about your needs and expectations and discuss the pros and cons of each of option to help you make the choice that is right for you.  Contact the ITS Help Desk at 608.342.1400 or helpdesk@uwplatt.edu or stop by our facility on the first floor of Karrmann Library during regular business hours.

For more information on Unified Communications at UW-Platteville, check out the FAQs, quick guides, and other documentation in the ITS Knowledge Base.

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