Phone system background

Information Technology Services (ITS) is migrating the university phone service to RingCentral MVP Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).  Phone service for the university is currently provided by an on-premises Avaya PBX telephone system. Beginning in 2017, ITS initiated a series of projects to modernize the campus network infrastructure to support the evolution of services to the cloud. Moving to a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) service aligns with ongoing ITS technology modernization efforts, strengthens business continuity and disaster recovery, and supports the university’s strategic plan by providing improved services that support student success, sustainability, branding, and community engagement.  

To modernize voice and video communications, all traffic should travel over the internet and leverage the university’s multiple and diverse internet connections. The RingCentral MVP solution includes video, voice, messaging, faxing, and contact center features that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, by students, staff and faculty via an internet or cellular connection.

Current phone system 

The Avaya phone system provides current service with some components of phone infrastructure dating back to 1986.  The infrastructure requires day-to-day maintenance, replacement of obsolete hardware, software upgrades, and is subject to disruption due to potential local geographic crises.  Some components of the on-premises Avaya phone system need to be upgraded immediately and all remaining components require replacement within five years.  

The Avaya phone system is dependent on infrastructure physically located in the university data center. While plans are in place for response to emergency situations like a power loss, significant structural damage would result in a prolonged disruption to the telephone system.  The pandemic presented an immediate need to support online learning and alternative work. Current communications infrastructure lacks ld be enhanced to maximize flexibility for future challenges and changes. 

These challenges, considerations of maintenance renewal and equipment replacement costs, and availability of more modern cloud platforms, have identified a strategic opportunity for change.

Current phone system infrastructure

       Avaya phone system    Avaya phone servers


RingCentral MVP

RingCentral was selected to provide a UCaaS solution.  The RingCentral MVP service includes a complete feature set, continued investment in product development, and adoption by Tennessee peer institutions and other higher education research institutions of comparable size. Peer institutions in Tennessee who have successfully implemented the RingCentral MVP system or are nearing completion of their implementations are University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Health Science Center campuses, Austin Peay State University, and Rhodes College.

Functionality of the phone system that influenced the decision to adopt the RingCentral MVP platform includes a user-friendly, virtual workspace with features that encourage collaboration and teamwork. All system features including voice calls will use the internet allowing the university to leverage its multiple and diverse internet connections. The RingCentral MVP UCaaS system can be accessed from anywhere, at any time, via an internet or cellular connection and will provide the university with a resilient and robust communications platform.