Phone Savings Project

Project Overview

HITS is working with the medical school to upgrade, modernize, and find cost savings in its phone system. With more than 4,700 phones in the medical school there is opportunity to reduce the number of physical phones and implement Jabber, a softphone application, where convenient. To achieve these objectives, two initiatives are underway: 

Savings Initiative #1: Upgrading PBX desk phones to Cisco VoIP desk phones

  • Occurring in MedSci 2; MSRB 1,2,3; BSRB, MBNI. HITS contractors will be in contact to meet with you. Phone upgrades are happening on a building by building basis through spring 2021.
  • We need your help to: 
    • Identify where physical phones are no longer needed
    • Identify physical phones that can be converted to Jabber

Savings Initiative #2: Converting Cisco VoIP desk phones to Jabber 

  • Occurring in NCRC, MedSci 1, Cancer Center. HITS is providing data for the CDAs' review on the phones in your department. Conversions are ongoing through early 2021. 
  • We need your help to:
    • Identify physical phones that can be converted to Jabber or where physical phones are no longer needed (e.g., move to cell phone only)

See the CDA meeting presentation here

Initiative Targets

To realize cost savings, each initiative has specific targets for reduction of phones and conversion to Jabber:

Savings Initiative #1 (30% target): 

  • Eliminate 546 desk phones before upgrade 
  • Convert 382 desk phones to Jabber

Savings Initiative #2 (30% target): 

  • Convert 885 desk phones to Jabber

About Jabber

Jabber uses a feature called Softphone to make telephone calls over the internet using a computing device (e.g., desktop or laptop computers, smartphone, or tablet) and a headset or desktop speaker/microphone instead of a telephone set. Using Jabber you can place, receive, and manage telephone calls from anywhere you have an internet connection. Jabber users also receive emails of voicemail messages.


What are the ways to answer a call through Jabber?

There are multiple ways to use the Jabber soft client. Jabber can be added to a cellular phone and the calls will ring (via a Michigan Medicine number) to that phone. Another way is to add the Jabber client to a Core laptop or desktop to answer work calls using the computer and a headset. It really depends on what works best for the user. Jabber will not work with a personal home landline.

How do I hear/speak? Do I have to get a headset or earbuds?

The same headset that you use for Zoom meetings will work with Jabber. You can also use the speaker/microphone on your laptop, but that isn’t recommended. There are also USB and Bluetooth speaker phones available that can be plugged into the computer and work with Jabber.

Can I install Jabber on multiple devices (e.g., cell phone, laptop, and desktop)?

Jabber can be installed on one or many devices. When Jabber is being configured, HITS will ask which devices you wish to have the Jabber client installed on.

Will I keep my existing phone number? What about my desk phone?

Yes you will keep your existing Michigan Medicine phone number. No, you will not keep your phone handset.


How does caller ID work through Jabber?

Caller ID works the same in Jabber as it does on the standard Cisco desk phone.


How does Jabber work for 911 calls and location-based emergencies?

A pop up message reminds the user at login that Jabber can’t be automatically tracked by 911. If you are using Jabber to make a 911 call, you’ll need to provide location information to the 911 operator.

However, Jabber isn’t the perfect answer for all situations and needs. A sufficient number of standard desk phones should be left in place to satisfy any safety concerns that a particular area requires.

Can I see missed Jabber calls?

You will need to scroll through the log in the Jabber application, you do not get an email with missed calls.

How does Jabber voicemail work?

There are two options to retrieve voicemails: One way is to call the voicemail number and enter a pin. The second way is that voicemails will be sent as emails to an Outlook mailbox. They appear like any other email but they contain a .wav file to listen to the voice message.

Does Jabber work if I need to answer multiple phone lines?

Jabber can be used to answer a single U-M phone number, it cannot be set up to answer multiple phone numbers at this time.

Is there a stipend if I use my personal cell phone for work?

See SPG 514.04 for guidance.

Is Jabber an option for a shared phone?

No. Jabber is tied to a uniqname and a phone number, and requires a user to login. Multiple uniqnames can’t be tied to a single phone number, and thus it doesn’t work to replace a shared phone.

Are there live or recorded Jabber trainings available?

Yes, a recording is available at this link.

If I use a shared computer, can multiple Jabber accounts be associated with a single device?

The Jabber client is tied to a uniqname and phone number. If the Jabber client is installed on a shared machine, the user logged on to that workstation will receive calls based on the phone number tied to their uniqname. If someone logs off the workstation and another person logs in, the number tied to the uniqname of the new user will ring on the workstation.

Will a fax machine/numbers be affected?

Fax numbers are not part of any migration to Jabber. Under initiative #1, which phone lines (including fax numbers) to keep will be determined by phone station reviews with each department.

Can I retrieve calls or make a call from other computers?

As long as the Jabber client is installed on a computer and the user is logged in, you can make and receive calls on the number associated with your uniqname. 

How do we obtain new Jabber lines for new employees, and what is the cost?

Use the catalog item found in the Michigan Medicine Help Center, Using that process (or placing a ticket through the HITS Service Desk) you can get a new phone number and Jabber configuration for any new employees, free of cost to you.

Who is responsible for the equipment setup in regards to additional accessories?

Set up of additional accessories like a headset or speakerphone is the responsibility of the user.

Will Jabber work if I use a personal computer for work at home, and remote into a Core desktop computer?

HITS cannot load the Jabber software onto a personal machine but the software could be loaded onto your core image machine at work and then onto your cell phone.

If a lab has multiple phones that ring to one line, can Jabber accommodate a similar setup?

No, Jabber ties a number to a specific individual’s unique name. An individual has to be signed into Jabber to make the connection active.

If a phone has multiple lines, can only one or some of those lines go to Jabber, leaving a designated line still only accessible from the desk set?

Yes, you could move some numbers to Jabber and leave one or more lines on the existing desk phone


Can Jabber be loaded on a non-Core research machine that is University supported?

No, Jabber can be loaded onto Core computers only.


Am I able to use the Call Forward/No Answer feature that many faculty use to have their call forwarded automatically to their admin assistant?

Yes, this will work the same as long as it is in your original programming. Manual forwarding is possible as well as the appearance of a faculty number on the admin assistant’s phone.


Can I be on Jabber and my admin assistant still have a Cisco Desk Set or vice versa?


Can a phone line only go to a deskset OR Jabber?

A phone can be configured to ring simultaneously on multiple devices in any combination. You can configure Jabber on a desktop, laptop, cell phone and all three will ring when a call comes in (you will need to be logged into the Jabber client on all three).

A physical phone can also be configured with the same number as a Jabber account, so that the physical phone will ring along with the Jabber number on the cell phone or computer. This however defeats the cost savings associated with moving to Jabber though.

If an employee has left their position but the phone still exists, should we get rid of the phone line and request Jabber when someone is hired?

If the phone is idle then it is best to remove the existing telephone and line, achieving the monthly cost reduction. Then add the new employee to Jabber once that person is identified and given a unique name. If for some reason that number holds some importance, it could be held and assigned via Jabber to the next employee.


Do I have to put the Jabber application on my phone?

Yes, if you want to answer calls from Jabber on your phone, the app is necessary.

Is Intelligent Hub required on a tablet or cell phone in order to use the Jabber application?

No. IA has stated that Intelligent Hub is not required to run the Jabber application.

Will Jabber work in all buildings? Cell phones do not work in all buildings.

If you want to use Jabber on a cellular phone then connectivity for the phone dictates how calls reach the phone. In buildings where cellular coverage is limited, try using WiFi calling, as universal WiFi coverage is available in all buildings.


If I receive a call through Jabber when my cell phone signal is not strong, do I receive a voicemail on my phone? Where do I receive the voicemail?

When using Jabber, users will receive voicemail through Michigan Medicine email. A voice file will be attached in the email so that the user can listen to the voice message. Along with the email option, you can still retrieve voicemail the standard way by calling 998-2400 and entering your PIN.


If I answer a Jabber call on my cell phone, how is the number displayed? How do I know what phone I am answering?

You will get an incoming call notification pop up from the Jabber app that you are receiving a phone call. This is separate from your regular phone calls. You must be logged into the Jabber app to receive calls from your Jabber phone number. The Jabber app uses your wireless/cell phone voice plan’s data, not minutes.


How do i ensure Jabber calls are forwarded to voicemail during off-hours?

To forward calls to voicemail, simply sign out of the Jabber app. You will not receive Jabber calls unless you are signed in.