Team Faces Tough Odds to Implement New Phone Network

By Roxanne Angell, Guest Writer; photos by Richard Frederickson, Staff Photographer
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New Voice over Internet Protocol phone deployment reaches its one-year anniversary. Members of the deployment team, Travis Fouche (standing) and Matthew Lamb, prepare demonstration phones for a training session.

It was a Saturday, in the final stretch of winter in late February, and the temperature peaked to a pleasant 66 degrees. Many people were outside enjoying the spring-like weather; however, the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Deployment Team was hard at work at Industry Lane. The team of 10 was installing the new voice-only network, including deploying 145 phones, switching and testing the 911 feature, connecting wall mounts, and verifying each phone to ensure that when Clinical Monitoring Research Program (CMRP) staff members returned to work on the following Monday, there would be minimal impact to their daily operations.

“I feel deployment on Saturday went great and was coordinated well. I received some favorable feedback from a few staff members. Some have been through similar phone system transitions at other companies, and they commented that we did a really good job of making the transition smooth,” said Tracy Dean, program manager, CMRP.

As with each phase of deployment throughout the project, a lot of planning and coordination needed to take place prior to deployment day. The Network and Telecommunications Group worked with the Facilities Maintenance and Engineering Phone Shop to ensure the necessary infrastructure was built out during the months prior to deployment, and that hands-on training with the phones slated to be deployed for each building was planned and executed.

By the time this project is complete, it is expected that the team will have put out 3,348 new phones and brought about improved phone service to approximately 1,800 government and contractor employees, spanning 68 buildings on campus, in addition to deployments on Industry Lane and to the Pilot Plant on Geoffrey Way. This project, which began in September 2014, is expected to be completed by the end of May. The overall project has had its ups and downs, one setback being the loss of five of the team’s original staff members. However, the team pulled together to complete this enormous project in the shortest amount of time possible given the resources it had, all while competing with operational work and other projects.

“The project’s success is truly due to the dedication of the staff,” said Greg Warth, director of the Information Technology Operations Group, Data Science and Information Technology Program.

If you have any questions regarding the VoIP Unified Communications System, please contact the Frederick IT HelpDesk at 301-846-5115.

Roxanne Angell is a project manager, Data Science and Information Technology Program.