Unified communication at UB: it's about empowerment

Published November 27, 2018

Students in the Downtown Jacobs Medical Building active learning classroom.

Communication is central to learning, and so much else that happens at UB. That’s why it’s central to our work in IT. Our goal is to empower the community with the tools and the knowledge to communicate how you want.

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The idea of unified communication has been around for a long time. It’s been around so long, in fact, that the meaning of the words themselves have changed. Case in point: communication in this context used to mean telephone.

Now there are myriad ways of connecting with one another, and the task of unifying them is a much more nuanced—and critical—challenge to meet.

At UB, we’re delivering part of the solution with new tools like Webex, Box and Jabber. These solutions integrate, overlap and expand on existing communication tools—from your desk phone to UBlearns—and there are options for everyone.

But let’s be clear: nobody wants a bunch of apps that all ring at once when you get a call. A critical piece of this shift is empowering our faculty, staff and students with the knowledge to choose the right tool (or tools) for how they work.

Maybe you like Webex for video conferencing, but you prefer Jabber for voice and instant messaging. Maybe you collaborate using Webex Teams, but when it comes to getting fast answers from a colleague, nothing beats picking up the phone.

We’re providing the solutions, and empowering our community to better understand their potential, so you can decide how they fit into your workflow.

And we’re learning from you every day. We work with faculty through our UBIT Faculty Fellow and IT Liaisons program, and Faculty Town Halls; we work with staff through our once a semester Tech Reviews and through departmental training; and we work with students through annual focus groups and student IT surveys, listening sessions with student leadership and more. We learn from you, and we hope you’ll reach out whenever you need guidance or want to share information. You can email me directly at cio@buffalo.edu.

Empowering the UB community is a two-pronged effort—providing the tools and fostering the knowledge to use them to their fullest potential. It’s worth every ounce of the effort—seamless communication is a must-have for UB, and any university. It’s how we build the future of education.

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