Coming soon to a desk near you

  • Published
  • By Peter Borys
  • 914th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

The days of the telephone at your workstation will soon go by the way of the public pay phone. The Jabber system, a collaborative software tool which utilizes chat, audio and video is currently deployed at Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia and will soon come to AFRC host base locations.

According to 1st Lt. Ron Fugate, 914th Communications Squadron knowledge operations flight officer-in-charge, AFRC set up the servers and all of the hardware required for this new software phone system that is expected to replace most office phones.

“It will still work on our voice over IP network that your physical phone at your desk works at, said Fugate. “You won’t need a physical phone, just a headset. You plug it into your computer. You can use it on any zero client or through desktop anywhere. If you have a laptop at home and a headset you can still use your desk phone while you’re teleworking or pretty much anywhere you are.”

The Jabber system would include a headset with microphone, because the government issued laptop does not have the microphone activated for security reasons.

“If you don’t wear the headset, you will still hear the phone ring. You’ll just have to put the headset on with the mic to answer it,” added Fugate.

“The biggest advantage for AFRC is cost,” said Fugate. “They won’t have to tech refresh a physical phone. Also, flexibility, the Jabber phone works just like your physical phone. You can have the same number of lines, same call routing, same cost to the user.
Everything as far as functionality is exactly the same.”

Those are the pros. What about the cons?

“The only disadvantage at this point is you have to be logged into Jabber to receive notification that you missed calls,” said Fugate.

As the old saying goes, ‘there’s no time like the present.’

“The one thing we ask is for users to start logging into Jabber now, make sure that their account is set up. Just start familiarizing yourself with it. Once people start getting comfortable with it, a lot of people won’t use their physical phone,” explained Fugate. “By the time we come take the desk phones, people won’t even care and they can start getting rid of them to save desk space. We’re asking people to log in now so it gives everyone about a year lead time when the AFRC push comes down.”

Fugate stressed, “We don’t want to scare people. Not all physical phones are going away certain areas will still need physical phones.”

A hard deadline has not yet been set by AFRC to change over to the Jabber system. Physical phones will start being collected next year.