Collaboration and Communication Standards

Executive Summary

The University of Idaho invests in many different products to foster communication and collaboration with the members of the institution.  Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Outlook, and telephone services are key examples.  On University managed computers, these products are already installed.  
This standard is to align existing communication offerings with newer offering requirements to manage resources properly.

What is in this document:

  • Examples of communication tools
  • Criteria for external calling capabilities
  • Departmental telephone number specifications
  • Criteria for issuance of handsets from OIT
  • Caller ID specifications
  • Use of Common Area Phones
  • Emergency Calls (911)
  • Employee Termination and Retirement
  • Phone Services for External Entities on University Property
  • Training
  • Exceptions

What is NOT in this document:

  • Specific use cases
  • Cost Analysis
  • Specific Processes and/or workflow


Audio, Video & Chat Communication Services

University employees will use Microsoft Teams chat, video, or audio calls to communicate with each other.  All faculty, staff, and students are licensed to use Microsoft Teams, Microsoft 365, and Zoom.

  • Microsoft 365 Email: Email continues to be a very common method of communication.  This method can provide a receipt of when a communication occurred and what was written.  
  • Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams at the university provides voice, video, and chat services and is configured to allow communication with external entities who also utilize the product.  As an integrated part of our M365 infrastructure, Teams allows for file sharing from OneDrive or from our departmental storage locations enabling seamless collaboration throughout the organization and with external vendors and affiliates. 
  • Zoom: Zoom is configured to allow attendees to use both video and audio calls for scheduled meetings and is used heavily in the classroom.  These can be both internal and external participants. External users can call into a Zoom meeting using a phone number, reducing the need to have a individual phone number. 

Usage of university communication services for personal use should be limited per the Acceptable Use of Technology Resources standards and associated policies. 

External Calling Services using Teams

When business-needs require employees to regularly communicate to external groups using phone numbers, a Teams Voice number can be assigned if historical data for existing use, expected usage for a new position includes making or receiving over 52 external calls per year (average of one per week).  Usage of provisioned numbers will be evaluated periodically, and those falling below the usage level will have an opportunity to work with OIT on finding an appropriate solution for their communication needs.  
Zoom or Teams meetings can be set up to communicate with those outside the university. Users who need a number for publishing or for forms who do not need an individual external number should use their departmental phone number.

Guidelines to Consider Before Requesting External Calling:

  • How many calls do you need to make?  If you are making or receiving less than 52 external calls a year you should consider using a departmental line or one of the other products available.  
  • Will your external calls exceed 150 minutes in a year? Overall usage will be reviewed to make sure phones are needed.  This will be in conjunction with the number of calls a year.
  • Are most of your calls internal to the University?  If your calls are exclusive to university locations, audio and video calls are available via the Teams Chat function and do not require a phone number. 
  • Do you work a lot with external vendors or contractors?  When working with vendors, schedule meetings using Teams, Zoom, or other video and audio-conferencing services as these are no additional cost to the university.  These tools provide communication and collaboration tools that can streamline meetings.  Within the same meeting, you can have video, voice, and chat capabilities, as well as screen and file sharing.
  • How often are you publishing University materials or Research?  For services or publishing requesting a phone number, can you use the departmental number? Most services just ask for a number but rarely use it.

Phone Services for External Entities on University Property

The university provides physical space in our locations to some outside entities.  The University of Idaho will not be providing phone service to non-UI employees housed in any UI locations.  Entities using our network or facilities are able to use web-based phone services of their choice (Zoom, Google, Microsoft, etc.) but those will not be supported by University personnel. 

Departmental Phone Numbers

Departmental phone numbers can be set up for each college/department/business unit.  We will set these up with an auto attendant or call queue for efficiency and call routing to those with external calling capability.  If a call comes to a department's main number, it can be transferred to someone without external calling capability.  A common voicemail box can be set up for these lines so it can be monitored by multiple people. 

Physical Handsets

For most, there will no longer be a telephone on your desk as a computer using the Teams client and smartphone app are the primary communication tools.  The desktop Teams application and Teams mobile apps include softphone capability.  A softphone does require a microphone, and a listening device such as a set of headphones, speakers, Bluetooth earpieces, etc. Webcams are also recommended, but not required. The Teams clients can be installed on a wide variety of devices and platforms.  We recommend working with your departmental TSP to ensure your designated devices will work with Teams.

If using a softphone doesn’t work in a certain situation, a handset can be provided by OIT at no charge to the department, if the user meets the listed criteria.  Examples, of where a physical handset can be provided to meet a business need, include:

  • A Human Resources approved accommodation. 
  • A departmental public area phone.  This would be a device open to anyone who needs to make an outside call.  Normally this would be in the departmental office assigned to an Administrative Assistant. 
  • An employee who, as a job responsibility, is a delegate for multiple lines.
  • Needed for safety in a location that has been reviewed by EHS.  

If a handset is desired for reasons outside these criteria, a unit may purchase physical handsets using the OIT Procurement process to ensure compatibility and supportability of the device.  These are considered OIT managed devices and will be supported accordingly.  Devices purchased for use off the U of I networks are not supported by OIT. 

Common Area Phones

Common area phones are physical phones set up so anyone can pick them up and use them. These phones should be used in areas where licensing individual numbers would be cost-prohibitive or to meet a particular need where a standard license will not work.  If a common area phone is installed, it will be evaluated on an individual basis to make sure they meet the criteria for external calling capabilities. These phones should not be setup to provide access to a phone for non-university use (courtesy  phone) as almost everyone has access to a personal cell phone.  

Emergency Calls

Teams Voice supports emergency calls made to 911. However, it is recommended that whenever possible emergency calls are made using a cell phone. In most cases cell phones are a better option for calling 911 as they provide the caller with mobility, have the potential to provide better location accuracy, and are generally available during power outages and network outages. All 911 callers, regardless of which telephone system is used, should be prepared to provide an emergency dispatcher with the address of their emergency.

It is important to note that Teams Voice will be offline during power outages and network outages. During these times cell phones will be the only option for calling 911.

Caller ID (CNAM) 

The default caller-ID for the university is ‘Univ of Idaho’ as approved by UCM.  We can set departmental caller IDs per request, but Individual caller ID will not be set to the users name.

Employee Termination and Retirement

When an employee is terminated or retires, their license and assigned individual number will be returned to the available pool. If there are business reasons to retain the associated number or direct it to a temporary location, it is the responsibility of the supervisor to contact OIT during the termination process in order to make the request (APM 50.20).  Numbers and licenses will not be held for a position/department during a search to refill it. Emeritus professors who will contine to need a phone service should work with their TSPs to keep there licenses active. To avoid communication issues all published numbers should be departmental and use either an auto attendant or calling queue.  


Training materials are located on the OIT Knowledgebase.  There you will find content on how to use Teams features including instructions on how to use each piece of the application, including Calling features.  The content supplied is directly from Microsoft to make sure it always matches current versions of Teams.


Exceptions to this standard will require prior approval of the Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer, or designee, based on a recommendation approved by on the supervising VP/dean/director.

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Article ID: 2679
Fri 7/7/23 9:35 AM
Tue 5/14/24 11:14 AM

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