2008 marks not only the retirement of "The Voice of Queen's," but also that of Meridian Mary.
Jack Henderson, the voice of Queen's automated phone attendant since the early 1990s, retired this past September after 38 years of employment at the University. And Meridian Mary, the female voice of the Meridian Mail system, will be retired over the Christmas break when Queen's moves to a new voicemail system. Meridian Mail has been the voicemail service in place at Queen's since the 1980s, but having reached end-of-life status, it is being replaced by CallPilot, a unified messaging application for businesses.
Because of the timing of the transition, and because Queen's is moving from one Nortel product to another, the migration promises to be a minimum impact change - in fact, you may not even notice the difference. CallPilot was designed to integrate seamlessly into an existing Meridian Mail network by keeping the same user interface. You will therefore use the same method for connecting to your voice mailbox that you use now. For the most part, you will continue to use all of the same commands that you use today with Meridian Mail to listen to, compose, delete and forward your voicemail. Your greeting and personal verification will migrate to your new mailbox, and your password will remain the same. Any unheard messages in your Meridian mailbox will migrate to your CallPilot mailbox. With Meridian Mail now, any messages that you have listened to will automatically be deleted after 5 days. This practice will continue with CallPilot; thus, any messages you listened to before Christmas will be gone when you get back in January.
The December voicemail migration is just the first step in the CallPilot implementation. "The transition to CallPilot keeps us current with telephone and voicemail technology," says Hugh Flemington, Coordinator of Communications Facilities for ITServices. "It offers the potential for enhanced functionality in the future." That enhanced functionality dovetails with industry trends toward unified messaging, which is the handling of voice, fax, and regular email in a single mailbox that a user can access either with an email client or by telephone.
CallPilot offers a number of these unified messaging features. In future, you may be able to use your email client to retrieve voice messages, thereby letting you sort through voicemail at a glance. Managing your voice mailbox could be done through a webpage, allowing you to reset your password or create distribution lists. Voice recognition capability could give you the ability to interact with your voicemail in a hands-free manner. All of these features may have the potential to benefit Queen's, which is why ITServices will be exploring the enhanced functionality available in CallPilot.