Conference Phone Policy

Conference phones can be valuable aids for employees who have meetings with large groups of people. However, given the cost of these devices, OIT will only fund the purchase of conference phones when their use meets a certain level of need.  Not all locations need a permanent conference phone, but can be served by one of the standard phone models or by borrowing a conference phone.  Below is the current policy followed by OIT for conference phone replacement/procurement/loan.

Conference phone replacement related to phone system transition

OIT and Facilities had provided dedicated conference phones only for a very limited group of locations.  Over the years many departments have purchased their own conference phones.  Since the old phone system was an analog system, these phones could be plugged into any working analog port.

During the implementation of the new phone system, OIT purchased a small set of conference phones for the following areas to replace conference phones previously purchased by OIT or Facilities or to meet a threshold level of need:

  • President’s Conference room
  • President’s spare (to be loaned out to other Hopkins users)
  • Facilities Conference room
  • Admissions Conference room
  • Communications Conference room
  • Equipment Loan Center (2 phones that can be borrowed by Faculty/Staff as needed)
  • OIT Conference rooms
  • Mears Conference rooms
  • Library conference rooms

All new phones are speaker phones supporting full duplex mode, meaning both parties can talk at the same time.  OIT has provided the Cisco 8851 to some meeting rooms that previously used conference phones.  OIT can provide this model phone or the Cisco 7821 upon request at no cost to a department for a conference or meeting room.  Please contact OIT (Faculty/Staff Support Desk x4090)  if you believe one of these phones will work for you conference phone needs.

Purchase of new conference phones

A department wishing to purchase a conference phone for a conference/meeting room where one currently does not exist or the Cisco 8851 or Cisco 7821 model will not work should work with OIT to order the device. Should a department not have the funds to support such a purchase but believe that a conference phone is necessary to support the conference/meeting room,  the department head should request that OIT cover the cost of the conference phone.   Not all VoIP conference phones will work on our system, so it is important to coordinate with OIT if your department wants to purchase such a device.  The Cisco 8831 is the conference phone that we currently are deploying and supporting, the typical purchase price of this phone with education discounts ranges from $500-600.  If external microphones (for larger meeting rooms) are necessary, these will cost and addition $200-250.

Conference phones available for loan

There are 4 conference phones designated as available for loan:

Conference Phone use

Conference phones cannot merely be plugged into any data jack. They have to be connected to a jack that is configured for VoIP.  Most locations where this was done should have a purple clip on the data jack.  A conference phone can be plugged into any data jack where an existing VoIP phone is currently working.  If you are borrowing a conference phone, please verify the meeting room has the necessary VoIP data jack available.  If one is not available, contact the Faculty/Staff Support Desk (413-597-4090) to request a data jack be made available for conference phone use.  Please give enough advanced notice, at least 3 business days, so we can schedule an appointment to make the data jack a VoIP data jack.  Please be sure to specify the data jack identification number for the jack you wish to have activated.

last updated 4/7/16