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October 29, 2009

New voice mail system introduced

Users of the Pittsburgh campus phone system are getting a new voice mail system Nov. 7. The change affects approximately 8,500 voice mail users.

Those Pitt phone users who dial 4-0001 or 4-0002 to access their voice mail will need to dial 4-0003 as of 7 a.m. Nov. 8. They also will need to set a password and record a new voice greeting, but most phone command keys will remain the same, according to Computing Services and Systems Development.

An emergency voice mail replacement for the approximately 1,450 users who access voice mail by dialing 3-1300 took place Oct. 24. Increasing problems with that system forced CSSD to upgrade it ahead of schedule.

The new voice mail system will include additional features that will be implemented over the next several months, according to CSSD director Jinx Walton.

The first new feature, available Nov. 8, will be an optional service that will alert users via email when they receive a voice mail message.

The voice mail message will be contained in an email attachment that can be listened to using a computer, an iPhone or a handheld device with media capability.

The advantage is that users can see they have a voice mail message without having to dial into Pitt’s voice mail system to find out, said Walton.

“By far this is the feature that most people will find useful,” Walton said. However, “You don’t have to use it if you prefer not to have these things sent to your mailbox,” she said.

The email will include the caller’s phone number for voice mail messages from outside the University, or the name and extension for callers from within the Pitt phone system. Users who opt for the voice-mail-to-email service also will receive Pitt’s broadcast messages in their email inbox.

A typical 15-30-second voice mail message will range from 8KB-20KB which, although not huge, will count toward a user’s mailbox quota, said CSSD staffer Chris Keslar. If too-small mailbox quotas become problematic, users may request an increase by contacting the technology help desk at 4-4357, said Walton.

To opt in, contact the help desk or submit a request online at

Those who do not currently use voice mail may activate service by contacting the help desk and can opt into the voice-mail-to-email service as part of their request, Walton said.

A future phase-in of voice mail upgrades will launch fax-to-email options and a text-to-speech function that will read email messages aloud — handy for those who may be traveling or away from their computers.

The additional features are expected to be available within a couple of months, after testing and optimization of functions is completed, Walton said.

Information on the changes will be distributed to phone system users next week. Help also can be found online at or by contacting the help desk.

Kimberly K. Barlow

Filed under: Feature,Volume 42 Issue 5

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