After its swift switchover to remote-learning/teaching in the thick of the pandemic, a cloud-driven Smart Campus is the way to go.

As of January 2022, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), has converted over 2,600 fixed phone numbers to the cloud-based Microsoft Teams Phone system.

The phone system, first adopted in 2019, enables users to make calls and conduct video meetings from all their internet-enabled devices, as part of the campus’ adoption of Microsoft 365. The transformation to this platform had enabled the university to successfully lessons online within one week for 30,000 students during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, as part of its 2025 Smart Campus vision NTU plans to roll out a new cloud-based student management system built on Azure, as well as initiatives to leverage technologies like chatbots and AI. The campus is already a ‘living lab’ of digital experiments, ranging from running an autonomous electric bus to testing drones for Singapore’s airspace.

Said the university’s Senior Vice President for Administration, Tan Aik Na: “Innovation has always been core to the University’s DNA. This digital transformation in partnership with Microsoft marks a significant milestone in our commitment to embrace a culture of innovation, promote maximum efficiency, foster sustainability and improving the lives of our students and employees through empowered learning and living experiences.”

User-powered digital transformation

By eliminating the need for existing physical phone infrastructure, NTU enjoys cost savings in equipment, maintenance, and international call costs from cross-border research center projects and the provision of online exams and classes for stranded students overseas.

As an add-on to the existing Microsoft 365 infrastructure, the cloud-based phone system links local landlines to Teams accounts, facilitating quick adaptation to remote-teaching and remote-learning experiences.

The system also caters to the diverse working styles of departments and staff. These range from tech-savvy academics who can program software; to non-technical administrators who just need simple tools for email and instant messaging; to IT managers who need a tracking system for asset reviews and pre-emptive checks. With the cloud-based platform, the university is able to allocate resources toward higher-value tasks and innovation, accelerating the institution’s broader mission to be future-ready, agile and resilient.

Said Microsoft Singapore’s Director of Public Sector Group, Lum Seow Khun: “Fostering a culture of continuous learning in the education sector for our future is key as we keep pace with global changes that shape our education sector in Singapore. Universities like NTU Singapore are stepping in the right direction as they accelerate their digital learning ambitions, embrace change, transform our education system and ensure the readiness of our future workforce.”