MiWorkspace Update: Supporting you through COVID-19 crisis

5/7/2020

First and foremost, I hope your unit colleagues, friends, and family remain in good health and spirits during this extraordinarily challenging time.

MiWorkspace remains committed to supporting you during the COVID-19 crisis. Working from home over an extended period doesn’t come without problems. Our goal is to make sure that MiWorkspace technology and support is focused on solving problems and reducing barriers for our customers.

Since President Schissel’s first message announcing the suspension of in-person classes, MiWorkspace has fulfilled more than 6,700 requests for assistance. Through our scale and expertise, MiWorkspace has been able to deliver value during the pandemic in ways not otherwise possible. I’ve mentioned a few of the highlights below but my hope is that we’ve been able to meet your expectations during the crisis. You have my commitment that we will continue to work hard to adapt and keep delivering that value no matter what is yet to come.

Please contact me directly at reidp@umich.edu if you have questions about this update. Please remain healthy and safe.

Thank you,

Reid Paxton
Director of End User Services
U-M Information and Technology Services


@home for Windows & Mac

MiWorkspace is the only technology provider on campus today that can deliver a brand new, fully managed, university device directly to a residential address. With the @home initiative, a MiWorkspace customer is able to receive a new PC or Mac shipped directly to their home. They simply unbox, go through a brief on-screen setup to connect to their home WiFi, and configure their account. The computer will then download their U-M software and unit specific configuration.

Immediate availability of new hardware

The pandemic caused device availability shortages across the global supply chain. PC orders via the U-M strategic vendor were backed up nearly 3 months in some cases. MiWorkspace partnered with the Computer Showcase to source hardware for immediate availability, and was able to secure a Dell SKU similar to our HP standard for delivery via @home to units subscribing to MiWorkspace exclusively. We are also able to ship peripherals and other computing accessories to customers with no variation in the ordering process.

Zoom, BlueJeans, and the new normal

When the U-M Zoom service launched, MiWorkspace was ready with Mac and Windows clients available for self-service install on day one. Neighborhood IT staff was ready to assist customers with both Zoom and BlueJeans as teleconferencing became the new normal for meetings.

Loaners, loaners, loaners

In the weeks leading up to the stay-at-home order, MiWorkspace put an emphasis on preparing the entire loaner pool for customer use. All viable devices are now in circulation with MiWorkspace customers. Several neighborhoods maintained essential staff onsite during the first week of the stay-at-home order to make sure critical customers were equipped to maintain university operations.

Continuing operations with softphones

Units that support the campus community, such as UHS and the Shared Services Center, needed a way to continue to keep their call centers open while staff worked from home. MiWorkspace’s Neighborhood IT staff assisted in setting up nearly 300 softphones to permit staff to accept these critical calls remotely. Softphones is a software to accept and make calls over the internet using a computer instead of a telephone.

Faxes, yes, faxes

Did you know that your MiWorkspace-managed MPrint printer may enable you to send and receive faxes while working remotely? If your Xerox device has an existing fax line, the MPrint team can set up a print queue that will enable you to fax a document anywhere, just as if you were printing it. Similarly, fax-enabled Xerox devices can be configured to forward received faxes to an email address or network file share.

Playing a small part in fighting COVID-19

Folding@Home is a distributed computing application that allows disease researchers to use the idle time of computers to process complex computing jobs to assist in research. Some of that work is now focused specifically in the area of drug design to treat COVID-19. MiWorkspace engineers deployed the Folding@Home software to idle Campus Computing Sites computers in early April. More than 1100 computers have been used to perform calculations for the project. 

Learn more about Folding@Home on Twitter (@foldingathome) or https://foldingathome.org/.