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Instant Messaging Available to Staff and Faculty

New “Jabber” program provides real-time chat with individuals and groups

Latishia Futrell uses Jabber with colleagues at The Graduate School.
Latishia Futrell uses Jabber with colleagues at The Graduate School.

Program coordinator Latishia Futrell was preparing a data report on graduate student enrollment and needed a quick response from a colleague about which departments and programs to include in the report.

Instead of email, Futrell sent the colleague a message through Jabber, an instant messaging tool that packages chat and video calling into one simple program application. She received a response right away.

“Some of my colleagues in my unit are on the 3rd floor, so Jabber is a good way to get a quick answer while you are in the middle of something without having to interrupt your work flow, or the work of others,” said Futrell, who works at The Graduate School.

Duke’s Office of Information Technology is offering Cisco's Jabber at no charge to Duke staff and faculty; the software can be downloaded to a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device. On May 18, OIT will provide “The Power of Jabber” training during its Learn IT @ Lunch series.

Here are some tips for getting started with Jabber:

Enable Jabber Automatically Upon Login

After you download Jabber and when you open the program for the first time, click the box that says, “Start Cisco Jabber when my computer starts.” This will enable Jabber to open automatically each time you login to your device. You can change this setting anytime under general preferences.

Add Contacts

Jabber can search the Duke directory by name to add contacts to your Jabber account. You will want to find people using legal names as entered into the Duke system, instead of nicknames. Once you locate them, click “add to groups” where you can add them to contacts or other groups you have created. You will be able to see if they are available or not.

Customize Your Availability

Jabber integrates with your calendar to automatically tell people when you are available, on the phone, in a meeting, or away. On Windows computers it works by integrating with Office 365 and Outlook calendars. On Macs the availability feature is manual. You can edit your availability messages by clicking “edit status menu” from the availability pull-down menu.

Instant Group Chat

You can hold instant group chats with multiple colleagues simultaneously. This is a helpful way to make quick decisions without resorting to a long, slow email thread. Once Jabber is open, click File and select New Group Chat. You can then add people to the invite box. Once you close this session, Jabber will not remember it.

If you want to keep ongoing conversations, you can use an existing chat room or set up a new one. You can create a new chat room by clicking on “chat rooms” then “new room” then proceed to enter the team members with whom you regularly correspond.

Make a Voice or Video Call

As long as you and your contacts have a Duke desk phone assigned to your name, you can make free, instantaneous calls. You can do this by clicking the Call icon on the person you are trying to connect with. If you want to add video you will want to have a webcam set up, and it is best to use a headset with a microphone for audio. Voice and video calls also work on mobile devices.

Jabber on Your Mobile Device

You can download Jabber to your mobile device to chat with colleagues when you are not at your desk. From your smart phone, visit the Apple App Store or Android Play Store to begin using it right away. Integrating Jabber on your device with your desk phone will allow you to forward calls to your cell phone without giving the number out. To do this, submit a service request noting your device type and phone numbers.