New Wave of Cloud Collaboration - Microsoft Teams Voice

"Microsoft Teams provides the hub for teamwork within Office 365. If you already have
Office 365 and Teams, then you might have already known that anyone in your organization
using Microsoft Teams can collaborate by making voice over IP (VoIP) calls to any other
internal team members or external guests also subscribed Office 365, using a Windows PC,
Apple Mac/iPhone/iPad/Android mobile device running the Microsoft Teams app. "

Business Collaboration

2019-06-11

That is a great productivity boost, but that is not all you should know. In a region like Hong Kong that Microsoft’s native Calling Plans is not available, the Microsoft Teams app in Office 365 does not by default connect you to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Without access to the PSTN through a PBX, the Teams app cannot be assigned a phone number and therefore nobody outside your organization can dial a direct number and talk to you online, or dial-in/dial-out a number to join an online conference meeting.

#1  Can We Turn It On?

Though, if the following components are available, a full-featured calling and conferencing Microsoft Teams experience can still be feasible:

Office 365 enterprise subscription (E1, E3 or E5)

Microsoft Phone System AddOn (with E1, E3)

Audio Conferencing AddOn (with E1, E3)

Session Border Controllers (SBCs) from approved Microsoft SBC vendor list

SIP trunks from your telecom provider

For organizations that have in-house expertise and prefer to manage voice infrastructure internally, a customer-deployed scenario is a viable approach. SBCs are deployed within the customer environment (data centres) and the management/quality of experience is the responsibility of the internal IT team.

#2  A Not-So-Easy Way …

This customer-deployed scenario is only making sense if there is a need for interoperability with third-party systems (e.g. existing PBXs during the migration) and to connect legacy analogue devices into Microsoft Teams (e.g. fax, paging systems, elevator phones). And under such customer-deployed scenario, the total cost of ownership is still high. Integration complexity and ongoing in-house maintenance of infrastructure are inevitable. More factors can easily complicate the situation, i.e.,

Voice Environment – If and how to upgrade aging PBX (held together with tape), consolidate multiple disparate PBXs (because of M&A activities), decide to continue current PBX costing refresh or maintenance renewal, or migrate from previous Skype for Business deployed on-premises?

Meeting Efficiency – If and how to consolidate third-party apps for external meetings (e.g. Webex, GoTo, Zoom) and using Teams for internal meetings (already have a familiarity with it).

Resource Constraint – If and how to have some breakthrough from the constraint of limited on-staff resources & expertise on voice infrastructure maintenance and preference to seek help from cloud managed services provider

……

IT leaders should begin to ask “What can we #worksmarter to simply enable Teams Voice for the modern workplace?”.

#3  A #Worksmarter Way

Teams Voice, a subscription-based service as a complete add-on solution from your top-ranked trusted cloud service provider such as Superhub, with proven Microsoft 365 cloud capability and directly premier support from Microsoft and global scale telecom provider, is possibly the best answer to replace your legacy phone with the cloud. It is a complete partner-hosted service which provides managed connectivity between your Microsoft cloud tenant, hosted SBC controllers and telecom provided SIP trunk to global PSTN network, and ensures subscription of the correct set of Microsoft add-on licenses such as the combination of enterprise plans with the phone system, calling plans and conferencing features.

#4  What Are The Features and Benefits?

Figure 3. Microsoft Teams Call Screen

Teams Voice’s capabilities enable your business to go further digital transformation, more effectively manage communication complexity and improve business agility. Microsoft Teams is introducing new efficiencies through consolidating workflows into a simple to use platform. Services purpose-built for Microsoft Teams. In our experience that organizations make the move to Teams Voice, IT leaders are surprised and impressed with how many cloud voice capabilities are already available today. On top of other Microsoft Teams’ collaboration features, here’s a list of the common features on voice and conferencing :  

Companies subscribing Teams Voice shall enjoy the benefits of the lower total cost of ownership which is another benefit of using Teams Voice. Simple and consolidated invoice for monthly subscription eliminates all other on-premises phone server maintenance, investment and duplicated fixed network expenses, minimize roaming and traditional/third-party video conferencing expenses.

More importantly, it empowers staff for higher productivity and workforce to reach further. Their employees can easily communicate across different devices with one single platform empowered by Office 365. They can stay connected with unified communications features through fixed, mobile and VoIP voice network, video, email, IM and conferencing.

Each employee can personalise their call features tailored to their business needs by themselves. It empowers users to create conferencing calls or conduct business presentation without complicated setup, seamlessly integrated into Microsoft 365 user experience. It enables employees to stay connected anywhere and whenever they want without losing business opportunities. For those with multi-branches, remote offices or field workers, they can still remain connected either they only have the phone with them or they are connected online.

Superhub Point of Views Associated with our Products/Services

Superhub is committed to helping our customer to create real business value by adopting Microsoft cloud services.

Superhub subscription-based “Team Voices” value-added services represent a continued commitment to support its customers to drive adoption.

Microsoft X Superhub backup by Strategic Telecom Service Provider is looking forward to bringing you these new ways to achieve more from unlocking productivity and creativity for the cloud transformation journey.

Daniel Yim

Written by Daniel Yim

Partner, Product and Excellence

Innovation, corporate design and business excellence are key to keep Daniel enthusiastic about work. He loves to get his hands dirty with challenges of product development and business engineering. In his spare time, when Daniel is not playing rubik’s cube, practicing dragonboat or training Spartan skills, he can be found in playing board games, ping pong, Saxophone or in playground with kids.

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