It has been a great year for calling in Teams. It started with the conference at Enterprise Connect and recently Gartner noting that Microsoft is a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for Worldwide UCaaS. We are excited to close out 2019 with new user experiences for Microsoft Teams Phone System, Powerful admin configuration options for Direct Routing, and expanding partnerships to build new capabilities on the Teams calling platform. It’s a great time to use calling in Teams. Please read on to learn about the additional value across Phone System, Direct Routing, and new Partner integrations.
Enhanced Calling experiences
We are excited to announce that a special 15% discount for Phone System will be available early next year for volume licensing customers with Software Assurance who are upgrading from Skype for Business Server to Teams and Phone System during their agreement renewal. It is the right time to begin your cloud collaboration journey.
When emergency services are needed, every minute counts. Dynamic Emergency Calling enables the sharing of a user’s current location, emergency calls to be routed, and help dispatched. Available now in Calling Plans and support for Direct Routing is planned before the end of the year.
Knowing who is calling and having your delegates properly screen and route these calls is key to a productive day. Recently we made available Reverse Number Lookup to display a caller’s name based on multiple sources. This includes caller ID in history and voicemail ensuring you always know who has called. We are also Enhancing Delegation. Delegates now have further control over call settings for those whose calls they manage. They can add additional delegates or even change call forwarding settings. These 2 enhancements will ensure that the right calls reach you at the right time.
Callers on hold appreciate knowing if they are still connected. Music on Hold helps by playing music for your outside callers while they wait.
United States Government agencies such as the Department of Defense have very stringent security needs for cloud software. Microsoft has been working to meet these high standards – and we are announcing Phone System is now available for our Government Community Cloud (High) customers and the Department of Defense.
Auto Attendant and Call Queues has many new enhancements including extension dialing support from Auto Attendant, shared voicemail, call analytics, longest-idle Call Queue routing, add and order Individual agents to a Call Queue, and improvements to call answering latency. This builds on the previously released improvements such as Hybrid Number Support, Multinumber assign, and Round Robin routing options in Call Queue.
When you need to troubleshoot a call, having quick access to the latest data is key to closing that support ticket. The latest enhancements to Call Quality Dashboard has many new features including near real-time data availability. Call data on average will be available in 30 minutes which is a great improvement from earlier versions.
Phone System administration is now available in the Teams admin center. Calling Plan customers will be able to search, acquire, and assign phone numbers to end-users. Admins will also be able to create and assign emergency addresses for those end-users. Additionally, customers will be able to create / test / manage custom dial plans, configure Dynamic Emergency Calling, and use the improved configuration options for Auto Attendants and Call Queues.
And all of above features are targeted to be generally available before the end of year.
This builds upon all of the other great work that has landed earlier this year. Key items include Phone System updates for Government Cloud Customers, Secondary Ringer, Answer from Anywhere, Voicemail settings in the Teams client, Audio Calling in Chrome, Call Park, Group Call Pickup, Shared Line Appearance, and Softbank Calling Plans for Japan.
New features in Direct Routing address customer needs
Direct Routing continues to grow around the world. We are now seeing usage in over 80 countries. And as it grows, our customers uncover new configuration needs. Take a look at our latest developments and if you are attending Ignite – visit our calling sessions to learn more about these and other developments.
Our largest customers have complex networks and sometimes the default configuration does not match their network needs. Customers can now choose which Microsoft Cloud Media Processor/Relays they will use by default. This will improve performance for those organizations.
Direct Routing allows the routing of calls to 3rd party systems. Occasionally this would generate a “false positive” missed call in Teams. We now can suppress unwanted missed call messages which provides a better experience for calling users. Read more about the feature here.
SIP tester - PowerShell scripting is now available to test Session Border Controller (SBC) connections in Microsoft Teams. Get feedback on your configuration right away.
The Ringback Bot helps with unexpected silence when call setup is delayed. 2 distinctive audio signals are played to the caller. The first indicates that Teams is in the process of establishing the call and the second is played after the call is established.
Direct Routing Usage Reporting allows administrators to see additional calling details. The information can be used for planning, investigation and troubleshooting. These reports can also be exported as an Excel file.
Survivability and Call Quality using SD-WAN is top of mind for customers and we could not agree more. This enables dynamic call rerouting to alternate links if the main connection is not available and also improves calls by routing new calls between links based on quality telemetry. We are working with Oracle now to enable SD-WAN solutions such as these for Phone System and Direct Routing. Expect more news early next year.
Partner News at Ignite
Direct Routing relies on certified session border controllers to enable Microsoft and our partners to ensure a better overall calling experience and streamlined customer support. Today we are excited to announce new partnerships with Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, and Metaswitch that expand on our base of supported systems from existing partners such as Audiocodes, Oracle, Ribbon, TE-Systems (Anynode), and Thinktel. We encourage customers to reach out to any of our SBC partners to learn more about how they can enhance Direct Routing - deploying calling in Teams has never been easier.
Building on our Direct Routing announcements, Microsoft is also working to ensure that Teams integrates seamlessly with industry leading cloud contact center providers. We’re pleased to see partners announced earlier this year such as Five9, Genesys, and NICE inContact are on track to deliver their solutions for broader availability in early 2020. We’re also excited to share that we are expanding to additional partners as part of our new Certified for Microsoft Teams program for connected contact center solutions. These connected contact center solutions will enable customers to leverage the full power of the partner offering, while making it easy for agents to seamlessly find and consult with subject matter experts who are using Teams. When combined with new experiences leveraging the Teams Platform, customers will benefit from every user in their organization being able to more collaboratively connect with customers and leverage Teams as a hub for internal and external communications.
Earlier this year we announced engagements with ASC, NICE, and Verint as initial providers for compliance recording solutions for Teams calling and meetings. Today, we’re pleased to see those partners on track to deliver their solutions for broader availability in early 2020, and we’re excited to share that we are engaging additional partners as part of our new Certified for Microsoft Teams program for compliance recording solutions. Certified for Microsoft Teams solutions for compliance recording will provide customers with secure, scalable, and automated recording capabilities for every Teams call and meeting, with flexible provisioning and administrative control.
Many of our enterprise customers are already taking advantage of Teams calling experiences. We will continue delivering innovative capabilities and expanding our partnerships to make Teams Calling a great fit for all customers. It’s the right time for customers to upgrade from their PBX to gain the benefits of cloud calling as part of their unified Teams experience.
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