In this post I highlight a study publication by Forrester regarding Microsoft 365 Cloud Voice. Forrester is a market research and analysis company focused on the information technology sector. Microsoft mandated Forrester to carry out the study on Microsoft 365 Cloud Voice.
What’s the study for?
The so called TEI (short for “Total Econonomic Impact”) study examines Microsoft 365 Cloud Voice in regards of
- costs and
What does the study say?
To sum it up a little bit the study provides the following key aspects:
- employees save time due to telephony integration in Microsoft Teams
- integration enhances business outcomes
- Microsoft 365 Cloud Voice enables companies to replace legacy telephony systems (PBX/s)
- costs for telephony are reduced
- better security and compliance because of its integration in the Microsoft security and compliance capability stack
- higher availability as (legacy) PBX
- better performance as (legacy) PBX
- better scalability as (legacy) PBX
- higher employee/user satisfaction especially for younger employees
- reduced total cost of ownership (TCO)
Well, for details, I’d recommend to read the study by yourself [see links at the bottom].
Conclusion, summary and opinion
In my view the study can be seen as supporting document for you in case your are about to decide on what’s next for your company’s telephony due to ending support or just because you want to embrace modern workplace at your company. The study gives you some numbers, facts and figures for further consideration, evaluation and decision making.
Microsoft rolled out read receipts in Teams. It shows you if your messages were read or not. By default it’s enabled. You get a popup that read receipts is available and how it looks like. In this post I provide an overview.
In the Teams client settings you can disable or enable it depending on what’s configured in your Office 365 tenant.
Teams Admin Center
If required, a Teams administrator can configure read receipts by modifying Teams messaging policies in the Teams Admin Center as depicted below.
- By default, read receipts are on and the message policy configuration is set to“User Preference” which means that users can disable it within their Teams Client settings.
- Turned on for everyone: It’s enabled for all users and a user cannot turn it off.
- Turned off for everyone: It’s disabled for all users and a user cannot turn it on.
Limitations [January 2020]
The “Manage messaging policies in Teams” documentation says
- it is for 1:1 chat or chats with up to 20 people
- it is not caputered in eDiscovery reports
Conclusion, opinion and summary
It’s another neat feature to easily recognize if your chat message was read or not. Thus you can decide how to react, e.g. send a priority notification or make a call.
In this post I give you an architectural overview on how you can connect analog devices, e.g. fax machines, analog phones, door bells, intercoms etc. to Microsoft Teams.
First of all, I’d recommend to please get rid of your analog devices. Let me guess you are probably reading this because you have some of these poor and legacy analogs which you cannot get rid of for some reasons?
- If this is the case:
Well, ok, let’s go ahead to keep your existing investments in analog devices and get it to work.
- If not, i.e. you can get rid of them:
Skip this post and read something more interesting. 😉
The goal is to add analog devices to a Microsoft Teams voice/telephony deployment.
Use Cases – Analog Telephony with Teams user and PSTN
The uses cases are defined as follows:
- call from an analog device to a Teams user
- call from a Teams user to an analog device
- call from an analog device to a PSTN (external) phone (number) [e.g. mobile phone]
- call from a PSTN (external) phone to an analog device
In this architectural sketch you can see a high level Microsoft Teams Direct Routing deployment including an analog device which is connected via an anlog [device] gateway.
- [left] PSTN sip trunk [from your PSTN provider of choice],
- [center] a (certified) session border controller (SBC),
- [center] a analog [device] gateway
- sip trunk between analog gateway and SBC
- analog link (FXS, RJ11) between analog gateway and analog device
- [center-right] analog device [connect to analog gateway]
- [right] a Microsoft Phone System sip trunk
- [right] a Microsoft Teams User
What are the requirements for this? To keep it short, you need:
- Teams Direct Routing (TDR) [for details, please see Plan Direct Routing]
- Analog [Device] Gateway
Note: In case you have Microsoft Teams and utilize calling plans for telephony already but need these analog devices added you can add Teams Direct Routing to what you’ve got already.
Conclusion, opinion and summary
To sum this up, to connect analog devices to your Microsoft Teams deployment you need Teams Direct Routing (TDR). Then you can attach an analog device to an analog (device) gateway which is linked to a certified SBC for Direct Routing which handles the voice routing (from/to PSTN/Microsoft Phone System/analog gateway).
Microsoft plans to release federation between Teams and Skype (for consumer) in January 2020. This federation is in great demand. On Teams User Voice more than 3000 people voted for this. Except the description on the road map no further details are on docs.microsoft.com as far as I could see. However, I’m sure that there will be more details available as soon as the feature hits preview or general availability.
Teams <-> Skype (for consumer) Federation
What is the upcoming release of the federation between Teams and Skype (for consumer) probably like? As far as we can read in the road map it says that it supports chat and voip calls. I’d assume that this will be similar to what we’ve seen and experienced in the federation between Teams and Skype for Business at the beginning, e.g.
- peer-to-peer (p2p) chat
- peer-to-peer (p2p) voice calls
Conclusion, opinion and summary
In my opinion this is a good start for federation between Teams and Skype. I’m looking forward to it. In the past, for many Skype for Business (Server/Online) implementations the option to communicate with Skype (for consumer) was an important argument for globally distributed organizations with the need to communicate with freelancers, small agencies etc. In my view this federation option is another step to increase adoption and communication.
- Microsoft Teams – Teams/Skype Consumer chat and calling interop [Microsoft 365 Roadmap Featured ID: 53935]
- Skype integration (Consumer Federation) [Microsoft Teams User Voice]
- Microsoft Teams Federated Chat Experience Update 06-2019
- My Microsoft Teams Federation Notes
Microsoft announced that there will be some enhancements to manage Microsoft Teams Phone System. So what are these enhancements?
Based on the lastest roadmap details the administration of Microsoft Teams Phone System will be improved in the following areas:
- Calling Plans administration
- search phone numbers
- acquire phone numbers
- assign phone number/s to users
- create emergency addressess
- assign emergency addresses to users
- Dial plan/s
- create custom dial plans
- test custom dial plans
- manage custom dial plans
- Dynamic Emergency Calling
- configure dynamic emergency calling
- Auto Attendants / Call Queues
- improved administration
- Microsoft Teams – Phone System Administration Enhancements [M365 Roadmap Featured ID 56786]
In this post I like to notify you about the release of the Microsoft Teams Client for Linux (DEB/RPM package) and it’s minimum hardware requirements. To run Teams on Linux you need to check that the minimum requirements are meet.
Microsoft Teams Linux Client (minimum) Requirements
- OS: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (with certain prereqs, see docs.microsoft.com), 18.04 LTS, Fedora 30 Workstation, RHEL 8 Workstation, CentOS 8
- CPU: > 1.6 GHz (32/64-bit)
- RAM: > 2.0 GB RAM
- Disk: > 3.0 GB available
- Screen resolution: > 1024×768 and > 128 MB GFX RAM
- Peripherie: camera, microphone, speakers (compatible endpoint equipment)
Meetings make only sense if there is a defined meeting goal to get a specific outcome and of course if all required (!) stakeholders (can) attend the meeting. In the past it probably happened that you invited someone which might not yet have Microsoft Teams but other meeting technology, e.g. Cisco Webex. So, the invited participant was than unable to join with his/her meeting solution which might not really caused a delightful user meeting experience. To cope with this challenge, there are video interop service for Microsoft Teams which mitigate this, as I wrote in the “Microsoft Teams Video Interoperability” post.
However, that’s not all, the meeting capabilities were improved and getting improved, as it looks like. Microsoft, Cisco and Zoom announced a partnership and demoed it on Ignite 2019 to provide a better user experience for mixed meetings, e.g. Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx.
Conclusion, opinion and summary
In my opinion it’s a good idea to support and allow “cross-technology” online meetings just because there are many users on different technologies. It helps users stay productive by just attending online meetings with their commonly used tech/app/device instead of insisting to join a meeting in unfamiliar way.
- Cisco and Microsoft Have Come Together to Deliver a Better User Experience [announcement]
- Microsoft & Cisco partner to simplify meetings and calling for mutual customers [announcement]
- Microsoft Ignite 2019 Session MTG20 What’s New for Microsoft Teams Meetings
- Cisco Webex Meetings for Microsoft Teams
- [Zoom] Using the Microsoft Teams Integration
- [Zoom] Getting Started with the Microsoft Teams Integration
- Microsoft Teams Video Interoperability
In this post I like to highlight six Microsoft Teams (Voice) sessions from Microsoft Ignite 2019 which provide you with knowledge on what you should know about calling capabilities on Microsoft Teams. These sessions are very valuable and you should watch them if you plan, deploy or operate Microsoft Teams including voice workloads (telephony, contact center, …) in your enterprise. If you don’t have much time you might want to download the sessions’ slide decks, if available.
Microsoft Teams Voice Sessions Highlights
At Ignite 2019 there were so many sessions regarding Microsoft Teams with all kind of aspects and focus areas, e.g. adopting, planning, implementing, servicing, troubleshooting, developing etc. Hereinafter, I point you to six excellent sessions held by Microsoft employees from Ignite 2019.
- VCE10 Calling in Microsoft Teams
- VCE20 Updates for Direct Routing
- VCE30 Managing your Microsoft Voice Environment
- VCE40 Compliance Recording and Microsoft Teams
- VCE50 Contact centers and Microsoft Teams
- BRK3204 Troubleshooting Microsoft Teams [not only voice]
In this post I want to emphasize the importance, again, of adoption and training and point out where the central adoption hub for Microsoft Teams is.
Conclusion, opinion and summary
In my opinion and based on what I see, Microsoft invests heavily in Microsoft Teams and a required adoption practice and material. If you use or plan to use Microsoft 365/Office365 and Teams you might only know some features and capabilities. That’s why it is so important that you learn and know what you don’t use and might could use to make your job and business more valuable, e.g. discover what you can do with certain tools, services and apps might bring up ideas on new business models in the digital era. Or it just helps to digitize and automate some as-is paper-based processes to get things done faster, be more productive and forget about repeatable, boring and required tasks because you’ve just automated them. Wow, now you can focus on what’s more important at your job and drives value for your job role and business. But how?
Well, you need to know what’s there. Moreover, your co-workers need to know. That’s why you must steadily inform them on what’s there, what’s new and how it works. Long story short, adoption is key to success.
For Teams you can find lots of resources on the adoption hub “Adopt Microsoft Teams”.
Due to the fact that you need a proper change management to rocket your Microsoft Teams adoption within your enterprise, don’t forget about to check out on available adoption material for Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft gives you a Teams Adoption Flipbook. It’s a toolkit for enabling users with Microsoft Teams in your enterprise. The goal is not to replace any existing technology with a new technology!!!
It’s about people and how Microsoft Teams can empower them to reach their targets, both, professional and personal ones. E.g. if an sales analyst needs to get his report review done on time but also has to cope with some personal things during afternoon he/she needs a solution to get this done, both, at work and at home. Therefore the flip book points you to resources how you can design a modern workplace to provide your employees with the right solution and do it the way that people adopt the solution because cause the recognize the added value it delivers to get their job done.
Remember, it’s about enabling people getting things done. We experience a cultural change, we have several generations in the workforce, different “work styles”, how we work, therefore different capabilities are needed and must be provided to satisfy the users needs. This change must not end up with employees fearing or rejecting this change, so plan for change to make a transition from legacy to new for your users as smooth as possible. The adoption resources from Microsoft support you with this but its and permanent endeavor, not just a one time investment and project, to be clear.