Cloud Communications

New Calling Features for MS Teams from Microsoft Ignite

Streamlining Call Enhancements was one of the big topics at this year’s Microsoft Ignite event, hosted in early March as numerous new features and updates to Microsoft Teams were announced following its steady increase in users following the increase in demand for remote work capabilities during the beginning of the Covid pandemic in early 2020.

Making several announcements about updates related to Teams releases, Microsoft highlighted numerous new features specific to the Teams Calling capabilities, including single-screen applications (The Enhanced Calling Experience), quick-connect to your current PSTN or SIP operator (Operator Connect), collaborative calling which connects call queues to specific MS Teams channels (Voice Enabled Channels), seamless device call transfer (Endpoint Transfer), MS Teams compatible phones (SIP Gateway), and live transcription (Live Transcription and Speaker Attribution). For more on each, read below

Enhanced Calling Experience

Designed with your staff and users in mind, the Enhanced Calling Experience is a single-view platform that shows users a quick view of their contacts, voicemail, and calling history.

Operator Connect

Operator Connect, a new feature of Microsoft Teams Calling allows you to quickly and easily connect to your existing PSTN operator(s) and assign phone numbers to users or teams, enable operator-calling, and more all from the Teams Admin Center.

  • Admins will have access to the “Operators” portion of the Teams Admin Center where they can assign preferred operators and calling services to the right users or departments.
  • Your organization can leverage your existing operator contracts while enabling your team and clients to connect and communicate seamlessly using Microsoft Teams.
  • Leverage savings on hardware by working with cloud-based telecommunications providers such as Telecom Metric that provide managed infrastructure and Session Border Controllers (SBC) to ensure call quality and remote connectivity.

Using Operator Connect, you can also ensure that your team has the same access to technical support via your current providers rather than being exclusive to Microsoft’s customer support.

Team using voice enabled channels

Voice Enabled Channels

Does your organisation have team-based calling queues set up for service-based scenarios such as an IT help desk, customer service hotline etc? Allow your teams to take calls and collaborate with new Voice Enabled channels.. Connecting your existing call queues to Microsoft Teams channels has never been easier with Voice-enabled channels. Operators can connect their call queues to a designated channel in MS Teams allowing users to share information and collaborate internally through the channel while simultaneously taking calls through the queue.

Endpoint Transfer

While Teams had already made it simple to place outgoing or receive incoming calls on different devices or apps using the same user credentials, switching endpoints often ended in lost-calls. With the new Endpoint Transfer feature, switching from desktop phone to mobile or web app is seamless, removing the risk of call interruptions or quality issues.

Diagram showing endpoint transfer between multiple devices
SIP Gateway phone

SIP Gateway

For organizations looking to continue use of legacy or existing hardware, especially SIP-style desk phones, Microsoft announced its new SIP Gateway solution. This feature is expected to allow many of the core Teams calling functionalities, including inbound and outbound calling, call transfers, dial in/out meetings, voicemail indicators, and device-based DND (do not disturb) through awesome of the following branded phones:

  • Cisco
  • Polycom
  • Yealink
  • AudioCodes

Live Transcription and Speaker Attribution

Follow and review meeting conversation transcriptions in real-time with Microsoft’s Live transcription, now available for Teams video or audio meetings (in English-US). Participants with hearing impairments, different levels of language proficiency, attendees who are joining late or have missed the meeting can easily catch up on any verbal notes or by searching the transcript by speaker name.

Is your organization looking to incorporate your phone system with Microsoft Teams? Try Telecom Metric’s Free 30-day Proof of Concept trial! Whether you are transitioning into Teams or looking to learn more about Unified Communication, we can help. Click here to contact us about your 30-day free trial.

For more on the new releases and projects from Microsoft in 2021, check out the full Ignite session for March 2-4 2021 here.

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