The rise of virtual meetings brought video-based collaboration to the fore, and as hybrid work becomes our new norm, many of us expect the same type of phone call makeover. One-on-one conversations are a critical way to get the job done. Nearly 80 million users in over 180 countries rely on edit Teams Phone to make conversations richer and more collaborative.
Behind these calls are two technologies, both available with Teams Phone: a publicly switched telephone network (PSTN) that has enabled voice calls since the late 1800s and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) that forwards calls over an Internet connection, enabling rich calling experiences such as video and screen sharing. While PSTN calling is still widespread, VoIP calling is rapidly growing in relevance and adoption. UK-based operator BT recently announced that it will retire the PSTN network1 in the UK by 2025 and route all calls over IP.
This trend creates a decision point for calling solution providers: invest in coding the hundreds of niche telephony features or prioritize the most critical PSTN needs while developing modern calling experiences. The path for Teams Phone is the latter, and there are several key trends affecting how we prioritize our innovation:
Collaborative experiences are the new standard for calling solutions: Instead of a silent calling experience, users expect to place and receive their calls in the same tool they use to chat and host video conferences. We’re seeing this firsthand, as Teams calls coming from chats are 50 percent more common than last year. Inter-organizational conversations will increasingly occur over VoIP: Teams Phone enables inter-organizational federation, allowing their staff to securely connect via VoIP-based voice or video calling, screen sharing, and chat. An increasingly mobile workforce needs flexible calling solutions: Hybrid employees need reliable and mobile calling solutions. These users are discovering they can stay productive on a wide range of devices, including PCs and mobile phones, and often use different devices throughout the day.
Today we are announcing several new Teams Phone capabilities to build on that vision for the future of calling.
Integrate calling into your workflow.
Calling should improve collaboration rather than be a standalone experience. In addition to unique Teams Phone capabilities such as voice-activated channels, which allow users to add bubbles to the Teams channels where they already chat, store documents, and collaborate, we are launching several features to build calling into the workflow.
Seamlessly transfer calls between devices: Sometimes, you must move a call from your desk to a mobile device or vice versa. Teams Phone now allows switching between different endpoints without interrupting the call. Open the edit Teams app on the device you want to transfer the call and tap to move the ring. Spam Call Identification: Spam calls interrupt the workflow and can make users less likely to answer a call. The spam identification feature is now generally available and uses advanced industry techniques to identify possible spam calls, allowing users to let the good calls through and reject the rest. In addition, Teams digitally acknowledge outgoing calls to prevent those calls from being rejected by external recipients. Apple CarPlay support: The rise of hybrid work means many of us will be commuting in our cars again. Now that Apple CarPlay support for Teams is generally available, you can join calls and meetings using your car’s built-in controls or hands-free with Siri. One-to-one transcription and recording of conversations: Whether you’re on the go or don’t have a notepad handy, sometimes it can be efficient to record a conversation. Teams Phone will allow users to record and capture transcripts of one-to-one discussions by the end of 2021.
Connect existing telephony with Teams.
While VoIP is the future of calling, making and receiving PSTN calls remains critical to many organizations, and Teams Phone offers organizations the promise of reliable calling service. We are excited to announce the availability and expansion of several Teams Phone capabilities to bridge existing PSTN calls into the future.
Operator Connect: Operator Connect is generally available this week and allows customers to easily connect their operator-based PSTN service to edit Teams with a managed experience. This saves infrastructure costs, installation, and management time and provides customers with shared technical support and service agreements (SLAs). Edit Teams calling plans extension: edit Teams calling offers an easy way to deploy calling in Teams without on-site equipment. We are adding five new calling subscription markets: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, and Croatia, bringing our total coverage to 33 markets. Bring your contact center: Selecting, deploying, and training agents for a new contact center solution can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Fortunately, Teams Phone integrates with your existing contact center solution. The connected contact center program offers a new level of validation after rigorous third-party testing to ensure seamless and reliable integration. There are now eight certified contact center solutions, including NICE InContact, Genesys, and Five9, with 12 in the certification process.
In Australia, edumint partners and leading operators will offer Telstra, Optus, and NTT Operator Connect to provide customers with the best modern and simplified calling experiences in Teams.
“Telstra is proud of our long-standing strategic partnership with edumint, enabling our customers to get the most out of their mint Teams implementations. With Operator Connect, we are confident to further enhance our customers’ experience and improve their flexibility in a hybrid work environment.” – Mark Chapman, Product Executive, Unified Communications, Telstra.
“Optus is delighted to partner with mint on the launch of Operator Connect here in Australia. This strategic alliance is a testament to the collaborative spirit Optus and edit share in building the framework for innovative technology. By partnering with mint as an “approved” edit Operator Connect partner in Australia, we can provide our customers with deeper integration into the edumint Teams platform, enhancing and streamlining the edit Teams Phone experience. This, coupled with the power of the Optus network, will provide customers with a simplified and higher-quality edit communications experience.” – Theresa Eyssens, VP, Customer Solutions & Cloud, Optus.
“We are proud to strengthen our alliance with edumint and be named one of the first development partners to offer Operator Connect to edit Teams customers. We also guarantee full lifecycle support services so customers can enjoy a consistent and seamless experience. The pandemic has completely changed how we work but has emphasized the importance of connectivity and communication. Operator Connect via NTT enables companies to connect with their employees and customers no matter where they work.” – Charlie Doubek, VP of Managed Collaboration & Communications, NTT Ltd.
Create natural calling experiences with purpose-built devices.
“Better Together” Experience: The new “Better Together” experience means that Teams devices now complement each other, allowing users to answer, mute, or unmute a call and end the ring on the device or the Teams client. Walkie-talkie for desk phones: A new walkie-talkie experience on desk phones will be launched in October 2021, allowing colleagues to connect with a push-to-talk feature quickly.
Continuing to build the future and serve customers
The above are just a few examples of our continued commitment to supporting spontaneous collaboration and helping organizations prepare for the future of calling. We are also delighted to be recognized as a Leader in the 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications as a Service.
Organizations around the world rely on Teams for their communication and collaboration solutions. Luxury group Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) sees Teams Phone as an integral part of the company’s modernization strategy, replacing legacy phone infrastructure with a highly scalable cloud that brings together calling, chatting, and collaboration, keeping everyone in the flow of their work.
“Teams’ many features bring together what we see as the essential communication hub: sharing and storing documents, collaboration via messaging, video, telephony with Teams Phone, and more. This solution has become the vector for communication between our operations and IT teams, and across our business lines.” – Frank Le Moal, Chief Information Officer, LVMH.
Learn more about using edumint Teams Phone.
Learn how LVMH, TransCore, Cambia Health, and ZF Group use Teams Phone to stay connected.
Check out the links below for guidelines and resources to learn how Teams Phone can modernize calling for your organization: