AudioCodes Certified for Direct Routing for Teams
Need Microsoft Teams without the expensive call costs?
Two years since Microsoft announced Skype for Business Online would eventually be phased out, Microsoft has recently unveiled that Microsoft Teams has the highest uptake of any of their products.
During Enterprise Connect, Microsoft revealed there are now 500,000 organisations using Teams. To celebrate this milestone, as well as their two-year anniversary, Microsoft released new features designed to enhance productivity even further. These include:
- Information barriers
- Calendar app
- Live captions
- Customised backgrounds
- Content cameras and intelligent capture
- Microsoft whiteboard
- Enhancements to the Chrome browser meeting experience
- Live events in Microsoft Office 365
Whilst this great news for users and admins of Microsoft Teams, this is also a big deal for AudioCodes.
How Microsoft Teams success impacts AudioCodes
When I met with Jason Wyatt, Technical Marketing Manager for EMEA, he commented that one of the best things about Teams is its call functionality. You can make, receive and transfer calls to and from landlines and mobile phones on the public switched telephone network (PSTN) in two different ways:
- Using Microsoft Phone System and Calling Plans
- Using Microsoft Phone system and a technology called Direct Routing
So, how does this benefit AudioCodes, you might ask?
Microsoft’s calling plans can be expensive. Traditional landline or cloud phone systems usually hold significant cost savings compared to Microsoft Teams calling plans. Furthermore, Jason highlights that leaving your existing provider often incurs a termination fee. This is usually a blocker for enterprises looking to introduce Teams functionality into their business.
This is where AudioCodes helps.
AudioCodes has been certified by Microsoft to provide a Direct Routing for Teams solution through the Mediant family of Session Border Controllers (SBC).
Direct Routing for Teams
Jason recently posted in his blog how the AudioCodes direct routing solution works.
“Either physical or virtual, an SBC can be located either on-premises or in a data center. An SBC acts in the same way that a gateway router connects the internet to an internal network. When an incoming call is received, the SBC mediates a session with your Microsoft Phone System. It is then passed through to the Microsoft Teams client and then to the intended user. In the same way, an outgoing call is routed through to the SBC and then to the recipient via the existing PSTN or SIP trunk.
Benefits of Direct Routing for Teams
Businesses should be chomping at the bit for Direct Routing. A way to introduce Teams functionality into your communications estate is more than desirable.
However, sometimes it takes more than cost to justify the business case. Jason highlights some of the other key benefits of direct routing.
- Phased Migration – One of the biggest challenges when implementing a Microsoft intelligent communications solution like Teams is migrating from your legacy PBX. With Direct Routing, you can adopt a phased approach by migrating users individually or in groups. We at AudioCodes have developed a powerful software application, User Management Pack™ 365, to make this process as quick and easy as possible.
- Monitoring and Reporting – Although you can get a reasonable amount of information about your Microsoft Teams deployment from its online control panels, this is limited to the Microsoft UC client and the Microsoft environment. Because the SBC sits between your Microsoft environment, endpoint devices and the PSTN or SIP trunk provider, a centralised management tool like AudioCodes’ One Voice Operations Center (OVOC) can let you can monitor call quality closely and deliver a much-improved quality of experience (QoE).
- Media Bypass – This reduces the traffic flowing to and from the Microsoft datacentres and allows the call media to be directly routed to the SBC. This dramatically increases the call quality while also reducing the amount of network traffic.
Knowing Jason and AudioCodes had recently returned from the EMEA sessions of Microsoft Ignite, I asked what the biggest blockers or problems customers and partners were reporting.
Jason had recently discussed in a video this very question.
“Probably the biggest issue I heard was the need for gradual migration from their legacy or existing infrastructure. They are all at different stages of their intelligent communications journey and typically had a real mix, for example, different PBXs for different locations and some already using Microsoft tools such as Skype for Business for voice, collaboration or both. And while they see the benefits in moving to Microsoft Teams, they want to do so gradually so that they can leverage the investments they’ve already made in their existing infrastructure. That co-existence and gradual, carefully managed migration is a critical factor for them all.
Even more AudioCodes and Microsoft
Jason summed up three key areas that also added to the AudioCodes and Microsoft story this month.
- “AudioCodes recently announced partnership with our friends at Jabra is a real help. It means we can help give customers the broadest choice of AudioCodes IP Phones and Jabra’s headsets depending on the user’s job role and user personas”
- “AudioCodes has announced that the C450HD is now generally available with WiFi and Bluetooth options. Whilst there is an assumption that everyone will use a headset and/or video for Microsoft Teams, this was quite far removed from the recent feedback that we’ve had on the Microsoft Ignite tour. For many, organisations are still needing as much as 60% of their telephony estate to be IP Phones. Organisations whilst accepting and recognising user personas, IP phones offer stability as well as longevity when evaluating the overall cost of lifecycle management”
- “Another key area with our Microsoft Story is the availability of AudioCodes User Management Pack 365 or UMP 365 being available in Microsoft Azure along with the free edition of the IPP Device Manager. Coming soon into Azure is One Voice Operations Centre or OVOC which is a very powerful end to end monitoring and reporting tool which also manages and backups your SBC estate. This really demonstrates the commitment that AudioCodes has to Microsoft and any organisation looking to deploy a cloud-first strategy”
Watch the Audicodes overview of the C450HD handset and subscribe to their channel for more insights into migrating to Teams without the undesirable cost implications.