Microsoft Teams takes a step closer to being a valid PABX replacement

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Microsofts plan to introduce Direct Routing (previously known as Bring Your Own Trunk) looks to be on target. Halleluja!! Coming from a market that doesn’t offer Microsoft Calling Plans, I’ve been waiting for a solution that will allow me to migrate my account to Microsoft Teams, while maintaining all the Enterprise Voice features I use on a daily basis. It looks like I may not have to wait too much longer.

In a blog post from Microsoft’s Paul Cannon, he states that they are still targeting general availability (GA) by the end of Q2 2018 (June). Looking at the roadmap, this appears to coincide with a number of other Enterprise Voice features slated for delivery around the same time:

  • 1:1 to Group Call Escalation with Teams, Skype for Business, and PSTN participants
  • Boss and Delegate Support
  • Call Queues
  • Consultative Transfer
  • Organizational Auto-Attendant
  • Do not Disturb breakthrough
  • Distinctive Ring
  • Forward to Group
  • Out of Office Support

Direct Routing will allow you to connect your existing telco circuits (ISDN, SIP etc), via a certified Session Border Controller (SBC).

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Direct Routing brings with it some great migration and interworking scenarios. For example:

  1. An interim step to allow companies to migrate to a Microsoft Calling Plan from an existing PABX, at their own pace and avoiding a big bang migration
  2. A permanent solution to provide calling into Microsoft Teams while maintaining existing Telco relationships
  3. A solution to provide interworking between a PABX or Contact Centre solution and Microsoft Teams
  4. A solution to provide services between Microsoft Teams and legacy devices (such as analogue phones)

My hope is that all of these scenarios will be available when Direct Routing goes GA.

Direct Routing is only compatible with Microsoft Teams, and there are no plans to add support for Skype for Business Online. The good news is that those who have invested in an SBC with Cloud Connector Edition (CCE), with a firmware upgrade you will be able to add Direct Routing, providing a migration path to Microsoft Teams. As well as co-existing with CCE, I assume that this will also be possible with Skype for Business Hybrid (on-premises). This is a great migration story for those who want to get to Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft has also just announced at Enterprise Connect that direct carrier support will be possible, with ThinkTel Canada becoming the first provider to offer this service. For basic scenarios where interworking is not required, this is a great solution that means you would not need an SBC or any other local hardware to support Direct Routing.

If you’re in the Microsoft camp or looking over the fence, these are some great improvements to a product only a year old today.

 

 

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