Many organizations would like to move their existing phone systems online to reduce costs and maintenance while increasing access and reliability. In response to this, Microsoft is introducing a new way of making your phones available online and providing a novel and simple way in which to move your phones to the Cloud.
Background on Teams and its Integration with Skype for Business
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool that enables users to share and work on related items in a a common area to communicate, share data, and store content. In 2017, Microsoft announced that the online phone offering of Skype for Business would be merging with and becoming part of Microsoft Teams.
As part of the growth of Teams, Microsoft saw that merging instant messaging, conferencing and phone was a natural fit with the collaboration tools already integrated in Teams. Having both Skype for Business and Teams using the same featureset did not make sense, so the functionality of Skype for Business is merging with Teams.
Direct Routing with Microsoft Teams
One of the important functions of Skype for Business for many organizations is the ability to make and receive phone calls.
To help provide a path for companies to move their existing phones and users to using Teams online, Microsoft is introducing a feature called Direct Routing. Direct Routing allows an organization to utilize existing incoming phone provider and redirect the phone traffic using an SBC (Session Border Controller) to Microsoft Teams online.
A user in Teams can then make and receive normal phone calls directly to their Teams client, an internet connected desk phone or even to the Teams app on their smartphone.
The advantage of Direct Routing is that the organization can move all or a portion of their phone numbers to Teams while leaving other numbers local for analog devices such as faxes or alarm systems Users can be moved all at once or even one at a time as the organization has control over where the phone number is directed.
Microsoft has announced that Direct Routing should be generally available by the end of the second quarter of 2018.