Lightwire is a predominantly channel-focused business, and our partners and wholesalers know Microsoft’s products/services inside out. The feedback we have received is that many partners are looking to merge comms into Teams where the feature set suits their client’s requirements. Lightwire is going to enable our customers and partners to make this happen.
Microsoft Teams calling will be added to our voice and unified communications as a service (UCaaS) service suite on April 1st 2020. Microsoft Teams presents a great opportunity for businesses to unify their comms on to a single platform, bringing document sharing and collaboration, messaging, video, and calling into a single platform.
In addition to Lightwire’s position as the only preferred 3CX partner on both sides of the Tasman, Teams calling will ensure that we have an excellent offering of unified communications/voice services for organisations of all sizes and with varying requirements.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams makes it easier for your organisation to collaborate and connect with internal and external users via:
- Teams and channels. Teams are made up of channels, which are conversation boards between teammates.
- Conversations within channels and teams. All team members can view and add to different conversations in the General channel and can use an @ function to invite other members to different conversations.
- A chat function. The basic chat function is commonly found within most collaboration apps and can take place between teams, groups, and individuals.
- Document storage in SharePoint. All files shared across all conversations will automatically save to a SharePoint folder. Permissions and security options can also be customized for sensitive information.
- Online video calling and screen sharing. Enjoy seamless and fast video calls to employees within your business or clients outside your business. A good video call feature is great to have on a collaboration platform. One can also enjoy simple and fast desktop sharing for technical assistance and multi-user real-time collaboration.
- Online meetings. This feature can help enhance your communications, company-wide meetings, and even training with an online meetings function that can host up to 10,000 users. Online meetings can include anyone outside or inside a business. This feature also includes a scheduling aid, a note-taking app, file uploading, and in-meeting chat messaging.
- Audio conferencing. This is a feature you won’t find in many collaboration platforms. With Lightwire enabled audio conferencing, anyone can join an online meeting via phone. With a dial-in number that spans hundreds of cities, even users that are on the go can participate with no internet required. Note this requires additional licensing.
- Full telephony. The days of overspending on a phone system are finally over. With Lightwire enabled Teams calling you can completely replace your business’ existing phone system. Note this requires additional licensing.
Why go the Teams route?
Having an excellent team space is key to being able to make creative decisions and communicate with one another. Teams makes this much easier to achieve. With an intuitive and user-friendly environment, even the most tech-adverse people can easily collaborate and use full telephony functionality.
Being a Microsoft product, Teams allow you to stay in the Microsoft ecosystem, which makes it easier for administrators to manage. Teams calling is also an excellent option for organisations still using Skype for Business.
While the current Teams feature set doesn’t compare well to 3CX, Microsoft is pouring a lot of resources into Teams, which makes us believe that over time the features sets will start to converge.
In short, if your organisation requires a fairly complex feature set, go with 3CX. If you are a small to medium sized business that doesn’t require advanced calling features and just wants a collaborative space that has calling functionality added to it, then Teams calling might be the perfect option for you.
How will it work?
This is a Lightwire service through and through. We have connected our voice switching layer to Microsoft teams via our supported and redundant session boarder controllers (SBCs).The set up and configuration of the Teams environment, including configuration will be the responsibility of the Office 365 Tenancy Admin. Lightwire won’t touch your Office 365 Tenancy as that is the role of our valued partners, but of course, we will equip our partners with an instruction manual on how to configure and deploy Teams Calling.
Our site will soon be updated with Teams certified hardware options, stay tuned.
Our plans will be similar, if not identical to those seen here. This keeps things simple for our clients, whether our SIP lines are being connected to an on-site PBX or Teams, the pricing will be consistent.
We are continuing to test and finalise deployment in March for service release at the start of April.
If you have any questions or customer requirements you would like us to review, please email firstname.lastname@example.org