What is Microsoft Teams Phone?
If you are like many businesses these days, you are considering or have recently transitioned to using cloud services that offer a more effective approach to productivity and cost savings. However, one thing you might not have considered in your transition is a cloud phone system. Of the many tools available, Microsoft 365 offers Teams Phone (Voice). This is a cloud-based phone solution that offers many of the same capabilities of a typical phone service, but entirely in the cloud. If you are already using Microsoft 365, a next logical step to completing the transition to cloud services solutions is migrating to Teams Phone (Voice).
(NOTE: Here at Regroove, we refer to this tool as Teams Phone (Voice) now. We previously called this ‘Teams Voice’ alongside Microsoft, however it seems they have now renamed the product Teams Phone.)
What are Teams Phone Features?
Teams Phone (Voice) offers the following calling capabilities:
- Local numbers
- Auto attendants (extension numbers or dial by name)
- Call queues
- Cloud voice mail (user) / shared voice mail (group)
- End to end encryption
- Call recording
- Audio conferencing
- Domestic and international calling plans
- Toll-free dialing
For a full list of Teams Phone features see the Microsoft service description.
How is Teams Phone Licensed?
Teams Phone (Voice) is available as a per user “add-on” license to an existing Microsoft 365 subscription. Users’ mailboxes must be in Microsoft 365 for this service.
For users that need to make or receive calls to or from external phone numbers on the PSTN (Public Switch Telephone Network) Microsoft Teams Phone (Voice) with Calling Plan licenses are required.
Users who don’t need to make or receive calls to or from external phone numbers just need Microsoft Teams for peer-to-peer VoIP calls (calls within the organization).
The following is a summary of which licenses to purchase based on Microsoft 365 subscriptions:
What can you do with Teams Voice?
Teams Phone (Voice) can be configured to enable or enhance its existing “out of box” services.
You can enable Teams Phone (Voice) 1:1 Call Recording in the Teams Admin portal in the Voice Calling Policies section.
When this is enabled and the policy is assigned to users, callers will be able to initiate a “1:1 call recording.” The recordings will be stored in the “Recordings” folder of the user’s OneDrive who initiated the recording. The user on the other end will be notified that call recording has started.
End to End Encryption (E2EE) between calls can be enabled in Enhanced Encryption Policies in the Teams Admin portal.
This feature will only work if both callers have it enabled. Content is encrypted before its sent and decrypted by the intended recipient. Only the caller and recipient have access to the decrypted content.
If E2EE is not enabled, Teams secures a call using encryption based on industry standards.
Shared Voicemail is achieved by using a Microsoft 365 Group in Teams Phone (Voice) to redirect voice messages from an Auto Attendant or Call Queue. This is particularly useful for general inquiries from callers as a menu option or for a more specific inquiry to a department.
At Regroove, we like to fine tune this configuration by redirecting these voicemails to a Teams Channel. This notifies specific users of new messages complete with transcription and recorded message.
Microsoft Teams Phone – Management and Troubleshooting
On occasion you will need to review Teams Phone (Voice) issues. This could be anything from non-optimal performance to issues with calls or devices.
The first place you should look when users report service issues is the health section in the Microsoft 365 Admin portal. Here you can review whether there are any existing issues with Microsoft 365 services via Service Health. This will tell you if there is service degradation or if the service is in extended recovery. Further detailed information is available for each impacted service.
Calling issues can be linked to misconfigurations with “Communication Credits” such as depleted funds or “auto charge” not being set up. This is a good place to start when reviewing issues with calls. Further troubleshooting can be done by reviewing the usage reports in the Teams Admin portal.
Call Quality and Network Issues
The Teams Admin portal provides reporting and analytics where you can begin your investigation if you have call quality and suspected network issues. Here you can access the Call Quality Dashboard to review Teams Phone (Voice) and meeting quality information at an organization-wide level. Further troubleshooting can be done by reviewing the usage reports in the Teams Admin portal.
Teams Phone API Uses
API uses for Teams Phone (Voice) can be achieved via working with the communications API in Microsoft Graph. While currently limited to what can be achieved, here is a breakdown of existing use cases:
For more information on the possibilities ahead for the communications API you can review this Microsoft feedback portal and up vote the request for more capabilities.
If you are already using Microsoft 365 cloud services as an organization, the next logical step might be to migrate your organizations on-premises phone system to Teams Phone (Voice). Moving to Teams Phone (Voice) has many benefits, including:
- Free up your organizational hardware costs associated with acquiring and maintaining physical phones.
- Selectively license users that require calling plans for external calls vs. those that don’t.
- Secure your calls with end point encryption.
- Manage call routing effectively utilizing voicemail to Teams channels for greater notification control over missed calls or general inquiries.
Looking for assistance in adding cloud calling to your business solutions platform? Get in touch with us at regroove.ca!