Communication systems across the world are evolving to support customers’ changing needs owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft has announced that its customers can now scale the Teams meeting up to 20,000 participants to deliver online meetings and events at a much broader scale.
“Reach larger audiences to stay connected with your employees, customers, and partners. When building this capability, we were focused on your meeting experience, making sure that even as the meeting scales it is still easy to manage and listen to the speakers. Therefore, we limited the size of interactive meetings to 1,000 participants, with a seamless shift to a ‘view only’ mode after the limit is met,” said Nicole Herskowitz, Teams General Manager, Microsoft.
The tech giant further revealed that each of these new capabilities will be enabled with the new Advanced Communications plan, which can be added to any Microsoft 365 or Office 365 paid subscription, and is available this week. In mid-August, customers will get Advanced Communications 60-day free trial via Teams Admin Center now or via Microsoft Teams website.
Under the new Advanced Communications set of capabilities, Microsoft gives employees 1:1 connections with Teams Calling. Connecting 1:1 with colleagues, customers and partners is important, especially when meeting face-to-face can be challenging. Employees in any organization can easily call each other from Teams without a phone number. As per Microsoft, “For your employees who use phone numbers to make and receive calls with customers, partners, and vendors, those numbers need to be with them, wherever they are. With Teams Calling, a cloud-based phone system, employees can continue to do this whether they are in the office, working from home, or some combination of the two.”
When using Teams, Microsoft users are getting best-in-class calling capabilities—validated by Team’s leader position in both the Gartner Magic Quadrant and Forrester Wave reports. With all your communication tools in one place, Teams Calling makes it easy to call anyone, anywhere with any device.
Moreover, Microsoft Teams Users can also move seamlessly between chat, calling, and meetings based on the needs. This saves IT time, reduces costs associated with multiple point solutions and diminishes the need for employee training. Teams Calling is a secure, robust solution that is being used by both large call centers and individuals alike. It can be deployed quickly using your existing calling plan or a Microsoft calling plan in select markets.
Additionally, as communication is being reimagined, so are the tools that Microsoft uses to communicate. Instead of a desk phone and other peripherals, the tech giant is taking a fresh perspective on what a phone could be with our newest device innovation, Microsoft Teams displays. This is a dedicated Teams device featuring an ambient touch screen, high-quality calling and video, and a hands-free experience powered by Cortana. With Cortana built-in, the Lenovo ThinkSmart View and Yealink will be delivering the first Microsoft Teams displays in the U. S. later this year.
Microsoft also realize that being able to use existing hardware can provide important cost savings when moving to a new phone system. It has announced extended support for Skype for Business (3PIP) phones beyond 2023, so the users can continue to use their existing Skype for Business phones as they move to Teams.
Moreover, Microsoft users will be supporting core calling features on SIP phones from Cisco, Yealink, Polycom and others with Teams. Support for SIP phones will be available in the first half of 2021.
Furthermore, Microsoft is also expanding its portfolio to deliver new USB peripherals that have dial pads and a modern Teams user interface for heavy call users. These USB phones work out of the box, featuring a Teams button, and will connect to both a PC and Mac to bring a high-quality Teams audio experience. These will be available in late 2020 and the first of which will be shipped with Yealink.