This content is part of the Conference Coverage: Microsoft Ignite 2018 conference coverage

Microsoft Teams migration supported by partner services

Unify Square and AudioCodes introduce call quality monitoring for Microsoft Teams, while Crestron and Yealink launch audio and video devices for Teams meetings.

New Microsoft partner products aim to help organizations transition from Skype for Business to Microsoft Teams. A handful of products are especially focused on Teams meetings and monitoring Teams performance.

This week, at the Microsoft Ignite customer conference, Microsoft partners introduced a range of services and devices that might help organizations as they make their Microsoft Teams migration. According to Microsoft, 329,000 companies are using Teams, an increase from 200,000 in March.

"If you're an Office 365 customer, Teams is indeed in your future one way or another," said industry analyst Dave Michels in an on-site video from Ignite.

Microsoft has started to aggressively guide customers to cloud-based Teams by preparing a hybrid Skype for Business and preventing small businesses from signing up for cloud-based Skype. 

Monitoring Teams telephony performance

The transition to Teams will be painful, Michels said. Skype for Business and Teams don't exactly have feature parity, particularly around telephony. Microsoft partners, however, have introduced services that could help organizations monitor and manage performance amid a Microsoft Teams migration.

Unify Square, for example, introduced reporting software that lets IT compare voice quality between on-premises Skype for Business and cloud-based Teams pilots. The software is part of Unify Square's PowerSuite monitoring and management service.

The software allows IT to identify, track and troubleshoot call quality across the Microsoft environment as organizations test new Teams deployments. New features added to the PowerSuite software include improved team collaboration analytics, Teams provisioning and tracking dashboards. Earlier this year, Unify Square, based in Bellevue, Wash., rolled out consulting, managed service and software offerings to support Microsoft Teams migrations.

In addition, AudioCodes announced voice-quality monitoring for Teams facilitated by session border controllers (SBCs) and AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center. The monitoring service is part of the vendor's One Voice Microsoft 365 portfolio.

The service includes direct routing that connects the AudioCodes SBCs to Teams front-end servers, providing end-to-end visibility into Teams calls. Direct routing allows organizations to use their existing telephony infrastructure with Teams for calling.

Call quality information can be extracted from Microsoft reports and combined with parameters collected from session initiation protocol (SIP) trunks. The information is reported to the One Voice Operations Center network and monitoring tool for analysis to identify trends and troubleshoot issues.

Israel-based AudioCodes also plans to support the Microsoft Events Hub API, which will add support for quality monitoring of calls between individual Teams clients.

Boosting Microsoft Teams meeting support

Crestron and Yealink introduced audio and video devices that support current Skype for Business deployments, but can be updated during a Microsoft Teams migration. Crestron, based in Rockleigh, N.J., launched the Crestron Flex portfolio, which includes desk phones and meeting room hardware.

The Flex P100 series VoIP desk phones offer a Microsoft Teams user interface and uses Cortana AI skills for specific tasks. The phones include a touchscreen for calendar and contacts. The Flex B100 is a wall-mounted bar with a camera and microphone. It pairs with a touchscreen and supports Skype for Business and Teams deployments. The Flex M100 series is a tabletop device that supports audio calling, video conferencing and presentation using Skype for Business and Teams software. The Crestron Flex portfolio is deployed from Crestron's XiO cloud platform.

Yealink launched audio and video devices to support a Microsoft Teams migration through a firmware update. The audio devices include desk phones and conference phones for small-to-large meeting rooms. The desk phones have pre-installed Skype for Business firmware and range from basic SIP-phones to smart desk phones with touchscreens.

China-based Yealink also introduced video hardware that supports Skype for Business and will offer Teams support in 2019. The VC200 is a video conferencing endpoint for small meeting rooms. The device includes a built-in 4K camera, microphone, codec and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi support for wireless content sharing.

Yealink introduced two Skype Room Systems devices that will launch in 2019: the MVC500 for small rooms and the MVC800 for mid-to-large rooms. Both endpoints include a camera, microphone, touch-enabled console and wireless content sharing in a Microsoft Teams interface.

Dig Deeper on Team collaboration software