Microsoft Teams, Videocall and Polycom

Last month at the Microsoft Ignite conference in the US, Microsoft announced that it would be merging its Skype for Business Online platform with its Teams platform to create an improved collaboration application for businesses to use.

From the initial conversations, we have had with businesses, it seems that many had not heard the news coming from Ignite and were a little confused or concerned as to what this meant for them.

Let’s just start by saying that there is no need to be alarmed, as this is a long-term project for Microsoft and nothing is going to happen overnight. Here are some more bits of information that should help with those questions:

  1. Microsoft Skype for Businesses on-premises is going to continue for the immediate future. In fact, Microsoft will be releasing a new on-premises server for Skype for Business at the end of 2018, which will give plenty of years of extra life to companies not wanting to migrate to the cloud
  2. Microsoft are not going to force companies to switch to Teams. Whilst they have not given a date for when everyone is required to move from Skype for Business Online to Teams, they have left it fluid allowing companies to make a trial switch starting now
  3. Microsoft Teams is built on the Microsoft Skype for Business Online platform. This means that Videocall’s ICE (Intelligent Cloud Experience) platform can continue to be your interoperability service, connecting users in the Skype for Business or Teams worlds with those using traditional room based endpoints or other video applications. By using ICE, you will still have a unified collaboration platform that delivers easy to use, reliable, high quality and secure video designed for the enterprise business.
  4. Polycom have been announced as an official Microsoft Teams integration partner. This means that all their latest technology that worked with Skype for Business, will work with Teams, and is likely at some point to start adopting the Teams interface, to make usability and workflows as easy as possible
  5. Teams will offer users the functionality from Skype for Business, combined with the functionality of Teams. This means that from within Teams you will still be able to make call audio calls from PSTN lines and video calls via SIP. The only real change is that instant messaging has been advanced to persistent chat (threaded messages, similar to text messages and WhatsApp), and employees and clients can group together in Team Spaces to collaborate on projects

Teams is Microsoft’s response to Slack, Cisco’s Spark and a whole host of persistent chat lead unified communication tools that have been launched over the last couple of years. Microsoft have listened to the experts say that they couldn’t have multiple applications running the unified collaboration experience, and it had to become one. Teams is their answer.

If you want to have a Microsoft conversation to talk about the future of your unified collaboration, whether that is Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business (online or on-premises), we have the experts here at Videocall that will be able to help. Use our contact form, email or call +44 (0)1276 706 706 to get in touch.

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