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Microsoft Streamlines Teams Calling, Enhances Capabilities

Microsoft yesterday announced a series of enhancements to its Teams Calling service designed to streamline the calling experience.
Among the enhancements, Microsoft has streamlined its calling app, bringing the dial pad, call history, voicemail, contacts, and settings into a single view. Other Teams Calling updates include:
  • Call recordings default options — Teams admins can now set the default for call recording storage to either OneDrive or SharePoint.
  • Anti-spam improvements — Teams will now identify potential spam calls and authenticate outgoing calls, so recipients don’t reject them.
  • Call transfer between mobile and desktop — Users will be able to transfer a call between a mobile and desktop endpoint via the Teams app, starting early 2021.
  • Call merging — Users can now merge separate PSTN and VoIP calls into a single conversation.
  • Low-data mode — Users will be able to create settings based on network availability and can adjust the amount of data used during a video call, starting in early 2021.
  • Improved reverse number look-up — Automatic reverse number look-up allows users to see the caller’s name, which will display in the activity feed and voicemail.
  • Call transfer ring-back — If someone doesn't answer a transferred call, instead of the call dropping, the person who made the transfer will receive a ring back.
  • CarPlay support — Users can use a car's built-in Siri capabilities to place and answer Teams calls.
Other Teams Calling updates, designed for specific business use cases, include:
  • Voice-enabled channels — Ability to integrate call queues into specific channels, for use in IT or HR help desks, for example; availability in early 2021.
  • Call resiliency — Users will be able to place and receive PSTN calls during network outages via a survivable branch appliance soon to be available in preview mode for Microsoft-certified session border control (SBC) vendors. The appliance will allow SBCs to link to the Teams client when callers can't reach Microsoft’s Calling network.
  • Teams Calling certification for contact center vendors — Contact centers can now apply to certify their solutions for Teams Calling. Currently, several companies are undergoing the certification process and are projected to complete the process in early 2021, Microsoft said.
Microsoft also made several announcements related to Teams devices. First, Microsoft revealed new device as a service options, which are currently available in the U.S. and coming to additional regions in early 2021. Additionally, Lenovo Thinksmart has a new Teams experience, which includes integrated Cortana, Microsoft said. And, Microsoft has partnered with Yealink and AudioCodes for phones that natively run Teams phone app, available in early 2021.