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Moving to Cloud-Based Calling Just Got Easier

Prior to 2020, the demand for mobile unified communications solutions was limited and the availability of native mobile UCaaS was scarce. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit and businesses were scrambling for solutions to connect employees, they more readily embraced UC providers’ mobile apps for telephony, meetings, and collaboration.

While the use of mobile apps for enterprise communications can be useful, they are not without challenges, especially in telephony. A global Metrigy study published in February 2023 of 440 companies found that only 20% of participating companies are using a mobile UC app for calling. It is easier to make a call directly through a phone’s native contact list or dialer than it is to take the additional steps to open an application and place a call through the application, assuming the data connection is good. Going through a phone's native interface ensures the data detailing contacts and call history remain with the employee, not with the company -- putting companies at a disadvantage if they're not able to retain potentially critical customer and partner data and insights.

The market has begun to actively address the opportunity for mobile UCaaS with partnerships between leading UC vendors, most notably Cisco and Microsoft, in conjunction with leading mobile carriers. However, this opportunity is much bigger than just addressing the native dialer piece of the equation, it’s about bringing a viable calling option (voice connectivity) to platforms like Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex.

Over half of businesses worldwide are still utilizing on-premises PBXs or dedicated single-instance hosted UC platforms. The same Metrigy study noted above found that only 30% of participating companies are using multi-tenant UCaaS as their primary calling platform. Most companies worldwide have yet to migrate their calling to UCaaS, representing big upside potential for providers.

Microsoft Teams Phone Mobile’s recent launch with Verizon provides an excellent example of how mobile options offer the ability to accelerate calling onto UCaaS platforms. Microsoft Teams has had great adoption for meetings and collaboration, but there is momentum with customers looking to add calling to the platform.

To date, if businesses want to add calling to Microsoft Teams there have been 3 options:

  • Microsoft’s own Calling Plan: Microsoft provides phone numbers, PSTN connectivity, e911 management, along with domestic and international calling plans. This has been optimal for small and new implantations.
  • Bring Your Own Carrier Option #1: Operator Connect, which provides a limited selection of SIP trunking providers via a console and is geared towards more repeatable deployments.
  • Bring Your Own Carrier Option #2: Direct Routing requires a lot more involvement with SBC procurement and routing schemes. It is optimal for larger organizations with more complex requirements. Metrigy’s global study referenced above found 63% of participating companies that are using Teams for their primary calling platform today do so via Direct Routing.

This brings us to Teams Phone Mobile, which technically falls under the same category as bring your own carrier, but with all the BYOC complexities eliminated. For businesses looking to bring calling to their Teams deployment, a mobile option eliminates the need for SBCs, new IP desk phones, or intricate SIP routing schemes. It is a great option for those businesses that have company provided mobile phones as the primary device for all or some employees and are looking to add calling around their Microsoft Teams service.

Marrying UCaaS to leading mobile providers such as Microsoft and Verizon has the potential to be a game changer for cloud calling adoption. True mobile UC from leading vendors opens up viable options for a number of small and large businesses that want the advantages of fully integrated UCaaS platform that includes calling that is easy to deploy and manage. For smaller businesses, a mobile-only UCaaS calling solution offers the ability to integrate calling with its UC platform. With larger enterprises, a solution like Teams Phone Mobile with Verizon provides the option for mixing calling options across Direct Routing, Operator Connect and Phone Mobile giving maximum flexibility to ensure all calls are flowing through the Teams platform.

These unions perfectly blend the concept of bringing your own carrier -- in this instance, mobile -- with the calling features and functionality from the UC provider