Microsoft SIP Gateway: ATA Support

At the time of writing (February 2023), SIP Gateway support for Analogue Telephony Adapters (ATAs) is in public preview. After the feature is launched you should check the documentation for any updates or changes. The video posted below is a short overview of the main steps needed to register an analogue phone to Microsoft Teams via an ATA. It is currently anticipated that AudioCodes, Cisco and Poly ATAs will be compatible with Sip Gateway.

Microsoft engineering is investigating how to support bulk installations. Look out for additional details when ATA support goes to GA.

Since I posted the video, replacing the caller ID with a Service Number has been superseded by assignment of a Resource Account. See the screenshot below. Service Number support for CLID policies will be depreciated.

#MicrosoftEmployee #MSPartnerUK

Channel Enabled Microsoft Teams Call Queues

The ability to surface a Call Queue as a tab within a Channel adds new value to one of the main cornerstones of the Microsoft Teams Hub. For example, a Support Team can add their voice queue directly into a Channel within their Microsoft Team to provide a more collaborative agent experience.

I created this short video to provide an overview of this functionality. As you’ll see it’s really easy to configure from an admin perspective and the resulting “Call” tab automatically appears in the assigned Teams Channel.

Note: At the time of posting this functionality is very new, so be sure to refer to the Microsoft documentation to check for any changes in the agent experience and for new features that may be been added over time.

The Microsoft Call Queue feature article can be found here.

Microsoft Teams Business Voice with Calling Plan: Direct Routing Tip

As you are likely aware Microsoft Teams Business Voice comes in two versions in the UK, with Calling Plan and without. At the time of writing Microsoft Partners who have the Small and Midmarket Cloud Solution competency have Business Voice included as part of their Internal Use Rights (IURs). The UK IUR licensing comes with Microsoft Calling Plan. I mention this as the scenario discussed below applies to both standard and IUR Business Voice licensing.

Even though they have Microsoft Calling Plan use rights some customers/partners may still want to assign an on-premises phone number to one or more of their users. An example scenario might be a Microsoft UK Partner with Business Voice IURs who wants to use their own Direct Routing service for PSTN calls.

This is perfectly legal but even if Direct Routing is set up correctly and the user is assigned their on-premises number I’ve seen this configuration fail. Why? The short video below contains the answer.

The resolution may seem trivial with hindsight but it’s an easy step to overlook!

On-network Conferencing for Microsoft Teams Audio Conferencing

On-network conferencing for Microsoft Teams is simply the ability to make calls to Audio Conferencing Service numbers across an organisation’s Direct Routing deployment. For example, this might be handy during a migration project if you want PBX end users to be able to dial into Teams Meeting from existing 3rd party IP, Digital or Analogue handsets.

As shown in the video below the On-net conferencing feature supports both dial-in and dial-out from Teams Meetings. The dial-out function is enabled by creating an Audio Conferencing routing Policy (New-CsOnlineAudioConferencingRoutingPolicy) and assigning it to end users. For more information please refer to the documentation.

Note: At the time of writing this capability is currently in Public Preview.

Microsoft Teams Voice in Regulated Environments

As you are probably some countries have implemented a regulatory framework that prohibits customers implementing toll bypass within their own telephony environments. In this blog I am going to share a short 5 minute video that introduces Locations Based Routing (LBR), which is a technology that can be used in this type of deployment scenario.

Strong Warning: It is the responsibility of the Microsoft Partner and/or Customer to take counsel to ensure any given LBR implementation meets the legal requirements of the country it is being deployed in.

As mentioned in the video, the lab Direct Routing implementation used non-media bypass. In production scenarios it is very likely a media bypass probably with Local Media Optimisation (LMO) would be configured. I’ve previously posted a blog about LMO here.

To find out more about Locations Based Routing, please refer to the Microsoft documentation.

Microsoft Business Voice (3 of 3): Auto Attendants and Call Queues

The first and second articles in this series covered the configuration of basic telephony and voice polices for end users. This post provides some guidance on how to get started with Microsoft Teams Auto Attendants (AA) and Call Queues (CQ).

I expect if you’ve taken the trouble to navigate to this page you probably understand the basic concepts but if you are new to the topic you can find the Microsoft documentation by clicking on AA and CQ.

In the video demonstration below I take you through an Auto Attendant configuration that showcases most of the features available at the time of creation. I then configure a couple of call queues, which can be dialed directly or accessed via the AA’s IVR menu.

Note: The Microsoft Teams stack evolves rapidly and new features are added all the time. I believe this video is a great starting point to get a fundamental understanding of how to set up these organisational or department level voice services. Just be sure to still check out the documentation so you are aware of any updates Microsoft Engineering may have introduced. Change is a universal constant!

Microsoft Business Voice (2 of 3): End User Voice Polices

In the first article of this three part series I went though the basic configuration needed to enable end users with a Microsoft Calling Plan.

In this second video I run through some of the policy settings that can be used to customise the end user experience. I also show how to administer Reporting Labels, which allows the admin to build a logical mapping of the company’s sites to IP subnets in the cloud. This is really handy for troubleshooting and enhances the information presented within the Microsoft Teams Call Analytics tool.

Microsoft Teams policies can be applied at the organisational level via the default Global Policy or at an end user level using Custom Policies. Teams also support an Admin concept know as Policy Packages, which allows you to apply a suite (or a package) of polices to specific users. The idea is to reduce admin overhead. More recently Teams has introduce the ability to apply policies to Groups, which provides yet another administrative approach to deploying policies. Is this a topic worth creating a specific post about? Anyway, my advice is to adopt the KISS approach whenever possible.

In part 3 of this series I’ll cover an example configuration for a Tenant Auto Attendant / IVR and a couple of Call Queues (often referred to as Hunt Groups).

Microsoft Business Voice (1 of 3): Configuring Subscribers

To support the release of Business Voice for Microsoft Teams in the UK I created this video to help new partners and customers get their heads around how to do a basic subscriber configuration. In this example, the tenant is licensed with Calling Plan to provide PSTN services. Also note that Business Voice is also fully compatible with Direct Routing.

A short 6-minute video showing how to get users set up to use Teams Business Voice

It is also worth stating that even though I am using Business Voice licensing in the above demo video, the basic configurations steps shown are the same when Enterprise Licensing is used. From an admin perspective, underneath the covers you will always be working with Phone System and the Teams Admin Portal regardless of the licensing model deployed.

In part 2 of this series I’ll cover some of the voice policies associated with a end user configuration.