Notes from EC18: Why is Everybody Talking About Teams?

Enterprise Connect 2018 Logoby Alan Percy, Senior Director of Product Marketing for TelcoBridges

As I pack my bags and head home from Orlando and put another Enterprise Connect event behind me, I wondered why (more than ever) has one communications platform gained so much mindshare as Microsoft Teams did this week?

Only a few years ago I remember calling the Microsoft Lync marketing team, begging them to come to Enterprise Connect and share what they were doing with the enterprise buyers in Orlando.  At the time, AudioCodes, Plantronics, Polycom and a host of other were launching devices that were core to deploying Microsoft’s new Lync platform and we needed someone to explain what that vision included.

Skip ahead to 2017 and after a few product renaming cycles and do-overs, Microsoft launched Teams, a persistent chat-based team collaborative platform that included voice, video and desktop sharing.  After leaving the event last year, I committed to getting my Marketing department on the platform, pulling our content into the shared channels file folders and declaring an end to email within the group.  Fortunately, Teams was part of our Office365 subscription, so there were no excuses for not giving it a try.  Three months later, we were mostly there and you could call us “Teams converts”.   The voice and video experience was better than Skype for Business, the file sharing and collaboration was native and fully integrated into Office.   Life couldn’t get any better…or could it?  As good as our experience was with Teams, it was missing PSTN integration, was not integrated with Skype for Business and did not support external users (outside our domain).  There was room for improvement.

No surprise when planning my visit to Enterprise Connect this year that Microsoft expanded their footprint on the show floor and saw they had submitted Teams for nomination as “Best of Show”.  The keynote presentation by Bob Davis, Corporate Vice President of Office365 at Microsoft was a “must see” for me.

Much missed features were addressed in the keynote, including PSTN calling, using either DID numbers provided by Microsoft or bring your own SIP trunks.  Conference recording is soon to arrive, allowing sessions to be recorded and captioned, allowing post-event review.   Language translation would allow people to communicate in their native language and allow others to see their chat messages in their own language.

For organizations that need hard-phone devices, Microsoft showed off two devices from Yealink and AudioCodes that put a Teams client on a desktop phone for shared spaces or executive desktops.  Meeting rooms are addressed with a host of new room systems from Logitech, Polycom, Lenovo and HP.

There was a time when Microsoft’s commitment to enterprise communications was “questionable”.  Those days are long gone and with the one year anniversary of Teams, it seems teams collaboration is now front and center for Microsoft.

Alan Percy studies the communications landscape and manages the product marketing function for TelcoBridges FreeSBC software solution.  Learn more about the industry’s first no-cost commercial session border controller at 

Notes from MWC 2018: 5G was Everywhere and Nowhere

By Alan Percy, Senior Director of Product Marketing

For four days every spring, Mobile World Congress is the center of the mobile industry universe. Under the guidance of the GSMA, the event is a chance for the industry to show off their new mobile and wireless consumer products, underlying technologies and most importantly, a vision of the future. Based on these goals, the 2018 event did not disappoint.

Much like last year, 5G wireless was a central theme for much of the messaging and presentations delivered by service and technology providers.   The promise of the fifth-generation wireless is to improve throughput, reduce latency and enable a greater number of internet-connected devices. This is warranted by the ever-increasing wireless needs of Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, autonomous vehicles, drones and consumer products. 5G will enable smaller, more dense cells that can handle greater device density, but will also require considerable investment in new equipment and siting agreements and labor.

Despite the challenges, it does seem that the industry is committed to the technology and 5G will soon be deployed in select high-value locations and for applications that can benefit from better performance. As my industry friend and pundit Dean Bubley regularly reminds me, there is a very narrow intersection of locations and applications that need this technology – plus a well-engineered WiFi network can often solve the same problem for a fraction of the cost.

So what does this mean for TelcoBridges? One goal of 5G is enabling smaller and more affordable consumer products that can support high band-width applications. Video, Virtual Reality, 3D holograms and other media types will be possible in consumer products, automotive and industrial applications. You think we have a lot of cameras and screens now? Just wait. All these applications will need infrastructure to provide network connectivity and security, giving access to the existing voice and video applications – the ideal application for Session Border Controllers.

Sometimes the vision doesn’t match the reality and MWC showed us first-hand the issues with large-venue environments where 100,000+ people and their mobile devices congregate. The Fira Barcelona was a communications black hole. Despite the best efforts of the local mobile operators, 4G/LTE connectivity was almost impossible for anything more than SMS communications. WiFi was a mess too, with hundreds of access points all overlapping each other while vying for the same shared spectrum. Even if the carriers could have deployed 5G in the nine massive exhibition halls (like they did for the Winter Olympics), very few attendees would have devices capable of using 5G. Hopefully the 5G network of the future will arrive soon and shed light on the communications black hole.

More good reading:  5G Promises Breakneck Internet Speeds.

FreeSBC – A New Approach to the SBC

Webinar Post-event Follow-up

Wow – what a response! Thanks so much for participating in the event and our apologies for those that arrived to find the webinar platform at capacity. Your response far exceeded our expectations.

The webinar recording is now available for playback:

Click here to play the Webinar.

You can also view the slides on Slideshare.

You asked so many great questions – we’ve captured all your questions and posted them with answers on the FreeSBC FAQ Forum – take a look!

In addition, many of the common questions about compatibility and installation procedures can be found on the TelcoBridges FreeSBC Wiki.

Moving to the Cloud – What’s the Issue?

By Alan Percy, Senior Director of Product Marketing

Migrating communications applications to the cloud is much more than a technical challenge for service providers and enterprises. The challenge of the cloud is fundamentally based on a significant shift in business model.

In the past, Gateways and SBCs have been sold as network appliances. Sold using a CAPEX model + maintenance business model that burdens the service provider with a significant up-front expenditure, irrespective of the anticipated customer traffic or usage. Meanwhile, cloud and web applications have long since adopted a completely different business model, basing the cost of software on the actual usage (aka “consumption pricing”). Usage-based pricing allows new services to be created and launched with little up-front costs, allowing for the development of a user/subscriber community while the underlying infrastructure grows to meet the demand. “Pay as you grow” is the norm with web applications. For communications applications to meet the needs of a new generation, the software and infrastructure needed to implement the new services will have to adopt a “pay as you grow” business model too.

While some of the legacy network equipment providers (NEPs) have made noise about offering subscription pricing for their software, few (if any) have truly taken the plunge to offering real consumption based pricing on public cloud offerings. So, what’s the issue?

Revenue Deferral – the nature of “pay as you grow” is a benefit to the service provider, but a real and significant hurdle for the NEP. Instead of getting paid the bulk of the cost at the beginning, service providers can postpone paying for network functions until they are used. This can significantly disrupt revenue streams for the NEPs and their sales teams that depend on large up-front payments to meet quota and revenue targets. It’s just easier to keep selling the old way.

How do we disrupt the status-quo?

This is the motivation behind the bold move made by TelcoBridges this last fall to offer their session border controller software to the market at no cost.   Offered under the brand FreeSBC, the company sees their session border controller as a means to accelerate new applications and ideas. The FreeSBC session border controller is a cloud-ready software package that can provide essential security, interoperability and traffic management features. All the basics are there. By offering optional paid support and enhanced features, TelcoBridges can monetize large-scale and commercial deployments. TelcoBridges also extends the capabilities with TB Analytics traffic analysis and diagnostic tools that are needed as the subscriber usage grows. With this strategy, FreeSBC meets the needs of the “pay as you grow” business model that is coveted by emerging applications.

Interested in learning more? We hosted a live question-and-answer style webinar with Marc St-Onge, Sales Director with TelcoBridges on February 20th, digging into the “whys and what’s” behind FreeSBC.   You can view a recording of the event here:

Register Today!

With well over 2,000,000 FreeSBC session licenses issued in the last few months, TelcoBridges must be on to something.


Now Available: More Choice for TelcoBridges Academy Training

For 2017 TelcoBridges’ free training for its Tmedia and Tsbc products is now available through a new eLearning platform that blends self-paced learning with a live instructor-led virtual classroom.

The eLearning platform provides users with more course choices as well as timing options so that users can fit training into their busy schedules.

Register for a course in 4 easy steps:

1. Go to
2. Signup for your account
3. Login once your account is activated by a TelcoBridges instructor
4. Start your course and follow the instructions to register to an instructor-led session

For more info watch the TelcoBridges eLearning Tutorial video here.

Don’t miss our next “Tmedia Gateway – Essentials and Configuration” course series, the first session starts on March 16th 2017. Signup and register for it here.

TelcoBridges Q&A: What are the advantages of TelcoBridges’ unique programmable routing script?

A compelling facet of our Tctrl software is its unique programmable routing script, part of what is considered one of the best call routing engines in the industry. Tctrl currently powers our Tmedia Gateways and our TSBC5000 Session Border Controller. We asked Sylvain, one of our engineers, to explain.

Continue reading TelcoBridges Q&A: What are the advantages of TelcoBridges’ unique programmable routing script?