Notes from EC18: Why is Everybody Talking About Teams?

by 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.

Enterprise Connect 2018 LogoSkip 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