It wasn’t that long ago that the entrepreneurs and small-to-midsized business (SMB) owners without desk phones connected to generic telephone lines in their offices would be viewed as almost heretical. Maybe a plucky sole proprietor could get by with a “free” Google Voice phone number, a Bluetooth headset, and an iPhone/MacBook combo. However, the prevailing wisdom has long been that when your company reaches a certain size with a certain number of employees, you must invest in a business phone system with desk phones for everyone in the office.
Then 2020 happened.
Microsoft Teams Phone empowers hybrid worker productivity
Now we have hybrid workforces where technology like Microsoft Teams empowers people who used to work in an office building to work from anywhere. But those workers need reliable and mobile calling solutions. In the new normal, workers using Microsoft Teams are discovering they can collaborate across multiple devices such as their PCs and mobile phones—often using several different devices throughout the day. One of the most important Teams collaboration features for SMBs is the Teams Phone capability. While you could always make one-on-one or group voice (or video) calls to employees in your organization using Teams, these voice calls were unable to connect to outside phone lines on the publicly switched telephone network (PSTN).
Teams Phone is an add-on for Microsoft Teams empowering any employee to make and receive phone calls across the PSTN using the microphone and speakers on their PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet. Amaxra consultants are all 100% remote and use the Microsoft Teams Phone feature. We’ve written about the numerous advantages businesses gain by replacing legacy phone systems in a previous blog post.
If your business is on the fence about whether or not to go the Teams Phone route, Amaxra consultants have seen some of the new add Teams Phone features that will empower your employees to collaborate more seamlessly in a hybrid setting.
Transfer ongoing voice calls between devices using Teams Phone
Users of the Teams Phone add-on could always transfer a phone call to another Teams Phone number. However, this new transfer call feature gives Teams Phone users the ability to transfer an ongoing call between their own devices. Imagine you’ve taken a Teams Phone call on your desktop computer, but you need to leave your desk and drive to another appointment. With this new call transfer feature, you can now open the Teams app on your iPhone and transfer the desktop call to your smartphone without interruption.
Teams Phone now supports Apple CarPlay
Speaking of the iPhone, one of the new features in Teams Phone allows users to connect their phones to a compatible car interface for attending Teams meetings and making calls on the go. Longtime users of Teams on the iPhone will appreciate this feature the most, as it greatly simplifies the experience of joining a meeting from the calendar or calling a contact from the car hands-free using Siri.
Can the spam calls to your Teams Phone
Initially announced in December 2020, the Teams Phone spam call identification feature alerts a user when a call is received from a suspicious number. These phone calls are checked against a large database of known spammers. Users will see a “Spam Likely” warning along with the phone number in the Teams app on both desktop and mobile devices. However, the app will not block potential spam calls outright and users still have the option to answer or reject calls.
Teams Phone adding call transcription and push-to-talk for desk phones, too
While not generally available at the time of this blog post’s publication, Microsoft announced that Teams Phone will soon have the ability to record calls and generate automated transcriptions (if both parties consent). This exciting feature leverages the same cloud-powered artificial intelligence used to generate the surprisingly accurate automated video transcriptions stored and shared in Microsoft 365 Enterprise plans.
Another interesting feature created for hybrid workplaces is the push-to-talk or “walkie-talkie” experience on desk phones. The Microsoft Teams app for Android phones already enabled this feature in 2020 with an iOS version a year later, and is mostly targeted for frontline workers using Microsoft Teams. However, this new feature will add the ability for users of Teams-compatible desk phones to push a single button and quickly initiate a voice chat with anyone else in the company.
Amaxra helps your business get the most out of Teams Phone
Whether you’re exploring Teams Phones or are ready to go all in, connect with Amaxra to learn how to get the most out of these new features. Our consultants have experience deploying Microsoft Teams to both hybrid environments and fully remote workforces. We deliver the training, cyber-security expertise, and as a Microsoft Gold Partner we have the cloud-powered software solutions to fit your business.
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