….is a cloud-based phone system built and priced specifically for small and medium businesses which was announced at Ignite earlier this month and is available now.
Microsoft Business Voice enables users to make, receive, and transfer calls to and from landlines and mobile phones on the public switched telephone network (PSTN) directly into Microsoft Teams and/or on Teams certified desk phones, meeting room technology of course corporate or user owned smartphones (which can be protected and data governed by Microsoft Intune and Conditional Access naturally).
Microsoft Cloud Voice extends the functionality of Microsoft Teams bringing together all your calling, chat, and meetings in a single app across any platform, browser or mobile device removing the need for separate/third party web and audio conferencing services and IP Phone/PBX.
This is the same service (complete with SLAs) that Microsoft has provided with Teams (and Skype for Business Online before that) in Office 365 Enterprise, but much more attractively priced for organisations up to three hundred users. (these plans can also be mixed between plans).
This new plan/add-on provides:-
Unified calling & voicemail with chat and meetings in Microsoft Teams
1,200 minutes per use and ability to migrate existing numbers
Global dial-in conferencing capabilities for up to 250 participants
Extend voice services into meeting rooms with Teams Room Systems
Full IVR and auto-attendant services
Support Teams desk phones or break free with soft-client and mobile
What does it cost? Licensing for Microsoft 365 Business Voice Is limited to a maximum of 300 users and Is add-on service and Is available for any customers who have Office 365 Business, Office 365 Business Premium, Office 365 E3, A3 and Microsoft 365 Business, and Microsoft F1, E1, A3, & E3.
The Business Voice add-on license is available for just £12 per user per month via web-direct or via your CSP Partner
This is excellent value When you think this removes the need to use addition phone system (and charges) or 3rd party web / audio conferencing services like Zoom or WebEx (which is ~£25 pupm alone) – you get a hell of lot of bang for your buck (or pound).
Existing organisations already using Microsoft Cloud Voice, can leverage this discounted bundle for up to three hundred users also, so you could save some good money!
The myth that Microsoft isn’t a security vendor continues… led mainly by the traditional security appliance vendors and organisations that are still predominately on premise and therefore defend their data centre and office perimeters with traditional security blockers.. (sorry that was a bit of a generalist statement and not meant to offend)!
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. With more than a billion dollar investment in security each year (excluding acquisitions), Microsoft has been recognised as a leader in multiple security-related Gartner Magic Quadrants, the Forrester Wave for Endpoint Security, and by I dependant AV testing firms such as AV TEST, AV Comparatives, and SE Labs in 2019 alone.
Security is built in across everything Microsoft designs, deploys and makes available and I’m proud to work and lead a certified and accredited partner is this space with Gold in Enterprise Mobility and Security competencies.
Take the time to read the reports and I’d love to hear your experiences thoughts and views on where you think Microsoft has its biggest gaps in this space.
Finally, theres some new announcements this week at Ignite to be sure to check these out.. The latest today is the announcment of #safedocuments which adds ATP type protection to Office desktop apps. Rolling over the next couple of month, when a user wants to consider a document “trusted”, Safe Documents will automatically check the file against the ATP threat cloud before it releases the document.
Today saw Day 1 of Microsoft’s Annual Ignite conference in Orlando.
As expected there was a lot of hot (mainly Teams and Azure) news announced first thing and after reading many of the blogs, tweets and linked in posts, I’ve tried to summarise and include all the main (and my favourite) highlights (so far) in this one post.
This will likely be out of date before I finishing writing it, as there will be other “smaller” announcements through the day and into the rest of the week. We have also seen some other key big announcements from Microsoft partners and even their “competition” all Microsoft focused of course.
1. Microsoft Teams: Wealth of new features and integrations from Cisco and Zoom.
As expected, Microsoft Teams got some big announcements today, with the much anticipated roll out (this week) of secure private channels. Also announced was early 2020 roll out of pinned channels, multi-window chats and meetings. Microsoft also announced new integrations with To Do, Microsoft Planner, Project, Outlook, Yammer and the newly updated Power Platform.
2. Breaking down the vendor wars with improved meeting room and interop between Cisco and Zoom
Microsoft and Cisco have announced a partnership to work together to simplify the interop between Microsoft Teams Rooms and Phone System with Cisco Webex Room devices and IP voice gateways respectively and includes three new initiatives to help customers to get more out of their current investments.
Cloud Video Interop (CVI): Cisco Webex will introduce an interop solution that will be certified as a Microsoft Cloud Video Interop (CVI) solution and will allow Cisco Webex Room devices and SIP video conferencing devices to join Microsoft Teams meetings with a reliable interop experience. Coming early FY20.
Direct guest join, for meeting room devices: Cisco and Microsoft are also working together on a new approach that enables meeting room devices to connect to meeting services from other vendors via embedded web technologies. They announced a new “direct guest join” capability from their respective video conferencing device to the web app for the video meeting service.
Direct Routing for Phone System: At the heart of Microsoft Teams Direct Routing are Session Border Controllers (SBC). Since many customers also use Cisco Networking technology including SBCs and want both companies to provide joint solutions that do not require replacement of key infrastructure. Support for Cisco as a certified SBC is due in CY2020.
Zoom and Microsoft also announced that they have worked together to enhance conference room interoperability and simplify how users connect to third-party meetings.
This Zoom and Microsoft collaboration provides interoperability between the Zoom conference room solutions to provide streamlined meeting experiences. This will mean Zoom Rooms will be able to join Microsoft Teams meetings and Microsoft Teams Rooms will be able to join Zoom meetings, all without the purchase of additional licenses or third-party services. This is coming early CY2020.
3. Microsoft Flow is renamed to “Power Automate”
So this might take some time to grow on me, but Microsoft Flow, is being renamed to Power Automate. The name change was announced to allow the platform to “better align” with the wider Power Platform. Microsoft Flow (Sorry Automate) is also getting new a bunch of new features including Robotic process automation (RPA) for automating complex processes that span legacy and modern applications.
4. New: Microsoft Endpoint Manager
Microsoft Endpoint Manager is an integrated solution that promised to centrally and securely manage all of the endpoints across an organisation. This the next major milestone for Intune and will bring together Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager functionality while also adding a new intelligent actions and analytics.
Endpoint Manager will deliver a unified, seamless, end-to-end management for Windows, Android and Apple devices, apps, and policies without the complexity of a migration or disruption to productivity.
Expected in Q1 of 2020, Microsoft have also said they will be making Intune available to all existing SCCM customers for Windows PC management, meaning that Starting on 1st December 2019, customers can start to co-manage these devices in Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and start using cloud-powered features like Autopilot and Desktop Analytics.
5. New Chromium-based Edge: Jan 15 2020 Release
Actually one of my favourite #Geekouts right now – Microsoft has said that January 15, 2020 will be be for official release date of their new Chromium-based Edge browser for Windows and Mac. Microsoft announced that a “release candidate” build is available to download today in more than 90 languages which can be installed alongside the Canary, Dev, or Beta builds you may already be running or testing.
If you are a big Google Chrome fan, I urge you to try this out – its a really great browser and has loads of enterprise features built right in including native integration with your Office 365 environment.
I’ve been using this for a while (well a week or so) and today Microsoft is making this generally available for preview. The new Office Mobile app for iOS and Android combines Word, Excel, and PowerPoint functionality into a a simple single mobile app, similar to the old Office Hub on Windows Phone for those that remember it!. The new app has a really useful comes with an “Actions” pane, with easy access to common tasks, including scanning documents.
7. New: Project Cortex – a Microsoft 365 application that leverages AI to help better organise company data
Microsoft today, announced Project Cortex, the first new Microsoft 365 app since the announcement of Microsoft Teams that uses AI to analyse business data and in turn create a kind of neuro-knowledge network. The app will be able to organise data into different projects and customers, and make it easier for employees to find important info that can be buried in documents, conversations, or videos across their hybrid IT environment. This to me sounds a bit like Delve on steroids and one I need to read a bit more on (as I’m sure you will too), but it seems to be able to recognise data in documents and pull them together into actionable and useful information.