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Microsoft Earns Top Honors at Enterprise Connect 2018

Enterprise Connect 2018 is wrapping up and over the past year there has been an abundance of new exciting products and services released into the world of Unified Communications. However, there can only be one winner and Microsoft has earned top honors this year for its reinvigorated intelligent communications solution called Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based collaboration tool that brings together different Office applications into one central hub for optimal teamwork.
Teams has been available to the public for just over a year now and its increase in features has made leaps and bounds over the past 12 months. According to GM Lori Wright, there are now upwards of 200,000 organizations using Teams, and nearly 70% of Skype for Business users have begun to use Teams. If you think this was a cakewalk for Microsoft, think again. As many as 40 companies entered their products into the Best of Enterprise Connect Award Program. The judges then narrowed this down to the final 6 contestants. Microsoft was up against some big players such as, Cisco, Oracle, Plantronics, Polycom, and TTEC whom all brought very exciting products and services. In the end, Microsoft was claimed victorious and stood out among the other contestants due to their clever endpoint deployment strategy and potential enterprise reach that Teams brought to the table.
Some of the latest enhancements for Teams revolves around new features & functionality, calling, and device support. This includes:
Features & Functionality 

  • One-click meeting recording, with automatic transcription and timecoding for ease of search (facial recognition matching speaker to remarks to follow)
  • In-line message translation for approximately 80 languages
  • Voice commands for Teams-connected devices, using Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana
  • Click to background blur on video calls
  • Proximity detection that lets users find and add Skype Room Systems to meetings
  • Content sharing from mobile devices during meetings
  • The cloud meeting recordings capability will be available this summer, with the other features and functionalities later this year.

Enterprise Calling

  • Direct Calling – Allows enterprises to connect SIP trunks into Teams, turning it into a full-fledged voice service
  • Calling Capabilities – Consultative transfer, call delegation, and federation will be available in Q2

Device Support

  • Meeting Room Device support (Surface Hub)
  • Desk Phone support  (AudioCodes and Yealink)
  • Conference Room Phone support (Crestron, Polycom, Yealink)
  • Mobile Phone Station support (Plantronics)
  • Interoperability between Teams and existing BlueJeans Network, Pexip, and Polycom hardware solutions

Final thoughts: As a technical consultant that has had the opportunity to use Teams, I can rightfully say that Microsoft has made some considerable improvement to this collaboration solution over the past year. Teams is continuing to gain traction among many of our customers both big and small and the easier Microsoft makes it for customers to transition over, the more customers we will see choosing Teams over your traditional UC solution.

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Brian Siefferman

Brian is a Technical Consultant for Perficient’s Unified Communications practice focusing primarily on Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams workloads. He has been in this role since December 2017 and has an active presence blogging about all things Teams related. Currently, Brian resides in the suburbs of Chicago and enjoys running, swimming, weight lifting, and playing soccer in his free time.

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