ChannelVision Magazine

I am going to preface the follow- ing with the comment that this transi- tion is a highly dynamic topic with lots of moving parts, so time will tell how this all plays out. What’s exciting? The latest move is a step in the di- rection of providing what Microsoft is calling “Intelligent Communications,” leaving the term “Unified Communica- tions” sounding like a dim-witted sec- ond cousin (twice removed). Teams’ cloud-based infrastructure promises to make it easy to join meetings from a browser, without a plug-in, and tap into Microsoft Cognitive Services, which includes transcription, transla- tion, speech recognition and machine learning capabilities. Looks like arti- ficial intelligence will have a seat at your meeting table! What’s troubling? For those third-party audio con- ferencing providers (ACPs) that so seamlessly added the ability to dial into a Skype for Business meeting with a regular phone number by inte- grating with Lync originally, followed by Skype for Business, Microsoft has moved your cheese. The company announced that PSTN conferencing within Teams will only be offered by the Office 365 Audio Conferencing service. ACP services within Skype for Business is expected to continue. What’s unknown? As a hosted Skype for Business provider myself, one of my primary concerns is how this impacts the growing number of third-party com- panies offering Skype for Business with Enterprise Voice. Microsoft is planning to continue support of Skype for Business server, with an upcom- ing upgrade release. This will allow companies, such as mine, to continue to offer private cloud communications deployments while still integrating with Skype for Business and Office 365. As for the extended future of this support, time will tell. For now, companies, and the channel partners supporting them, would be well served to review the roadmap to identify when the func- tions that support their communica- tion needs will be included in the Teams service. For Office 365 users, and there are more than 100 million at the moment, this is a perfect op- portunity to utilize Skype for Business as usual, while getting familiar with Teams. This conservative strategy will ensure your being ready to move when the time is right for you, on your terms, giving you the chance to move your own cheese. o Greg Plum is the vice president of channel, U.S. for OBT Anywhere, a cloud pioneer that opened its doors in 1999. He can be reached at greg. Core Communications Fleet & Equipment Tracking System Track and monitor your fleets with confidence and accuracy. Enjoy visibility and transparency between you and your drivers. Track and manage your high-value assets and equipment. 877.396.2546 • VOICE DATA MOBILE HOSTED TRACKING Dynalink aims today for the technology of tomorrow, so that your business is always prepared for new frontiers. 43 January - February, 2018 | Channel Vision