In recent months we have seen a huge adoption increase in Microsoft Teams. Businesses and organisations of all sizes are making the move into unified communications to enable remote working and collaboration regardless of where staff are and what device they use.
We have also observed a significant uptake in Teams for telephony and calling for those customers who want to integrate a telephone system with the same application they use for chat and video meetings, while making management simple for end users and administrators.
This new telephony method has presented a wonderful opportunity for manufacturers to think about new ways for calling and the devices used for communication. We’ve seen conferencing solutions already going this way with collaboration bars and interactive displays that enable attendees to easily join meetings and interact with their viewers.
When it comes to desk phones, new devices have slowly made their entrance into the market. Poly (new name for Polycom) has introduced their CCX range without any physical keys and some without handsets, resulting in a very futuristic looking phone.
The phones without a handset are known as a Microsoft Teams display and other manufacturers are releasing their own versions as well, featuring ambient touch screen, high quality calling and video with a hands-free experience powered by Cortana. Such devices like the Lenovo ThinkSmart View and Yealink (model name to be decided) will be making its appearance in the US later this year.
Left: Lenovo ThinkSmart View, Right: Yealink Display Screen
It looks like vendors are looking towards the future. However we’ve also been notified by Microsoft that support for Skype for Business (3PIP) phones will have extended support, taking it past the originally stated end of life date of July 2023, so you can continue to use your existing Skype for Business phone as you move to Teams. Additionally, Microsoft will be supporting core calling features on SIP phones from Cisco, Yealink, Poly and others with Teams, with dates set for the first half of 2021.
And finally, we are expecting to see a new range of native Teams phones being launched very soon at a more affordable cost. These phones are designed for common areas and basic light usage for the modern worker, with options available from AudioCodes, Poly and Yealink starting early 2021.
The portfolio is also expanding to bring back the USB phone. Something very similar to the Polycom CX range in the days of Skype for Business, they are designed to work alongside the software with features that include dial pads and a modern Teams user interface for heavy call users. These USB phones work out the box and will bring a high-quality Teams audio experience. We are expecting these will be available in late 2020 with Yealink being the first to launch.
Left: AudioCodes C435HD (Microsoft Teams phone), Right: Yealink MP50 (USB phone)