Monday, August 7, 2017

Cloud PBX Rebranding to Microsoft Phone System & Early Ignite Observations

The upcoming Session Catalog for Microsoft Ignite has given quite a bit of insight into some upcoming changes or direction for the Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams communities well ahead of the conference itself. While I comb through the list of available sessions to start putting my own Ignite agenda together, there a few things that stood out to me that I thought were worth calling out.

Cloud PBX & PSTN Calling get Name Refreshes

It seems not too long ago that Cloud PBX and PSTN Calling were introduced. As a matter of fact, with less than 10 countries currently available for PSTN Calling today, it seems crazy that a re-name of these services would possibly be in the works. However, a session titled, "Is Voice in the cloud right for you?" (Session BRK2038) suggests that this is indeed the case.

Based on the details of this session, we see that Microsoft apparently intends to rebrand Cloud PBX to "Microsoft's Phone System", and PSTN Calling will get remodeled with "Calling Plan". I know, I was thinking the same thing: Couldn't the Marketing team have thought of anything a bit less...obvious...and a bit more...catchy? ;-) At any rate, like it or hate it, that is what shows up for this session as of the date of this blog post, so don't get too much more attached to "Cloud PBX" or "PSTN Calling". I know it will definitely take some work for me to adjust...

A New Portal: The Networking Portal

Based on session "Network Planning for Real Time Communications with the Networking Portal (Session BRK2031), it would appear that a new portal is in the works. The Networking Portal appears to be built around RTC traffic for both Skype for Business and Teams. Check out the below excerpt from the session description:

"In this session we introduce our newly created Networking Portal - an essential piece of Planning and Operating any Real Time Communications environment, whether running Teams, Skype for Business or both. It will help organize your networking data centrally, such as subnets per location, users per location, etc. It allows import and export of Call Quality Dashboard Sites data and Call Analytics, making it easier to maintain that information. It is also the central point for your Bandwidth Calculations for both Teams and Skype for Business."

This looks like a very intriguing new tool to learn about, and I am really hoping that it will fit nicely into my Ignite schedule.

Teams & Skype for Business Getting Pretty Cozy

When you go to the Session Catalog on the Microsoft Ignite site, you can enter search terms to narrow down the hundreds of available sessions. As of right now, searching for "Teams" narrows down the list to 51 session. Some of these sessions are very strictly built around getting to know Teams better. Some are listed because they are more general Office 365 sessions that include Teams in the description. The resounding theme I am seeing, though, is that MANY of these sessions focus in on both Teams AND Skype for Business, grouping them together in many ways that really make you wonder what the story of these two products will look like after Ignite.

The below sessions all just a small sample of the sessions that I observed this with, and if you visit their links, you might start to observe the same behavior. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts after checking them out as well:

So, those are some of my initial thoughts and observations about what is in store for us at Ignite in regards to Skype for Business and Teams. What are some of your observations?!