Telecom4Teams, allows companies to communicate better by unifying all the features of Microsoft Teams, and other Office 365 Apps, with their Business Phone system.
Curious about how it works? Hear some Q &As from Sean Dowling, Director of Telecoms, Radius Technologies
Microsoft Teams is a corporate communications tool that enterprises and corporations use for internal messaging, conferencing, desktop sharing and voice calls, usually within the organisation. These features were previously included in Skype for Business. With the Telecom4Teams integration, calls to your business will seamlessly arrive at whatever Teams or Cloud device the user is currently logged into.
Which problems does it address or solve?
So typically our customer base being largely made-up of SMEs, Telecoms4Teams gives them the ability to mix and match infrastructure based on the profile or requirement of the user. So if I’m user A, a receptionist, I need a physical phone on my desk, but I’m user B an engineer in the field, I can have a soft application on my smartphone. So in the first instance, it allows you to pick the device or application based on what the user requires. Whereas in the past, the options would have been physically phones on desks. In addition to that, if you’re a multi-site organisation, it facilitates the conference piece so you can conference from site-to-site, whereas previously, companies would have brought everybody to a single site or conference room and had your meeting, you can now in real-time conference from site to site. That promotes really good collaboration. Furthermore, I think we didn’t realise until we started using T4 Teams what kind of collaboration benefits you got from just the sharing information that wasn’t being shared before in a face to face manner. Our sales team is now exchanging information in areas like customer objections, technical challenges and workarounds and much more. This level of collaboration benefits both Radius and our clients.
How quickly can it be done?
It’s relatively quick. Without being too technical, there are some adjustments in terms of coding in your domain controller. It’s a bit of script that needs to be run so it’s pretty seamless. Once it’s configured there’s no interruption to the business.
What hardware or software does a business need to have to qualify for Telecoms4Teams integration?
So on the integration side, you either need to have, or be willing to change to, a Cloud-based PBX from Radius Telecoms Solutions. That’s your only requirement hardware-wise. In terms of software, Microsoft Teams App comes as standard with the majority of Office 365 Business and Enterprise plans (see link to compare plans). So it’s really easy for a business to qualify.
What kind of investment would you recommend to get up and running with teleconferencing?
Your entry point can be as low as €300 Euro in terms of a conference room or a huddle space and that could run right up to thousands depending on your environment and the potential capacity required in terms of the number of people involved. It can be installed on a smart TV using a video conference solution like the Logitech MEETUP. If you’ve got a lot of remote users dialing into that conference room then you may need a bigger TV or even a second one. It boils down to how many people are going to dial into the conference when at your busiest. But we will assess requirements based on how many people need to physically attend and how many people will remote into any session so there’s no one cap fits all approach. It needs to be scoped beforehand.
How good is the quality of the video images?
In general, the clarity of the video seems to be better than other teleconferencing solutions we have seen like Zoom or Skype. With Teams, it’s largely impacted by the type of hardware that you have and how your LAN is structured. If you want to use certain elements of the Teams integration like the screen sharing piece, you will require something with a hard interface to plugin and as a best practice requirement, MS Teams firmware should be native within that device. We would recommend that people resource themselves with the right equipment which allows them to utilise the majority of the Teams functionality. Again we can scope for this.
What way are people going to use the Telecoms4Teams Integration?
Everybody can use the product, but the way they are going to use it depends on their role within the business. So everybody will have a different profile based on their role. So my requirements if I’m in accounts versus my requirements if I’m a director are going to be completely different. It could be very simple as just a physical phone on the desk that’s integrated with the global 365 address book but works and makes/ takes calls much like a traditional phone. On the other hand, I’ve got a desktop and I use it in conjunction with a headset and there is no physical phone. That profile lends itself very well to remote workers so if I have a requirement to work from home location, we would advise that you go with our softphone option. That’s important because the employment market is buoyant and it’s no longer an employer’s market so employers are looking at non-traditional ways to attract new employees to the business.
What would be the biggest changes a business owner would see from a move from On-Premise to Cloud Telephony?
I think the major change they will see is increased accessibility. So in the case of a traditional telephone system, that system is accessible from where it’s based as opposed to any service that you move into the cloud, it’s infinitely more accessible from most locations with a suitable broadband connection. I suppose a level up from that, you can affect the way the phone system behaves without being physically plugged into the phone system and I’ll give an example of that. So typically when there’s an ad hoc closure to the business like a red weather warning for a storm or snow, then the management would either have to get to their premises or call out the phone provider to come to the location and put an out of hours message on the phone. With Cloud that can be done easily via the admin panel and by remote connection taking away the need for a physical call-out. Alternatively, you can decide not to close but to facilitate your employees to work from home during these types of general closures. The Radius cloud-based phone system is completely accessible from remote locations via smartphone integration applications and or softphones on employee laptops, meaning client contact can continue both inbound and outbound while your office isn’t staffed.
What about the cost difference of On-premise versus Cloud?
I suppose you’ve got to weigh up cost in terms of bottom-line cost against bigger picture costs and efficiencies. So the cloud model is a per user per month model while the traditional PBX is per line per month plus an upfront investment in hardware. And those lines are shared amongst all the users on an on-demand basis. Whereas the cloud has unlimited lines and resources.
We do an analysis for each customer. We look at the current cost and we compare that to what that cost would be in our cloud. The big bonus is the per user per month cost includes both remote support and onsite on-site support whereas traditionally that’s priced separately. So I think when you weigh it up you’re going to be in a lot of cases cost neutral but you are getting a modern phone system that’s flexible, accessible from anywhere, and future-proofed.
What do you mean when you say futureproofed?
You can run the phone system over multiple devices from multiple locations and when you integrate with Teams then you’ve got a real end-to-end and communication system for your business. In addition to this, there is no physical box on the wall (PBX/Phone system), that becomes obsolete overnight. That box is now an enterprise-level box that our clients get a piece of, and it’s now the responsibility of Radius to ensure that the box is updated in terms of security and functionality thus giving our clients a future-proofed solution.
In terms of reliability, would there be a difference between uptime with on-premise and cloud solutions?
I think it comes back to your IT infrastructure and certainly, in terms of back end failures in the cloud, these are almost non-existent as updates and maintenance are scheduled out of hours in the AM when there is no demand. 99.9% of failure in terms of services is a local failure of the switches/router or broadband. If you’ve got good policies in place in terms of IT infrastructure and service support then you have someone to rely on to fix it quickly. In essence with the right support structures in place and reliable IT infrastructure, your phone system availability should be as good if not better than the old traditional type system
What’s your best advice when going ahead with Telecoms4Teams?
You cannot underestimate the requirement of scoping from the outset. This is an integrated product that interacts with the client’s local area network so understanding the client’s LAN and its limitations ensures a smooth transition from traditional communications to this 21st-century solution. In addition, scoping the user profile requirements and ensuring that each user gets the telecom tools they need to do their job today and into the future. If the client gives us the time at the project planning stage then this solution will function at 100% from day one, sure there will be a requirement for ad hoc changes post-installation but this is why we include remote and onsite support in out per user per month costs.
Sound like the right choice for your business? Get in touch with us today to chat about Telecoms4Teams for your business.