It has been almost 6 months since Microsoft first announced Operator Connect at Ignite, and a little over 2 months since it entered public preview. In the intervening time, Microsoft Teams passed the milestone of 250 million monthly active users and 80 million phone system users. Since releasing it into public preview, we have seen unprecedented interest in the service, reinforcing the seemingly relentless pace at which businesses are embracing Teams as an enterprise collaboration and communications tool. Let’s take a quick look at some of the noteworthy developments that have happened to Operator Connect over that time, starting with a reminder of what Operator Connect is.
What is Operator Connect?
Operator Connect is one of the three options currently available for adding external calling to Microsoft Teams, so that you can use it as your telephone system. The other two are Microsoft Calling Plans and Direct Routing. What makes Operator Connect a little different from the other options, is that you can add your voice services from directly within the 365 admin center, using Microsoft approved third party providers, like Pure IP.
These providers all use the Microsoft Azure Peering Service, commonly referred to as MAPS, which means they all have direct links through trusted cross-connects from their own network to each Azure data center. That helps to ensure a high quality of service and reliability as voice traffic travels directly between Microsoft’s network and the provider’s network.
New features: Auto-Attendants and Call Queues
Since Operator Connect is still in preview, it is continually being updated and developed with new features and functionality. It’s clear that Microsoft are keen for Operator Connect to gain closer feature parity with Direct Routing ahead of its general release date, and most of the common call, policy, and user features are now comparable between the two. Even the most notable gap; the lack of support for Auto-Attendants and Call Queues, has been addressed and rolled out in North America, Europe, and some parts of Asia. That means Operator Connect users can now direct callers to the correct person or team using menus, and place them into queues to wait for the next available representative.
Operator Connect is ready to provide voice services
Even though it hasn’t officially been released yet, it already includes everything that you need for standard telephony, and we have been actively selling and using it to provide voice services to customers since it entered public preview.
Organizations of every size and makeup are finding that the way it balances the convenience of the 365 Admin Center with the flexibility of choosing their own carrier is ideal for their telephony needs. Businesses as different as tech companies with under 500 users, large consultancies spread over 17 offices worldwide, and manufacturers with thousands of users and hundreds of locations have all opted for Operator Connect with Pure IP. There are also businesses that are making the initial jump to Teams Voice using Direct Routing while they wait for Operator Connect to go to general release; a move they can make with Pure IP at no extra cost.
Demystifying Operator Connect
To learn more about Operator Connect, fill in your email below to subscribe to our blog! Over the coming weeks, we will be demystifying and answering all the most common questions about Operator Connect, when to use it, and how to get started.
Alessandra joined Pure IP as the Content and Communications Manager in early 2020, after 5 years within the cinema technology sector.