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Microsoft Teams is nothing new and Skype for Business or is it Skype? Understanding the message

At first glance you may be thinking that this post is going to be a scathing review of Microsoft technology. Well sadly for you, its not. The title is simply to grab your attention and at least make you read up to about here…. right?!?

In all seriousness, this is a contentious topic of which I am going to place my ten pence worth down on now. A lot has happened this Autumn (or fall for my American cousins). We have seen the introduction of Microsoft Teams and the announcements around Skype meetings, Skype Meeting Broadcasts and new Skype clients for the Apple family.

Those eagle eyed followers will notice that the last sentence lacked the words “for Business”. That’s not because I am lazy. In fact, I am disappointed because it means that most of my blog posts are going to be about 200 words less from now on! No, the reason is that Microsoft have been dropping the “for business” when delivering marketing messages around the Skype for Business (one last time). This has left a lot of us and our customers confused on what Microsoft are trying to convey with this.

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Skype for Business – Is CloudPBX Enterprise Voice?

With Microsoft’s latest announcement that they are bringing PSTN voice calling to the Office 365 public cloud offering and released tech preview trials in the USA recently has left the industry in a flurry of excitement, rumour and ponder. Partners are hurriedly preparing presentations, marketing material and sales pitches. Customers are beginning to plant the seed for a migration with their finance director and jostling for budget priority. Should we all be in a rush to jump to the cloud? There are a few things that might make you consider your next move. For those of you who read my blog, you may have read this article where I touched on this subject: http://skype4b.uk/2015/04/09/hybrid-or-no-hybrid-skype-for-business/.

Firstly, can we absolutely, without question call CloudPBX Enterprise Voice? Let’s evaluate.

Earlier this week Microsoft announced at WPC 2015 that they would be releasing a new Office 365 subscription plan – E5. This will replace the E4 plan. Details on what this offers you have yet to be published. However I would expect something like:

E3 Plan

  • PSTN Dial-in Conferencing
  • Skype Broadcast Meetings

E5 Plan

  • CloudPBX with PSTN Calling
  • CloudPBX with Local PSTN Calling (Possibly an optional extra)

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Connecting Sonus SBC 1000 to Exchange Online UM

In my latest venture, I have been tasked with connecting a customer’s Cisco CUCM deployment with Exchange Online UM provided by Office 365. In order to achieve this, and because Office 365 does not support direct SIP trunks between itself and CUCM, we had to deploy a Session Border Controller (SBC) in the middle.

The model chosen was a Sonus SBC 1000 3-DSP SIP:SIP licensable SBC for its ease of configuration and support with Microsoft technologies.

Now, Sonus have provided a relatively high level document on configuring this process, and although the document was designed using software version 2.2, it is still relevant in the latest 4.2.1 release.

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