Ever since Microsoft purchased Metaswitch, we’ve all been wondering whether we’d see closer integration between Microsoft Teams and the Metaswitch Hosted PBX / UCaaS functionality.
One the one hand this seemed like an obvious plan, but we also know that Metaswitch was acquired by the Azure division within Microsoft, so this would require some cross-division coordination to make it happen.
Last week, Metaswitch announced MaX UC Connector for Teams, which is a first step towards this closer integration.
Before we look at this new feature, here’s a quick recap of the situation before the launch.
- Microsoft Teams natively provided voice and video collaboration within a business. However the standard offering (included in the Office 365 E1 and E3 subscriptions) did not offer PSTN connectivity.
- To make and receive external calls, businesses either had to purchase the Microsoft Phone System license – whereby Microsoft provided PSTN connectivity – or else select Direct Routing and work with a certified voice carrier who had completed certification with Microsoft.
- Back in March (before the acquisition) Metaswitch announced that the Perimeta SBC had been certified for Direct Routing. This function allowed Metaswitch carriers to treat Teams as a PBX and build a SIP trunk to the Teams application.
So what does MaX UC Connector for Teams (MCT) offer?
- Microsoft Teams users can add the MaX UC app to their Teams deployment, which adds buttons and Command Bar functions to the Teams interface. These buttons allow users to (a) share and launch a MaX Meeting, or (b) call a particular contact from MaX UC.
- As it stands, the integration is pretty simple, but it offers a plausible way to integrate Teams into your existing Metaswitch UCaaS deployment – so businesses can use Teams internally and MaX UC / Metaswitch UCaaS for voice.
If you watch the video, you’ll see that this app is really pretty small in scope. It just adds some buttons to Teams with some basic functionality. Microsoft Teams has a marketplace for third-party apps, and very likely this add-on could have been created even if Metaswitch were not part of Microsoft.
But for me, the more important message is that Metaswitch cares about Teams integration, and they have said they expect this to be the first of many Teams integration features.
If you’re a carrier selling MaX UC to your business customers you now have a story to tell your prospects – both about integration today, but also about the future direction of the product roadmap.
The big unanswered question is whether this remains simply a priority for the Metaswitch team – in which case we’ll see more small integrations – or whether the Metaswitch and Microsoft Teams development groups will collaborate closely to build a fully unified voice and collaboration product.