Microsoft Teams Voice

Microsoft Teams Voice

What is Microsoft Teams Voice?

Microsoft Teams, a tool to support in-office or remote messaging, meetings, video conferencing, screen sharing, and collaboration, was introduced Statewide in 2020 to support remote work needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams Voice extends the existing features to provide incoming and outgoing calling using existing State phone numbers. Adding this functionality in Teams will continue to drive the State’s strategic focus on supporting secure, functional, and practical remote work.


This project will include a complete replacement for the aging Cisco phone system at the State, and the Teams system touts the same features and functions, plus more. The transition will impact all Cisco phone lines currently in use, including personal lines, conference rooms, shared phones, and department/division main lines.

What are the key benefits? 

  • Staff has access to their business phone number and any other State phone numbers they monitor by logging into their Microsoft Office 365 account on any secured device, from anywhere. 
  • Microsoft is aggressively improving this secure, cloud-based solution. New features are rolled out seamlessly with no hardware upgrades, keeping the State on the cutting edge at no additional cost. 
  • The solution drives the State’s scalable remote work strategy and provides a platform to support functional, secure, and effective remote work.

Example Day in the Life:

What is the timeline? 

March 2022 is the targeted time frame for all ~13,000 Cisco phone lines to be migrated to Teams Voice. The project team is in the early phases of discovery and scheduling. Updates to follow.  

                      

The Implementation Process 

The Office of Information Technology will work with Department Technology Officers and Administrative Services Directors to validate all Cisco phone numbers for transition. The following are Teams Phone implementation activities departments will be involved in: 

  • Project Kickoff Meeting 
  • Formation of Department Project Teams  
  • Collection/Validation of Phone Configuration Data
  • Assessment of Site Infrastructure
  • Scheduling of Individual Sites for Transition
  • Awareness and Training – Comprehensive Awareness and Training to be Provided for all Impacted Staff
  • Day of Transition for Each Site
  • Retrospective Review of Each Transition
  • Transition to Operational Support by OIT
  • Project Close and Success Validation

Stay tuned for project updates!

Frequently Asked Questions

User experience is superior when using the desktop application or softphone. Softphone allows the user to access all applications, manage calls, meetings, and file collaboration from one place while providing the best call quality and user functionality. Use of the softphone, especially paired with the mobile application allows for secure, remote, or in-office work.

No. However, Teams certified desk phones will be provided by the project based on individual department and division requirements. 

You can use your current headset, though Teams certified headsets will provide the best experience with headset controls.

We will not be reusing any Cisco phones. If a desk phone is required, based on business need, OIT will offer a Teams Certified replacement.

The two headset models offered by OIT are below. The determination of which headset is offered to users in departments will be based on business requirements (more to come on audio device decisions):

Planatronics B4210 USB (Bluetooth)

 



Plantronics BlackWire 3315 (wired)

 

A Teams certified headset will be supplied by OIT and desk phones will be deployed as required by specific job function or use cases based on business requirements. Shared phones, conference room, lobby and public phones will be supplied, configured and set up by OIT.

Teams Certified Desk Phones

Poly CCX 400 (Small conference rooms, bobby, break rooms, etc.)



Poly C60 (Large Conference Room)

Poly CCX 500 (Solo phone line – by exception only)

Poly CCX 600 (Multiple phone lines – by exception only)

911 calls placed from work sites will be routed automatically. Where there is no connectivity, staff will be advised in training to place a call via a personal cell phone or traditional land line.

No, calls will continue to route as they do today.

The process for getting help/making calls when the system is down only improves with Teams. Users can leverage the free Teams mobile app on cell phones. You can make/take calls with your cell phone/work cell phone using your work number. Additionally, you can send instant messages, attend meetings, and collaborate on content using the Teams mobile application.
In addition, other phones onsite may be working if a single computer is out of service vs. the entire network.

Not at this time. The request will be made known to Microsoft and SOA’s partner, AudioCodes. Project Engineers will discuss options/requirements for your department/sites during departmental validation/discovery.

There is an option for site survivability (called Survivable Branch Appliances) for business requirements where local trunks are required. Project Engineers will discuss options/requirements for your department/sites during departmental discovery.

The current reference architecture follows best practices for centralization of trunks and call control in the cloud. There is an option for site survivability (called Survivable Branch Appliances) for business requirements where local trunks are required. Project Engineers will discuss options/requirements for your department during departmental/sites validation/discovery.

Staff will be supplied with comprehensive training, including ongoing access to training resources, resource handouts during deployment and go live, as well as ongoing support from OIT and SPS for troubleshooting. IT help tickets will go through AlaskaNow.

OIT and SPS will provide user troubleshooting and support. IT help tickets will go through AlaskaNow.

The process for getting help/making calls when the system is down only improves with Teams. Users can leverage the free Teams mobile app on cell phones. You can make/take calls with your cell phone/work cell phone using your work number. Additionally, you can send instant messages, attend meetings, and collaborate on content using the Teams mobile application.

In addition, other phones onsite may be working if a single computer is out of service vs. the entire network.

Stay tuned for more details as the project team works through this critical request.

Teams can be provisioned in several ways that allow a single number to be answered by multiple staff. Teams can support group calling, call queues, call forwarding, delegation, simultaneous ring and so many more features. Users currently part of a call queue, call group, or other special phone function will be captured during site validation/discovery and will be configured and preserved by our technical engineers.

Please stay tuned for more details as the project team works through this critical request.

Speech to text transcription may be poor if the quality of the call from the caller’s side and/or caller’s enunciation is poor.

Teams voice features closed captioning for calls and meetings, as well as TTY functionality.

A contact center specialist from Enabling Technologies will meet with all contact center managers and leaders from groups who leverage the Genesis and Cisco Systems. This specialist will gather business requirements that will be used to write an RFP for a new system before the end of 2021. Please stay tuned for more details.

Yes! Please notify OIT of those dates and please make sure the department/division/site contact delegates communicate that directly to the Analyst conducting on site/virtual interviews.

Phone numbers are moving with staff. Once migrated to Teams for calls, current work phone numbers will become your Teams phone number.

There are many ways to make a call in Teams:

  1. With one click, you can make any chat into a call in Teams. Select the video or audio call icon in the upper-right corner of the app.
  2. From the Search field, use the /call command to initiate a call automatically.
  3. Throughout the Teams app, you will find profile pictures (or initials) of other staff across the State. At any time, you can mouse over a profile picture and you will see options to make a video or an audio-only call to that person.
  4. Once you are enabled to make external phone calls, you can call anyone from Teams. To dial a number from Teams, go to the Calls app from the left navigation pane and your dial-pad should appear. Simply use the dial pad to enter the number you want to reach.
  5. Access speed dial and saved contact from the Calls app. Quickly call people you have previously saved.

Voicemails will be stored in Teams. Navigate to the Calls app from the left navigation pane and then click Voicemail. From here, you can listen, read and/or delete voicemail messages. You will also be able to initiate a call back directly from your voicemail messages, making it easy to follow up on missed calls.
Your voicemails will also come into your Outlook mailbox. From here, you can listen, read and/or delete voicemail messages.

Yes! It is easy to assign delegates to enable someone else to make and receive calls on your behalf. From either your profile picture or your initials, access Settings. From General settings, select Manage delegates.

  • Click on the second tab, Your delegates. From here you can manage the individuals that support your calls by adding/removing delegates, as needed.

All common area phones will be set up for anyone to make calls. Follow these instructions to make a call from a common area phone:

• Tap the Calls tile from the phone’s home screen.
• Search for any state employee using the search bar.
• Tap the purple icon with plus sign to initiate a call in the dial pad
• You can also pick up the handset to get to the dial pad, or tap the speakerphone icon on the right of the phone screen to access the dial pad and make your call using the speakerphone

Select More actions by clicking on the three dots located in the control bar across the top of your call window.
• To transfer the caller directly to someone else, select Transfer. Search your organization’s directory or (if enabled) enter an external phone number to which you would like to transfer the call.
• If you prefer to first consult with someone before you transfer the call, select Consult then transfer. This will allow you to either chat or call with someone before initiating a transfer to them.

Microsoft’s track record for ensuring Teams is online and operating properly is at 99.98% for the last 4 years. Microsoft’s commitment to excellent service, quality, and swift attention to any system issues can all be reviewed in their Service Health and Continuity Page. You can check this page out for more details on how Microsoft has created a strong, resilient phone system for the State.

It is true that making calls on Teams requires an internet connection. If you are receiving a notification about poor connection, consider some of the following actions. If you are working in a State office, you can call OIT to check on the State’s network. If you are working remotely, try the following:
• Turn off video (outgoing/incoming) to reduce the bandwidth required for the call.
• When possible, connect your device through an ethernet connection versus Wi-Fi.
• Attempt a different internet connection if available.

It is best to use a non-Teams phone whenever possible to place an emergency call.
• A landline is the best option.
• A cell phone is the next best option.
If you do place an emergency call in Teams, provide your precise location information immediately to dispatch. Efforts will be made to provide the most specific location information possible on your behalf, but this may not be accurate in all situations.

We are working diligently to minimize the impact of this transition. While we do not expect for extended periods of downtime, we want to make sure you are prepared for what to expect. We will be moving our phone system after business hours, so you will not receive any disruption in your ability to make or receive calls.

Access Settings from your profile picture or initials. Click on Calls from the menu on the left.
• Call settings that can be managed:
   + How incoming calls are handled (call forwarding)
   + Ringtones for different call types (direct/forwarded/delegated)
   + Voicemail settings
         o Record a greeting.
         o Choose a language for system greeting.
         o Text-to-speech customized greeting
         o Out of office voicemail
   + How calls are handled once they reach your voicemail

Stipends for using personal cell phones to receive Teams calls should follow the Department Justification and Approval process. Please review AAM 320.340, as well as related request forms for more information.

Do You Have Additional Questions?

Submit new questions by clicking here and completing the form. Responses will be sent weekly for the duration of the project.

Project Manager: John Natteford

Wostmann & Associates          |          Project Lead          |          john.natteford@alaska.gov

We are here to assit you. Feel free to reach out.

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