Microsoft Teams Direct Routing is one of the most requested products we’ve ever had. Today, we are pleased to launch Unite Calling in response to this demand. Helping service providers deliver the latest in unified communications technology.
What is Teams Direct Routing?
Direct Routing enables Microsoft Teams users to make and receive external phone calls from the Teams application. (By default, Microsoft limits calling to internal users only).
Once configured, Direct Routing enables any-to-any calling via mobile or desktop, as well as through compatible IP desk phones and room conferencing systems.
While there are other methods of ‘switching on’ calling in Teams – Operator Connect and Microsoft’s own small business Calling Plans – the Direct Routing option is by the far most popular.
Worldwide, more than 90% of large enterprises will use Direct Routing to enable PSTN calling in Microsoft Teams. - Gartner, 2020
With a Direct Routing solution, any MSP or IT service provider can sell Teams calling plans – bundles of voice minutes and phone numbers – replacing telcos and phone lines.
What is Unite Calling?
Unite Calling automates away the complexity of deploying, managing and billing Teams Direct Routing services.
This means your customer deployments that used to take over 100 hours of manual work, can now be performed in a few clicks, and are available to use in as little as 20 minutes.
Built especially for challenger service providers, Unite Calling is a proprietary solution to the pain enabling calling for Microsoft Teams users.
Unite Calling is far more than a basic ‘resale’ product. It is a complete service management tool.
This means Unite Calling does the hard work for you. Eliminating self-managed infrastructure, replacing PowerShell with a user-friendly automated portal, and syncing into our carrier systems for number inventory and billing.
Smoother, faster, smarter – How Unite Calling helps
Before building Unite Calling, we spoke to many service providers about the challenges they faced when deploying calling services in Teams.
The insights were eye-opening for our Product teams. Service providers told us that while Teams was, in theory, a hot opportunity – the reality was costly, slow and over-complicated.
Fully managed Teams calling backbone
Several customers told us about the prohibitive cost of deploying Microsoft-certified Session Border Controllers (SBCs) on their network. Not to mention the 100+ hours of effort needed to deploy each new customer. And the ongoing headache of self-managing network capacity, scaling and geo-redundancy.
By contrast, Unite Calling is a turnkey, zero-infrastructure solution.
Getting started is as simple as selecting ‘Unite Calling’ from a drop-down menu in the Octane portal. You don’t need to worry about configuring SBCs, SIP Trunks or carrier interconnects.
We have done the hard work of building and managing a scalable telecom backbone. All built upon high availability, geo-redundant carrier infrastructure.
Our voice network peers directly with Microsoft in Australia, ensuring you can deliver enterprise-grade communication quality nationwide.
Clever automation. Zero PowerShell.
One service provider vividly described ‘PowerShell hell’ – having to hire a Microsoft consultant to deploy Direct Routing. And then re-employ them… every time they needed to manage services.
The pain of PowerShell was a common theme among service providers less familiar with the Microsoft environment. Seemingly routine changes, such as allocating numbers and dial plans to staff members, needed many lines of PowerShell scripting, taking hours to roll-out.
To address this challenge, Unite Calling automates (and thereby eliminates) the routine Powershell scripts needed to deploy and manage a Direct Routing service. Service providers no longer need to hire a PowerShell expert and can do their own deployments.
Day-to-day service management is quick and easy too. With Unite Calling, your customers’ calling services are administered within Teams. This approach is highly secure because it leverages the enterprise-grade security built into Microsoft 365.
Within the Teams-native portal you can:
- See your customers’ number inventory and filter by assigned / unassigned DIDs
- Manage dial plans for each user (e.g. depending on their State)
- Provision and assign new phone numbers or existing (ported) numbers
- Assign call routing policies (e.g. blocking international outbound calls)
Best of all, our API-enabled network means that changes can sync in as little as 5 minutes. For providers used to waiting days for their carrier to action a ticket, this self-serve approach is a game-changer.
Easy number management in Teams
A common bug-bear for many service providers is that their customers’ phone number inventory sits in a separate system. In practice, it means flicking between a spreadsheet, a carrier system and your Teams directory. The process is exhausting and error-prone.
With Unite Calling, your customers’ phone numbers and user directory are available in a single pane of glass. You can easily see, and search, through these databases. You can assign new numbers or use any existing numbers that have been ported.
Number porting can be easily initiated and managed via Octane, our self-serve portal. Ported numbers can then be assigned to individual users or resources (such as rooms or shared lines) via Unite Calling.
Unite Calling is your shortcut to Teams calling success
Around the world, Enterprise organizations are rapidly adopting Direct Routing as a key piece in their digital transformation. Microsoft Teams Direct Routing is one of the biggest growth markets in telecom today. And it’s not just an opportunity for telcos – Microsoft Partners, IT providers and MSPs all stand to win.
For service providers of all stripes, Direct Routing is a transformational revenue opportunity. Calling services are typically high margin and a natural add-on for the millions of businesses that use Microsoft Teams.
We’re proud to be the first Australian carrier to make Direct Routing incredibly simple and accessible. Helping level the playing field for small telecom and IT providers.