Additional Voice Features for the New Year
As we close out the calendar year, Microsoft has 4 important features and enhancements their roadmap that they promised a year ago. Today Microsoft announcing that Group Call Pickup, Call Park, and Shared Line Appearance will be available before the end of December 2018. Additionally, Location Based Routing moves into preview this December and based upon customer feedback, will be released for general availability next quarter. Let’s review each feature and how they can enhance your calling experiences in Microsoft Teams.
Group Call Pickup (GCP) is an enhancement to the current call group feature that enables users to create custom groups and have colleagues answer their calls when they are not available. To configure, click on your picture in the upper right and select “Calls” and then “Call answering rules”. As an example, I can select “forward my calls” and choose to forward to a call group. Then it’s easy to choose who is in my group and the desired ringing order – call everyone or ring in order. In addition, users in the call groups will also be able to choose to receive full audio and visual notifications for incoming calls in the group. They can also decide what type of notification they want for each group member. Many of our international customers have asked for these enhancements and we look forward to hearing about its usage.
Call Park (CP) is used in companies where employees are hard to contact when they are working. Users (such as reception) can assist the caller and help connect them to the at-large employee. When the call comes in, reception (or any user) can park the call by using the “more actions” icon. A unique code will be given to the person who parks the call. An intercom, pager, or even texting can be used to send the code to the target employee. The target employee can then retrieve the call from a Microsoft Teams client using the code provided by the original person answering the call.
Shared line Appearance (SLA) is an enhancement to the delegation feature that lets a user choose a delegate to answer or handle calls on their behalf. SLA can configure any enterprise voice enabled user as a shared number with multiple lines to respond to multiple calls. The calls are not actually received on the shared number, instead they are forwarded to users that act as delegates for the shared number. Any one of the delegates can pick up the call. This feature is especially helpful if a user has an administrative assistant who regularly handles the user’s calls.
Location-Based Routing (LBR) makes it possible to restrict the routing of calls between VoIP endpoints and PSTN endpoints based on the location of the parties in the call – especially where local regulations require such restrictions. It enforces call authorization rules based on the user’s location policy and their actual location as specified by the administrator. LBR starts public preview this month and subject to user feedback, will become generally available toward the end of CY19-Q1.
Together, these four features represent a significant milestone in how calls are handled by Microsoft Teams. Users can now easily add these different ways of working and collaborating based on their company needs. Please let us know which scenarios you plan to use these features for! We expect documentation with further details to be available later in December and we will update this blog with those URLs.