Teams Interoperability – how Direct Routing delivers interoperability
Teams Interoperability addresses a long held desire – ensuring interoperability for telephony. Telephony interoperability has long been an aim of communications infrastructure managers at companies both large and small. Firms value it not just for the seamlessness it offers callers, but also for the reliability it can bring. Legacy telephony systems are things of the past – and now that every organisation has sophisticated yet distinctive systems that need to be able to speak to each other and exchange information, this key part of the Microsoft Teams Telephony package remains a useful option. This article will explore how Direct Routing can deliver customers the interoperability they need when setting up a commercial telephony system – and what the impact on commercial obligations can be.
The increasing requirement for interoperability
Before delving into how this specific aspect of how Microsoft Teams Telephony works, it’s worth first defining exactly what interoperability is and what it can do – especially in the context of how things used to be. In the old era of centralised switchboards and homogenous telephony equipment, interoperability was less necessary because most organisations had largely the same telephony equipment. But these days, in the age of Internet-based kit and a diverse range of manufacturers, this is no longer the case.
When an organisation has a particular form of equipment on its side, problems can arise if that system then needs to communicate with other systems that have different frameworks, entry points and more. For phone calls, which often rely to some extent on older forms of technology, the links in this chain can often bend and break – leaving clients stuck if something goes wrong.
Other tech is interoperable – but phones are not
Many communication systems, especially those that are modern and computerised in nature, have found ways to get around this: Hotmail and Gmail, for example, can exchange the necessary data seamlessly. However, for legacy systems such as phones, interoperability can be a nightmare – and with some providers, it can’t be guaranteed. As a result, organisations such as Microsoft have developed a set of systems that can ensure interoperability – and one such mode is Direct Routing.
In short, Direct Routing’s main benefit is that it permits an organisation to connect its Session Border Controller to pretty much every form of telephony system. This can be one of many different types of system: it could, for example, be a third-party private branch exchange, or it could be one of Microsoft’s dedicated phone systems – or, indeed, a voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) service such as Skype, which is owned by Microsoft.
The increasing commercial value via Teams Interoperability
From a technical perspective, of course, ensuring that all of these different parts of the system can communicate and exchange data and information effectively makes sense: the system as a whole will always work better when there are fewer blockages and bottlenecks. This theory has long since been around: ensuring that the functions of a system work well together is a key tenet of design and function theory, and in that sense interoperability isn’t new.
But now that communications are responsible for so much of modern business activity, from the point of view of commercial executives the benefits are even more clear. Take the example of an exporting business whose primary client uses their own third-party private branch exchange, while their main supplier has a primarily analogue system. Without a Direct Routing solution that ensures interoperability, telephone calls between these participants could cause delays that could in turn lead to fees, lost contracts and more. Also, with start-up costs for a phone system such as this not being prohibitively expensive (at least when a provider that offers demand-based pricing is used), it doesn’t necessarily have to be a pricey investment.
How exactly does Teams Interoperability work?
Direct Routing is, luckily, not difficult or complex. When a call to a phone on the network is placed, it will benefit from the Session Border Controller, which is usually located in a cloud computing zone. When the call comes from a Microsoft Teams system, the call can be routed to the public switched telephone network – or PSTN – using what are known as resilient SIP trunks. Call quality is high when done in this way, and downtime is low – meaning that, from a resource perspective, calls can take place quickly and easily without the firm having to worry about being knocked out of sync or contact.
This Direct Routing offer goes one step further and makes the most of the various different Internet options available. It can, for example, push calls through what is known as the “public Internet” – or a web connection that does not derive its access from a private server. Alternatively, calls can be sent to cloud servers with no need for the transmission to hit the public web. All that is required for this to happen is for the customer to be using the circuits operated by the provider. Users can choose either option – but either way, they will still get the same high-quality SIP trunk access to ensure that the quality of the call does not suffer regardless of the technical process being followed for call placing and receiving.
Teams Interoperability via Direct Routing systems have become more and more useful over the years as technical and commercial changes have accelerated. Direct Routing comes with plenty of benefits: from its capacity to ensure that all kinds of phone systems and equipment can connect and exchange information as necessary to the way that cloud technology is centralised, this is a superior technical solution that won’t break the bank. While the days of switchboards and traditional telephony might be over, the days of interoperable systems which help organisations to communicate to great effect are only just beginning.