AudioCodes Microsoft Teams Completion Solution Now Includes Video
A single vendor “completer” solution set for a Microsoft Teams deployment
The communications and collaboration market transformation, now accelerated by Work from Home, has led to a dramatically changed landscape. The vertically integrated TDM PBX of the past has transitioned to Cloud unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solution like Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex. These solutions support audio, video, collaboration, teams, PSTN access, and contact center capabilities for business processes. Clearly the complexity of the solutions has increased by orders of magnitude, along with the multiplicity of vendors, devices, protocols, networks, etc. AudioCodes is helping to eliminate some of this complexity by providing products and devices for Microsoft Teams to create a complete integrated solution.
Different Approaches for Complete UCaaS Solutions
Vendors have taken various approaches to reduce the complexity of UCaaS. For example, Cisco has reduced this complexity by “verticalizing” its solution where most or all of the major elements are provided by Cisco, rather than by third-party vendors. In the Webex cloud, for example, the complete solution, including UCaaS, devices, peripherals, media elements, etc., is provided by Cisco. While the Cisco system is open for API integrations, this focus on a vertical system of components from Cisco is generally seen as enabling deployment and operation simplicity, as well as offering unique functionality when compared with vendors like Microsoft.
Microsoft Teams follows the traditional Microsoft model of a core cloud software platform with a range of peripherals and applications services provided by third-party vendors that “complete” the Teams solution, with the integration of the elements left to the buyer. In the Microsoft Teams environment, there may be separate vendors for the phones, small room video systems, SBCs, management tools, and enhanced applications. Clearly integrating these completer components into a smoothly operating Teams solution can be a challenge, both for enterprises and solutions integrator partners. While the standardization of the Teams device user experience is helpful, it does not reduce the integration and operational risks of separate vendors and components, all with their own implementations and release schedules. AudioCodes is changing this market by offering a single vendor teams “completer” solution that include all the required elements from a single vendor.
AudioCodes for Complete Microsoft Teams Solutions
AudioCodes, long known as a leader in the SBC and media processing space, has emerged as a leader in SBC solutions for Microsoft Teams. AudioCodes has introduced a range of products to make Microsoft Teams simpler to deploy and manage. Implementing Teams with an SBC for PSTN access and other services is increasingly being chosen over the Microsoft cloud PSTN access for organizations to deploy Microsoft Teams Business Voice telephony services. Based on the success and usage of its SBC, AudioCodes realized that its platform is at the core of these new Microsoft Teams’ deployments. The AudioCodes team developed a series of new products and capabilities that enable organizations to deploy a complete Microsoft Teams solution without the integration and operational complexity, including end points, meeting tools, video devices, a management platform, and more.
Recently, AudioCodes introduced their innovative RXV80 Stand-alone Video Collaboration Bar, a solution for the small to mid-size conference facility that include a complete video solution with advanced Dolby Audio. While this product is innovative with the addition of Dolby Audio, the important part is that it is the final piece enabling AudioCodes to deliver a set of products and services that can provide a total “completer” for most Microsoft Teams deployments. First, this enables the RXV80 to be manged and operated as part of the overall AudioCodes Teams solution. By including an integrated stand-alone video room system with the previous elements of SBCs, IP Phones, management and monitoring solutions as well as meetings enhancement options, the range of the single vendor AudioCodes offer extends to cover the all of the required elements for the majority of Teams deployments.
For example, AudioCodes Live Cloud for Microsoft Teams is a complete voice/PSTN solution that enables service providers to build a new UC offering based on Microsoft Teams via a white label service from AudioCodes. The service is a subscription service to compliment the M365/Teams subscription with a complete telephony/PSTN integration as a managed service offer from AudioCodes or their partners. In addition to the operational basics, AudioCodes Live Cloud includes a number of options to simplify Teams deployments, including, IP Phones, Video and Audio Room Conferencing, Call Recording and Meeting Insights, all designed to improve the Teams experience for users and improve enterprise productivity
AudioCodes brought to market a range of Teams telephony end points. AudioCodes has also developed the One Voice Operations Center, a management platform for communications that uses the core SBC/media serve node as the control and monitoring point for communications. As this point manages both the signaling and media flows, it provides a clear picture of the state of communications in the enterprise. Finally, AudioCodes has extended into the applications domain with SmartTAP 360° Recording, a Teams meeting recording/enhancement tool that enables in-meeting virtual assistants or bots and post-meeting notes and actions. For example, an in-meeting virtual assistant in Teams can take notes, record action items, etc. Together, these provide an integrated Microsoft Teams solution covering the complete voice/PSTN space. The inclusion of support teams as either a focused AudioCodes team and/or systems integration partners make adoption of the AudioCodes Teams solution easy.
While most companies could use AudioCodes as a primary Microsoft Teams “completer” solution for voice, PSTN and audio devices, many customers have also requested an integrated video system for small conference rooms and huddle spaces. In response to this demand, AudioCodes has introduced the RXV80 Stand-alone Video Collaboration Bar, a Teams-optimized room system, including the Microsoft Teams room experience as well as Dolby audio technology for optimal audio. In addition to the Dolby sound optimization, the room device delivers 4K video. The RXV80 is very competitively featured and priced for these smaller rooms and compliments using bespoke video systems for larger conference and board rooms.
Edge devices and core nodes are key elements that work together in modern cloud architectures. With a solution that now includes both endpoints in phones and video room systems as well as the SABC/Media Server core, AudioCodes is building a solution that will add value at multiple points in the system architecture, optimizing functions, processing, and cost. Clearly, this could hold the potential of leveling some of the capabilities that Cisco enjoys in its vertically integrated solution. Cisco has delivered value by innovating using the combination of the endpoints and the core system in recent features. By integrating a complete solution set around Microsoft Teams, AudioCodes could offer similar Teams optimizations moving forward.
While other vendors have addressed portions of the Teams “completer” solution market, AudioCodes appears to be the first vendor to focus on a single integrated solution for Microsoft Teams. For example, while the RXV-80 is a competitive “Video Collaboration Bar,” in most situations it will not be evaluated as a standalone product, but rather as part of an overall solution. What makes this worth watching is the commitment by AudioCodes to move to be a complete Microsoft Teams solution provider. The value of an integrated solution goes beyond individual products features to how the entire solution is delivered. In this context, the values of AudioCodes’ integrated Teams completer solution is clear. For organizations considering moving to a complete Teams solution including telephony, AudioCodes Teams solutions are an option that should be considered. The addition of video endpoints optimized for huddle rooms enables AudioCodes to cover a wider range of customer needs, while also enabling organizations to begin using AudioCodes for video in preparation for a telephony migration in the future. Regardless of immediate needs, including AudioCodes as a potential part of a long-term Microsoft Teams strategy may be the best decision an organization could make in these challenging times.
This paper is sponsored by AudioCodes.