Microsoft Brings Teams Closer to Skype with Call Analytics Preview
- By Kurt Mackie
- February 06, 2018
Microsoft recently announced a preview of a "Call Analytics" feature for Teams, continuing its plan to bring Skype for Business capabilities to the enterprise chat service.
Microsoft's aim is to make the Teams client the main user interface for both Teams and Skype for Business calls and conferences. Its roadmap for doing so is a brochure-like publication (PDF) that gets updated from time to time, outlining the sort of improvements that have been made or that will be arriving in subsequent quarters this year. At press time, the roadmap was dated Jan. 30, reflecting the January Teams updates that arrived.
For IT pros, perhaps the highlight of the updated roadmap is the addition of the Call Analytics for Teams feature, which adds the ability to track the quality of phone calls and meetings when using Teams. That capability is currently available per the roadmap and is designed for use by help desk pros. However, it's at the preview stage right now, according to this Microsoft announcement:
With the preview of Call Analytics, all your users' calls are in one place and we make it easy to identify which client was used. For each call, detailed metrics are provided that can help identify issues impacting the audio quality of the call or meeting. For more information about Call Analytics, please refer to: Set up Skype for Business Call Analytics, Use Call Analytics to troubleshoot poor Skype for Business call quality, and What's the difference between Call Analytics and Call Quality Dashboard?
So, if a capability shows as "Available today" on Microsoft's roadmap document, it could be at the preview stage, rather than at "general availability."
Quite a lot of the additions to Teams last month were perks for end users. There were a few notable highlights among them, though, which were described as being "released" in January.
One of those highlights is Audio Conferencing (formerly called "PSTN Conferencing"), which is now at the "general availability" stage for Teams users. It allows users to dial into an audio session using their phones. This feature gets automatically enabled for Audio Conferencing Office 365 subscribers. The dial-in numbers available for Audio Conferencing users "are supported in 90+ countries, 400+ cities, and 44 interactive voice response (IVR) languages," according to Microsoft.
Another highlight is the Anonymous Join feature. It lets Teams users schedule a meeting with anyone, even those persons who are outside an organization. It's done by sending an invitation via e-mail with instructions on how to join the meeting. The recipient doesn't need to install anything to join the meeting.
"Your guest will be able to join on web without having to install any client or if they want additional functionality, such as the ability to start sharing their screen, they can also install the desktop client and join anonymously," Microsoft explained regarding the Anonymous Join feature.
A few other Teams features of note include the ability to admit attendees to the lobby of a meeting, which will happen automatically if they're outside an organization. It's also possible to mute noisy meeting attendees.
The Microsoft Edge and the Google Chrome browsers now can be used to initiate phone calls without installing browser plug-ins. It's also possible to join audio and video Teams meetings using the Edge browser. The Chrome browser permits joining audio Teams meetings right now. It'll have a video-joining capability in a future release.
A longer list of the Teams features that were added last month can be found in this Microsoft Tech Community post.
Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.