Operator Connect is the latest offering from Microsoft for bringing calling to Teams (the others being Direct Routing or Calling Plans). Operator Connect provides a cloud-to-cloud connection between Microsoft Teams and a telephony service provider’s network, making it easy for organizations to purchase lines and minutes direct from carriers within the Microsoft Teams admin interface.
In recent years the market has seen a shift from on-premise to cloud communications. 6% of enterprises have already migrated to the cloud and by 2026 this is estimated to grow to 28% (source: Piper Sandler Estimates). This represent 110m+ endpoints (source: Gartner).
The UCaaS market is growing in strength with latest research indicating the market will be worth $365.2 Billion by 2030 (Source: Market Research Future). North America is predicted to lead, with the APAC being the fastest-growing region.
Microsoft is a key player withing the UCaaS sector, as well as Google, RingCentral, Avaya and Mitel.
Recent figures from Microsoft report 345M commercial office seats and 270M monthly active users, of which only 80M are active Teams Phone users. With just 10-20% of these Teams Phone users enabled for PSTN calling. So there is a true opportunity here for the carrier to enable PSTN calling within Microsoft Teams.
Operator Connect Accelerator
The Microsoft vision for easily and quickly provisioning PSTN telephony for Teams clients has not been reflected with carriers looking to onboard to Operator Connect. It has become apparent that the operator systems (OSS/BSS) deployed by many carriers are complex and lack the integration tools to build out the depth of integration required by Microsoft.
With this in mind Microsoft launched the Accelerator programme.
With Operator Connect Accelerator Microsoft hopes to simplify the process of onboarding. A select number of technology partners have been chosen that can help smooth the integration and certification processes for connecting telephony services to Microsoft Teams.
What to consider when onboarding to Operator Connect
There are a number of significant technical elements that need to be in place and tested, as well as a need for the carrier to evidence that their solution and processes meet Microsoft’s pre-requisites.
In a recent interview with UCToday, Darren Lloyd Program Manager for Carrier Automate explains further.
“It is difficult for organizations to write a business case because there are so many unknowns,” he said. “How much do they need to invest in their infrastructure? How much do they need to invest in the people to work on the program? Operators may have the skills in-house, but they’re not sitting on the bench ready to go at a moment’s notice, so businesses need to establish what resources and investments are required to get this over the line.”
Making it easier to onboard to Operator Connect
Recognizing the challenges faced by carriers and having the in-house knowledge and experience to dramatically reduce them, has been the main drivers for the development of Carrier Automate.
Carrier Automate provides the SBC requirement via a partnership with Ribbon Communications – a certified Operator Connect Accelerator partner. Designed to streamline, through automation, Carrier Automate supports both the onboarding of carriers to Operator Connect, and the onboarding of customers to the carrier’s service.
The OSS/BSS integration components we’ve built into Carrier Automate come from experience we’ve gained through our work with over 50 operators around the world.
Carrier Automate provides:
- Simplified API integration & certification
- Automated sales engagement and workflow
- Customer portal for self-service
- Reseller portal for channel engagement
- Service provider portal for provisioning & set-up
- Signaling and media normalization (as required)
For operators and carriers planning to onboard to Operator Connect, we provide services to assist with the integration tasks required. And support a continued journey to full BSS&OSS integration.
We – and our partner Ribbon Communications – spend every day working with service providers. Designed to be less expensive than creating an in-house solution, Carrier Automate brings valuable automation to the process and provides the very best technical advice and guidance from within the Ribbon and Carrier Automate teams.