In the latest SfB Broadcast from Microsoft this episode goes into the “What’s new with PSTN Conferencing” so here’s my summary of the video
Link to the video is here
Delanda Coleman and Oscar Ruiz Garcia
Oscar is program manager for SfB and PM for PSTN Conferencing, been at Msft for 8 years. Started working with SfB 5 years ago, amazing team and product he says, working in conferencing space for three years.
What’s is PSTN Conferencing?
PSTN Conferencing Service for participants of online meeting to join meetings using traditional phone and dial a PSTN phone number and join with a conference ID and join when on the road and not by a computer.
Benefit is online participants can talk to PSTN participants, cell phones and landline callers.
Audio Conferencing isn’t new or a new innovation, what’s makes it special in Office 365 ?
- Easy to use
- Minutes to setup
- Wide range of phone numbers
- Simple service and a lot of time to make it simple and faster without problems
How does it work with Office 365 subscriptions ?
E1 and E3 you can add on PSTN Conferencing
Bundled with E5 as long as you are in a country PSTN Conferencing is sold
Easy to use and meetings details are automatically populated.
Msft are starting to Offer a new pay as you go model, existing offer is pay a monthly fee for the service for unlimited dial in and selected dial out.
Now Microsoft will off Audio Conferencing pay per minute!
- No flat price pstn conferencing
- Toll and toll free inbound calls are charged on a per minute basis
- All outbound calls are charged on a pre minute basis
- Available to enterprise E1, E3 VL customer
Offered geared for customers that don’t need a wide range of minutes
Pay for as much as they consume
Details on offer
Previously subscription based dial was unlimited now this case dial in US France and Argentina now this is pay as you go. Toll free or toll numbers will all be pay as you go.
Flexible model as you pay for your minutes.
For non E5 customers E1 and E3 and want to try PSTN conferencing you can use the pay as you go (consumption model)
OCTOBER 1st for BL customers
RATES will be posted online as well at this time.
PSTN Conferencing in market for almost 2 years and in the cloud new innovations come quickly IT admins don’t need to add or rollout new features.
Since launch lots of new features
- Customer can purchase in 72 countries
- End user pin resets before only admins had access, now users can via a web page
- Entry, exit announcement tones instead of voice
- PSTN Conferencing in Regional Hosted Meetings, allow company to spread across different datacentre around the world
- Meeting Migration Service – challenge in the past to update changes to meeting invites. There was an end user tool the Meeting Migration tool which end users had to run and now a service was released so users dont have to action anything.
Three features in preview program (Skype Preview)
- Lobby Support
- Disable toll free for specific users
- Restrict dial outs for specific users
Dive into features in more detail
72 Country Reach
Dial in for 90 and 400 Cities
Automatically you get a list of phone numbers and customer can acquire more from more cities. 400 cities available.
Dial out to 190+ countries
Expanded IVR – welcome to customer – support for 44 languages.
End user pin reset
Meeting invites and Email has link and says forget your dial in pin and is in the SfB client. New Forgot your dial in pin url in meeting invite.
Organiser direct to portal and they can reset their own pin, easy can away from IT admin.
Supported and On premises and now online as well.
Meeting Migration Service (MMS)
Updates meeting invites with PSTN and voip meeting details.
Automatically way to update existing meeting for users and done is different scenarios.
- PSTN Conf license assigned or removed
- Provider is changed
- User moved to new PSTN bridge
Replace dial in numbers and update meeting invites.
Another benefit of the cloud service and can be disabled on tenant basis if you want and can trigger it on a user basis as well. Giving flexibility for automatically or on demand.
More information on MMS i did a blog post here
PSTN Conferencing service in Regionally Hosted Meetings
More interesting with diagram, basically goal is you can have tenant spread in different regions, companies are globally and have users spread out and goal is to have meetings hosted at datacentres closest to them to reduce network latency and improves performance for meetings.
Its the same for PSTN access, when a tenant becomes enabled for RHM, becomes a spread tenant across regions and the concept of PSTN conferencing bridge is spread out as well, users in US are assigned NA bridge and Sydney users assigned APAC bridge, meetings hosted and PSTN access and mixing of PSTN stays all in APAC region and improves performance.
Any licence implications?
No, need to have a RHM meeting enabled tenant though. No enabled by default i believe.
Lobby Support for PSTN Conf. callers (Preview)
In preview, you can see this functionality you can sign up and is a features already on premises and this allows PSTN participant is put in lobby and now you can see this in the rosta and members can admit or deny into the meeting.
Disable Toll Free for numbers of users (Preview)
Feedback from users they wanted to disable users being able to use toll-free numbers for their meetings.
Once toll free numbers are added they are assigned and available for users so now you can control the access of toll free numbers. IT Admins can choose on user by user basis to allow toll free numbers. If you restrict the find your local numbers page will not display toll free numbers and wont be included in meeting invites.
If you have the toll free and dial into a users meeting who doesn’t have toll free numbers enabled the caller wont be able to dial into the meeting using that toll free.
Toll free services does require PSTN consumption billing so its a way to control costs as well.
Restrict PSTN Conf. dial-outs (Preview)
Based on user feedback. you can restrict dial out controls
Three levels of control
- Allow International and domestic dial out (Default)
- Allows domestic dial outs (New feature)
- Restrict all dial outs
Combined with Toll free features it allows companies to have different profiles for users and their requirements.
Skypepreview.com and sign up for preview features
Demo on PSTN Setup
Have licences through trials (E5) or purchase, licence are then assigned to users.
Office 365 admin centre > Users > select user > assign licence (Skype for Business PSTN Conferencing) > Save
Takes a few meetings to provision on back end
Admin doesn’t have to email them, users will get an email automatically to say enabled for PSTN Conferencing service and PINs are enabled.
Q and A
Can i mix PSTN subscription and pay per minute subscriptions ?
What’s is different between shared and dedicated number ?
Set of phone number are shared and assigned to other tenants, shared phone numbers primary and backup languages can not be changed.
Admins can get new numbers and have dedicated and dedicated solely to that tenant and are customisable and languages can be changed.
Can you support just PSTN conferencing only meetings ?
Yes, since launch, by default they will have a settings, allow only PSTN meetings and PSTN meetings don’t have to have a SfB client or authenticated user in the meeting.
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