What is Microsoft Teams Calls?
Microsoft Teams Calls is the new telephone service out of the Microsoft Teams collaboration platform. It creates a centralized location for calling, messaging, meetings, and other collaborative features. Teams Calls comes with the conventional aspects of phones, such as a dialing pad, caller ID, call forwarding, call transferring, voice mail, and beyond. Instead of using a traditional desk-based phone system, Teams Calls now allows UMass Amherst faculty and staff to collaborate and communicate without needing to be in a specific physical location.
What is the schedule for the transition from the legacy campus phone system to Teams Calls?
For a look at the transition timeline, visit the Next Generation Calling Project page.
Why is this change happening now?
Our current telephone equipment is at the end of its useful life. Aging hardware must undergo an extensive upgrade in 2022 to maintain vendor support and ensure availability and reliability.
Remote work due to COVID has demonstrated that conventional telephone systems no longer provide the flexibility needed by our modern workforce when today’s softphones easily integrate with existing technologies such as Teams to provide maximum flexibility to “work from anywhere.”
Other benefits of this change:
- Ease of use: You can accept calls anywhere from any device with softphone functionality.
- Numerous additional features, including shared phone lines, multiline phones, contact centers, support for conference phones, and more.
- Softphones and cloud technologies are more reliable and resilient.
What is a softphone?
A softphone is a software program that allows you to make phone calls over the internet via a computer or smartphone rather than specific physical hardware.
Can I opt out of my campus line being upgraded to Teams Calls?
There is no option to opt out of the transition to the new calling solution. The current 30-year-old legacy phone system has served the campus well but cannot meet many modern workforce needs such as providing the flexibility to support remote workers. Microsoft Teams Calling provides standard phone functionality but further provides many new collaboration and accessibility features.
Will support documentation and training be available during the transition?
Yes. Both documentation, as well as on-demand and instructor-led training, are available. For details, visit the Next Generation Calling Project page.
Will old phones be collected?
Yes. Details will be communicated as they are finalized with your Department's NetCom representative.
How do I use Teams Calls?
You can get started with Teams and call on-campus contacts using dial-by-name right away but note that you will need to wait until your existing campus phone line has transitioned to Teams to make and receive external calls
- Get the Microsoft Teams app for your desktop and/or mobile device from the Microsoft Teams website, linked here.
- For University-owned computers, reach out to the Information Technology (IT) support professional in your department.
- Log in to Microsoft Teams using your UMass Amherst email (i.e.: NetID@umass.edu) and password. You will be prompted for two-step login.
For more information on how to use Teams Calls, can visit the Microsoft Teams Quick Start Guide here or check out our Microsoft Teams Calls video guides here.
Will my campus phone number stay the same?
If you have a phone number with UMass Amherst, it will stay the same.
As the campus switches over to Teams Calls, phone service will not be tied to specific phone equipment on campus, rather it will be connected to your Teams account. Once your line is transitioned to Teams, you will be able to see your number in your Teams Calls tab, under the dial pad.
How can my department request a Teams Calls line for a new employee?
During the phone project transition, a department can email firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information to request a line for a new employee:
- employee name
- employee NetID
- campus work location
- whether or not the employee needs to make international calls
What are the recommended browsers and apps for me to use?
The Teams Desktop and mobile applications are recommended for the best user experience. While a web browser may be used with Teams, it is important to note that not all browsers fully support Teams Calls functionality.
For the latest information on supported browsers, check the Microsoft Teams specifications list.
Can computers have multiple phone numbers (lines) connected to them?
When a user logs into Teams, the phone information is associated with their NetID, not with a specific computer. Only one phone number can be associated with a NetID. However, there are several ways that a person can answer additional lines, such having another line forwarded to them, serving as a member of a call group or queue, or being designated as a delegate for another line.
Can fully remote and hybrid workers use Teams Calls?
The new calling solution is an integrated part of the Teams platform and is available to all UMass staff regardless of work location. Teams Calls will be available anywhere you can log into your UMass Teams account. The Teams app can also be added to a mobile device, so someone can answer calls on a cellphone or tablet for added mobility.
How do the features of Teams Calls compare to our current phones?
Check out the UMass Amherst IT Comparison here.
What kinds of equipment will we need to use Teams Calls?
For both desktop computers and mobile devices, if a microphone and speakers are set up, you will be able to use Teams Calls immediately. While video is not needed for phone calls, having a web cam allows you to switch from audio only calls to video calls. You can also connect headphones, headsets, external microphones, speakers, and external web cameras for a variety of use cases and greater flexibility.
Can I make private or confidential phone calls?
You will be able to make private and confidential phone calls. If there is a concern, headsets and headphones will allow for an extra sense of privacy.
When will you have headphones available?
Headphones will be distributed shortly after your department transition date has been determined.
Is there a handset option, like the existing telephone handset and cradle?
UMass is moving to a software-based calling solution. Using Teams Calling through a software-based phone affords greater work flexibility and enables individuals to leverage additional features available only via the full Teams application. Generally, only a computer or mobile device with Teams app or a web browser is required to use Microsoft Teams Calling. However, a headset may be helpful for privacy in a shared office environment. If the user already has a headset (for example one they are already using for video conferencing), it will most likely work to make and receive Teams calls as well. However, as a courtesy, IT will distribute a USB headset for each line if needed at no cost as we roll out the new service.
Besides a USB Headset, there are additional equipment options available such as wireless headsets as well as two handset options:
- USB Handsets - Look and feel like traditional desktop phone but connect to the user’s workstation via USB cable. For initial rollout, a dept may request an upgrade from the free USB headset to a wireless headset or USB Handset for an additional cost.
- Standalone “Desktop-style” Handsets - Connect directly to the network via a wired or wireless connection and will require a power source. These standalone handsets will be available by exception only. University guidelines will be applied by IT when reviewing exception requests and will be covered during the transition consultation. Depending on the use case, additional costs may be waived for "standalone” handsets at rollout.
Equipment needs will be discussed during your department’s transition consultation.
If there is a power or network outage, will I still be able to make/receive phone calls?
Teams Phone, like any modern VoIP telecommunications system, relies on an internet connection to get to the Public Switched Telephone Network. Teams Calls is likely limited or unavailable during the following: power outage, network outage, or Microsoft Teams Calls outage or planned maintenance.
In the event of a power outage alone, you will be able to use a mobile device with the Teams app to make and receive Teams Calls if it has a data plan (4G/5G, LTE). Data charges based on your device plan will apply.
In addition, IT plans to maintain some analog services on campus for special services that require analog connections, and for emergency phones. Emergency phones are located across campus to communicate with UMass Police, 911, university administration, and/or other agencies in an emergency. These analog emergency phones include Blue Light, elevator, and area of refuge phones that are maintained outside of the Teams Calls solution.
Can I call 911 with Microsoft Teams?
Teams Calls is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solution. While Teams Calls makes communication portable and mobile friendly, VoIP calling services – also known as “softphones" - may not accurately detect a person’s location during an emergency phone call. That’s because the location is an approximation based on the Wi-Fi access point or the ethernet point at the time of the call.
Therefore, it is not recommended that callers use Teams for placing 911 calls unless there are no other alternatives. If Teams is used, it is crucial for the caller to provide the address of the emergency to the 911 operator whenever possible.
Do I need to dial 9+1+area code (like the current system requires) for making external (off-campus) calls?
You do NOT need to dial 9 first before dialing external numbers from Teams. However, for any first-time calls to an external number, you need to dial the full number (area code and number). Like your cellphone, once you have a called a number, it will show up in your call log and you can simply select it from the call log to call it again or save it as a contact for 1-click dialing in the future.
Will I be able to make international calls?
Microsoft Teams Calling can be used to make international calls. International Long Distance must be turned on for your account. The choice to have this on or not is made by your NetCom Representative at the time your account is migrated to Teams. If your need has changed or if it was set incorrectly, you can submit a ticket to have your setting adjusted. International Long Distance is not required for calls to Canada or Mexico.
Do my contacts outside of UMass Amherst need Teams to call me?
External contacts will be able to dial your phone number the same way they always have and do not need Teams to call you.
How can I receive Teams Calls on my mobile device?
Install the Microsoft Teams mobile app on your phone and log in with your UMass Amherst NetID. Once logged in, Teams Calls will ring on this mobile device.
How can I only receive notifications on my mobile device when I'm not active in Teams on my computer?
When you are in either the Android or iOS mobile app, you have the option to select whether you want your phone and your desktop notifications to go off at the same time. This is not currently an option on the desktop.
- Click the More option in the upper left corner of the mobile app.
- Click Notifications.
- Click When active on desktop.
- If you would like your notifications to only show up on your phone if you are inactive (if you have been inactive for three or more minutes) on your desktop, you can choose to block notifications.
How can I set quiet hours or days for my Teams notifications when I’m not at work?
- Click the More option in the upper left corner of the mobile app.
- Click Notifications.
- Click During quiet time.
- Select Quiet Hours to choose which times of the day you would like your notifications to be muted.
- Select Quiet Days to choose which days (i.e., Saturday and Sunday) you would like your notifications to be muted as well.
You can find more information on how to manage notifications here based on device (desktop, iOS, or Android.
Will there be caller ID?
Yes. Caller ID is built into Teams Calls.
Does Teams allow calls to be transferred?
Yes. Teams can transfer calls to other phone numbers, regardless of the type of line it might be (landline, cell phone, Teams Calls, etc.) Teams Calls also allows users to conference call with multiple people.
Can I set up call forwarding?
Yes. There are several forwarding options you can now set up yourself, including forwarding calls directly to voicemail, to another campus or external number (such as your personal cell phone), another staff member or even a group of numbers. There are also additional options for having calls ring you at the same time as the previously mentioned options.
Can I make or receive calls through my personal cell phone without sharing my personal phone number?
Teams Calls allows you to receive phone calls to your work phone number on any computer or mobile device through Microsoft Teams. If you forward calls to a personal device or if you use the Teams app on a personal device, callers will not see your personal number.
Will Teams Calls include voicemail, and can it be personalized?
Yes. You can personalize your voicemail with an audio or written (text-to-speech) greeting, as well as set out-of-office greetings. You can decide if certain callers can leave a message or get transferred to someone else, as well.
Can I get voicemail messages by email?
Yes. Teams Calls will notify you within the app, where you can listen to an audio file and/or read a speech-to-text translation. Teams Calls will also email you with an attached audio file and the speech-to-text transcription. If you delete the email notification from your email client, it will also delete the message from Teams so you do not need to manage the message twice.
How does Teams Calls handle voicemail if I use Gmail (and not Microsoft) for my UMass Amherst email?
If you use Gmail for your work email account:
- Calls will ring on your Teams app and configured devices.
- If a caller leaves a voicemail, you will see a voicemail notification in your Teams Activity feed, then you will need to check your Gmail account for the voicemail message left for your campus phone number. Be sure to check your Junk folder initially to make sure the message is not accidentally categorized as Spam. Members of the campus community who use Microsoft email can manage their voicemail on the Calls tab.
Voicemail is not stored in the Teams space itself. The voicemail repository is your email account. This unified storage approach for email and voicemail is the new standard for modern telephone systems like Teams Calls because it allows users to manage both types of messages in one place. Because Teams is a Microsoft product and more tightly integrated with Microsoft 365 apps, members of the campus community using Microsoft email have the added ability to manage voicemail within the Teams Calls tab.
Will my saved voicemails on my existing phone line transfer to Teams?
No, voicemail on your legacy desktop phone will not transfer to Teams.
What will happen to fax and analog lines?
Fax lines are analog lines. Analog lines are not part of the Teams transition. Following the completion of the transition of digital phone service to Teams Calls, UMass IT will be reviewing fax and analog service offerings. Until that time, no changes will be made.
If a staff member leaves our department, should we request the number be removed and then have a new number when the new staff starts?
Whenever possible, phone numbers should be associated with people. As these phone numbers will now be tied to a user's NetID, it works much better to remove the line and provision a new line when you refill a vacancy.
Our department has shared lines, how will those be transitioned to Teams Calls?
There are a variety of options for setting up shared lines as well as special department applications like automated attendants (caller menus) and call queues. IT will consult with your department's NetCom representative to find the appropriate option for each shared line.
What will the new Phone service fee structure be like? Will there be any changes to billing?
Monthly Telephone billing discontinued as of July 2022 and moved to an annual billing cycle. The university is still working through the details of the annual cost model for the new Teams calling service. For fiscal year 2023, departments will not see an increase to what your department was invoiced in fiscal year 2022.
A department’s annual bill will cover the base calling service package, including licensing, service delivery and support, and standard features, such as voicemail with transcription and email notifications.
Custom applications or premium features and services such as call centers, will continue to be billed monthly as they incur additional costs outside the base calling service package.
Will there be opportunities to provide feedback?
Absolutely. You can email email@example.com. Faculty and staff are also encouraged to contact the NetCom representative for their area.
More opportunities to exchange information and feedback will be available as the project progresses.