Today Microsoft updated their solutions catalog to include phones supported for Skype for Business Online, including support for Cloud PBX and PSTN Conferencing workloads. In March 2015, Microsoft and Polycom jointly announced that the Polycom VVX business media phone would be the first 3rd party interoperable phones to support the cloud voice service offering as part of Microsoft Office 365. With this October update, we are delivering on this promise—made possible with the recent Polycom UC Software 5.4.0A firmware release (note-it will display as 18.104.22.16882 on the VVX phone). Polycom is pleased to offer 9 phones that can be installed in Microsoft Office 365 cloud PBX environments. We are especially proud to offer 7 VVX phone models to choose from—these phones offer the “showcase” user experience and feature mix for Microsoft UC environments. There is also Office 365 Cloud PBX support for several of the Lync Phone Edition models including the CX600 desktop phone and CX3000 conference phone.
For new desktop phone purchases, Polycom recommends the VVX phones. With 5 successive soft
ware releases introducing new Skype for Business and Microsoft Lync features, the VVX phones have caught up and surpassed the features available on the CX600 and Lync Phone Edition models offered by other vendors. The fastest pace of innovation is happening on the compatible phones (SIP based) and—with Polycom’s strong strategic partnership with Microsoft, the Polycom VVX phones are the 1st to market supporting Skype for Business Online.
** update, January 2016 ** Microsoft has also listed Polycom RealPresence Trio in the Skype for Business Solutions Catalog. This is the premier smart hub for group collaboration that transforms the iconic three-point phone into a audio-conferencing device that can fit in any team environment, large or small. With Skype for Business Online testing pending with the UCS 5.4.1 Rev AA software release available in mid-January on support.polycom.com, this solution will soon be supported with Office 365 Cloud PBX Services.
Q: Which Polycom phones can I use with Skype for Business Online with the new Office 365 Cloud PBX services?
A: You can select from the following phones/solutions:
Polycom RealPresence Trio
Polycom VVX 600 Business Media Phone
Polycom VVX 500 Business Media Phone
Polycom VVX 410 Business Media Phone
Polycom VVX 400 Business Media Phone
Polycom VVX 310 Business Media Phone
Polycom VVX 300 Business Media Phone
Polycom VVX 201 Business Media Phone
Polycom CX600 IP Desktop Phone
Polycom CX3000 IP Conference Phone
You can read more about how each of these phones fit in an Office 365 / Skype for Business Online environment here.
Q: If I don’t have the VVX phones yet, which ones should I order?
A: Polycom is introducing new order codes for VVX Skype for Business Edition Phones. Phones ordered with codes ending in “-019” will get VVX phones installed with the minimum UCS 5.4.0A release required for Skype for Business Online. The VVX phones that end in “-019” also include the Polycom UC Software license required to operate them in Microsoft UC environments. When you order these phones and you won’t have to figure out how to update the VVX firmware of the older VVX phones prior to installing them on Skype for Business Online. To review the product details on these VVX phones, download the REFERENCE GUIDE Polycom VVX Phones, Skype for Business Edition.
Q: If I don’t have RealPresence Trio yet, which one should I order?
A: A new order code for a Skype for Business Edition RealPresence Trio, also ending in -019, is expected to begin shipping in February. It will ship with the UCS 5.4.1 Rev AA software required for support with Office 365 Cloud PBX (powered by Skype for Business Online).
Q: What Polycom firmware release is needed for the VVX phones I already own?
Q: What features are supported on VVX phones that are not supported on the CX600 or other Lync Phone Edition models?
A: Important features that VVX phones support include:
· Touch Screen Interface (VVX 500/600)
· Group Paging
· USB Headset Support (VVX 500/600)
· Bluetooth Headset Support (VVX 600)
· Selectively Restrict Features (i.e. lobby phones)
· Custom Applications and Backgrounds
· Customizable Music on Hold
· Electronic Hook Switch (EHS) support
· Acoustic Fence
· 802.1X Authentication
· Expansion Module Support
· Better Together over Ethernet (BToE)
· Consultative transfer
Q: What Polycom firmware release on CX phones is needed for Skype for Business Online?
A: The CX600 desktop phone and CX3000 conference phone must be updated to May 2015 CU (version 4.0.7577.4463) available from Microsoft prior to deploying them with Skype for Business Online.
Q: Can I use a Polycom CX300 R2 USB phone with a Skype for Business client?
A: Yes. You can use a CX300 R2 USB phone which gives you the choice of a handset, speakerphone or headset (via headset jack), however there are advantages to having a phone like a VVX that is “always on”. The VVX phones have dedicated feature keys like “transfer”, “call park” and support additional features like intercom, paging, auto-answer, and consultive transfer—features which are not supported when using a Skype for Business client with only a headset or USB phone. A CX300 R2 phone is a good choice for the home office when you need to make an occasional early morning or evening calls. Full time telecommuters, however, should consider a VVX phone or a CX600 for their home office.
Q: I have a mix of on-premises Lync server installations and/or SIP trunking with IP PBXs that I plan to phase out over time. Can you help me plan for hybrid installations as I introduce Office 365 Cloud PBX deployed phones in my Enterprise?
A: Yes. Polycom offers a range of Professional Services for Microsoft including Envisioning Services (planning, network assessments), Implementation Services and Technical Support Services.
Q: Does Polycom have an online support portal for questions I may have?
A: Yes. We recently created a “Skype for Business” category under “Voice” on community.polycom.com for Polycom related product questions/answers.
Q: What are the advantages to moving to a Microsoft Cloud PBX with Skype for Business Online? Do you have any resources available that will help me make a decision?
A: This is topic is worthy of an entire blog post in itself (stay tuned). Here is the abbreviated version. Microsoft’s Cloud PBX will allow customers to make, receive and transfer calls from mobiles, tablets, PC’s, and phones from nearly anywhere with internet access. IT departments who move their communications services to the cloud will no longer need to maintain and upgrade on premises servers and software—and if you are retiring older PBXs and moving to the cloud, the support time savings are multiplied. Software upgrades are managed automatically in the cloud. New features can be introduced at a faster pace. Customers can easily scale up or scale down the numbers of employees supported. Also, a subscription based Pay-As-You-Go OPEX model is more attractive than a CAPEX model where larger capital investments are required to upgrade or replace aging PBX equipment. Finally, the overall price of communications is expected to be significantly lower than the PBX and conferencing services replaced.
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