What’s New in Team Collaboration: The PBX With Microsoft Teams
Micah Singer Talks Channel Opportunities for SkySwitch Resellers
At Vectors 2019, TMC’s Editorial Director, Erik Linask, spoke with Micah Singer, Managing Director of TeamMate Technology. Watch the interview to learn all about the channel opportunities that await SkySwitch resellers when it comes to the evolution of Team Collaboration software, like Microsoft Teams, and how it works with the PBX.
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Full Video Transcript Below
Erik Linask: We are here at day two in Orlando, Florida for Vectors 2019. Joining me this afternoon is Micah Singer from TeamMate Technology. Micah, great to see you.
Micah Singer: Thanks for having me. Really appreciate the time.
Erik Linask: So you know, we’re getting to the second half of day two here, what are we seeing and what are your impressions from the first day and a half?
Micah Singer: I feel like it’s a really energized group of resellers and MSPs here. SkySwitch has done a great job of, I’d say, staying really current with the market. So, a lot of the things they’re talking about seem like right in the strike zone of what this group wants and can sell. So, a very, very compelling event.
Erik Linask: But you know, you’ve been in this industry for a little while, but you’ve got a new startup now. Tell us a little about that.
Micah Singer: Yeah. So I’ve been in the, more or less, PBX space for about a dozen years. My background is, I was the founder and CEO of VoIP Logic and sold to Broad Soft a few years ago. And really, as I looked around the team collaboration space or software, the developments in that category have just been really compelling. It feels like a whole new opportunity.
You know, it’s this promise that we’ve heard about for so many years, about different kinds of business and enterprise software coming together in one place, including communications. Companies like Slack, and I’d say Microsoft and Cisco and Google, have really done a great job of leading the way with these platforms. And, you know, I feel that the PBX still has an extremely important role to play.
So TeamMate Technology was built and what we were founded to do is integrate the PBX with team collaboration software. So, what we’re doing is, we’ve built a piece of cloud software running Azure, and it speaks SIP and it speaks API’s and it basically turns these team collaboration platforms into softphones, for any PBX.
Erik Linask: So there are certainly those who can argue that you don’t need your additional PBX vendor anymore. You can do it all using Microsoft or, you know, some of the other providers out there. You don’t buy into that.
Micah Singer: Yeah, it’s a fair argument. And I recently posted on LinkedIn and there’s two sides and they’re strongly passionate. So there’s definitely a group that feels that is potentially true. And there’s a real strong push for the PBX still – I think it depends on how you use the PBX.
So, for light PBX users, I think things like the features of Microsoft Teams are actually maybe a replacement. But I think a lot of people still use the PBX for what it was meant to do: called complex call control. You know, voice communication among large teams, extension dialing, and they’ve integrated a lot of historical systems, like for compliance, HIPAA, or FINRA and reporting.
So I think we’re in a transition phase for sure. But I think the PBX will be a generational change. It’ll take many years before it sort of goes into the sunset.
Erik Linask: Well, and you know, I was talking with Jeff Pulver yesterday, right here. And he made the point, and I have to agree with him, that voice just is not going away. And the things that business users do with voice isn’t going to change all that quickly. So, the PBX is still going to be needed.
Micah Singer: Yeah, I mean, one point I hear all the time, and people talk about the PBX going away, but I mean, let’s face it – if you tried to sell a PBX from 20 years ago today, you wouldn’t get any business, so the PBX has really evolved already. And what it does looks really different. It’s a lot. It’s starting to be a lot more integrated with desktop computing and mobile and other places.
But, I mean, voice isn’t going away as you said, and PBX will evolve. And I think it will present really nicely and some of these other collaboration tools can be continued with meaningful use.
Erik Linask: So, what does it take to make that connection between teams and the PBXs that these resellers here this week are bringing to market?
Micah Singer: SIP; SIP is really important. So, it takes the ability to translate lots of different, essential information coming from API’s, from Teams, or Slack or other systems into SIP instructions for the PBX. So PBX speaks SIP and you have to speak SIP if you want to work with them. So for us, that’s meant building a web app that is intermingled with a SIP proxy, a form of SIP proxy that we’ve built from the ground up to support this integration.
Erik Linask: And so how does that all work? What’s your relationship with SkySwitch as a result of that?
Micah Singer: I’ve known SkySwitch for a while. Originally as competitors, mainly, and I have a lot of respect for what they’ve done and for bringing things to market in a timely fashion.
A lot of what you see here today, a lot of why people come to this event is to learn. And, they were one of the first to really believe what I’m selling can be used in their reseller and MSP base. So they’re an early adopter, we’re getting close to launch with them, something that will be made available to this crowd as one of the first offerings that we’ve done as a new company.
Erik Linask: Excellent. Well, we certainly look forward to seeing that. Thanks for being with us here and enjoy the rest of Vectors 2019.
Micah Singer: Thank you very much.