Replacing PA system

We are considering Teams voice. If we go through with our plan, it will kill our building-wide emergency alerting system. Right now we leverage every phone’s speaker to make emergency announcements. And, because all that is required is to dial 601# anyone can summon help from any phone.

Is there a feature in Teams that could accomplish this goal - something easy we could empower even the least technically inclined person to use?

I know Teams has chat and that some colleges use SMS messaging but the person in charge of the emergency committee says people will ignore those messages. He would only accept something that works like the amber alert system on cell phones - loud and different from the beeps and blips our phones already make all day.

Do I really have to invest in an overhead PA system?

We’re in the same boat … though we switched to Teams for our main phone system, our old legacy phone system is still in play just for building pages (like you, our paging goes through the old deskphones that still sit on people’s desks). We’ve yet to find an alternative that doesn’t cost a lot of install time and cost.

Today I sent the guy in charge a picture of 10 walkie talkes and said “when power and internet is out and cell towers are down, these will still work.” I don’t know what else to tell him.

I seem to remember when there was an active shooter at Virginia Tech, they sent an alert to student devices. I don’t understand why SMS wouldn’t work for us but the team says people won’t pay attention to it. Either way, it needs to be many-to-many instead of one-to-many. All employees need to be able to page about an emergency situation.

Someone on the Teams facebook group I belong to said this but I don’t understand any of it but maybe you do. lol

you can do it with the right phones and an SBC on premises! We have a SfB + Teams voice enrichment with direct routing, and classroom SIP phones. We configure our physical handsets for multicast …. the paging you are talking about is multicast, so it happens on the network regardless of the voice environment.

We have an AudioCodes SBC (Mediant 1000) for direct routing and it also routes calls between the classrooms and the Teams/Skype environment accounts. Paging phone speakers via a specific number is part of our setup.

That’s a long way of saying: choose phone handsets that can do multicast, and there is a way forward … it’s not a Teams feature, it’s a feature of the phones themselves.

find a Teams reseller / MS partner who can help you. Direct Routing takes some setup. Matt Landis is in PA and is an MVP: Contact - Landis Technologies LLC
OR, talk with AudioCodes and get training with them; they have a Teams setup guide and they have all the hardware, including the phones.

This is just an example: multicast paging setup is on page 86. I don’t happen to have AudioCodes phones, but multicast paging is a feature most phone manufacturers offer.
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I’ve been wondering the same thing as we explore switching to Teams for our phone system. Our PBX is currently hosted on an on-prem VM. We have an ATA that connects the PBX to our buildings PA system that runs over POTS lines throughout the building to different zones.

Is there any method of deploying a Teams phone system that would allow deskphone access to the PA system through an ATA? (that doesn’t break the bank. :slight_smile: )