Tagged: Collaboration

What’s new in Microsoft Teams for September 2018?

There are a some interesting news regarding Microsoft Teams for this/past month (August/September 2018) which I’d like to sum up and share with you:

  1. Skype for Business Online and Teams feature-parity is reached based on the official roadmap (pretty nice!)
    (Cp. external source: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/Microsoft-Teams-is-now-a-complete-meeting-and-calling-solution/ba-p/236042, roadmap https://skypeandteams.blob.core.windows.net/artefacts/Skype%20for%20Business%20to%20Teams%20Capabilities%20Roadmap.pdf)

    1. Messaging feature-parity (for details see above external links)
    2. Meetings feature-parity (for details see above external links)
    3. Calling feature-parity (for details see above external links)
    4. Replace Skype for Business Online over time with Teams
  2. You can now choose your mic and speaker (headset) before joining a Microsoft Teams Call/Conf
    (Cp. external source: https://www.petri.com/microsoft-fixed-one-annoying-aspects-teams)
  3. Microsoft Teams Launches Canada, Australia and Japan Data Residency
    (Cp. external source: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/Microsoft-Teams-Launches-Australia-and-Japan-Data-Residency/ba-p/237827, https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/Microsoft-Teams-Launches-Canada-Data-Residency-Australia-and/ba-p/227178)
  4. I’m also looking forward to Microsoft Ignite 2018 to get some Team news and insights …

Enjoy working with Teams and the extended rich feature set.

Get Microsoft Teams for free to enhance your collaboration expierence if you haven’t yet tried

Do you want to try Microsoft Teams? You can now easily get Teams and evaluate some basic communication and collaboration features for up to 300 people. E.g. unlimited chat, search, 10 GB for storing your team data, 2 GB per person, audio/video meetings (P2P, multiparty), Office Online apps, third party apps and of course internal as well as external communication and collaboration.

For more details go and visit the Microsoft Teams Blog Post: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/Introducing-a-free-version-of-Microsoft-Teams/ba-p/214592

 

What’s new in Cisco Expressway 8.9?

Cisco’s new version of Expressway brings some new features which especially support your video infrastructure in regards of interoperability based on former Acano Edge features.

  • Edge Traversal of Microsoft SIP Traffic for Cisco Meeting Server Supported
  • Meeting Server Web Proxy NOT yet SUPPORTED
  • IM and Presence Service Federation With Skype for Business or Office 365 Organizations Preview
  • Cisco Expressway as H.323 Gatekeeper Supported
  • REST API Expansion Supported
  • Allow Jabber for iPhone and iPad to Use Safari for SSO Over MRA Supported
  • Shared Line / Multiple Line Support for MRA Endpoints Preview
  • Smart Call Home Preview
  • Secure Install Wizard Supported
  • DiffServ Code Point Marking Supported
  • Maintenance Mode For MRA Supported
  • X8.9 Changes and Enhancements Supported

The Cisco Expressway 8.9 release notes are here: http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/td/docs/voice_ip_comm/expressway/release_note/Cisco-Expressway-Release-Note-X8-9.pdf and the Expressway 8.9 admin guide is there: http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/td/docs/voice_ip_comm/expressway/admin_guide/Cisco-Expressway-Administrator-Guide-X8-9.pdf.

Cisco’s new video architecture design based on CMS 2.0

Recently Cisco made some changes for its video backend. The major changes are based on the acquisition of Acano which makes Cisco merging the technology portfolios together. For you as a customer, video backend operator or service user it brings you a more and more collaborative video solution. By the technology product merger old paths of pure video collaboration are left behind and abandoned. Yey!!!! 🙂 Still, you can have your high end video conferencing capabilities but new features and interoperability is added. Why not using them?

Typical Cisco Video Architecture Components

vc_todaystypicalciscovideoinfrastructure2016

  • Internal components for your intranet environment
    • Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) for registering video endpoints and systems plus add audio call capabilities e.g. for (phone) dial-in users
    • Telepresence Server (TPS) / Multi-point control unit (MCU) for video processing
    • Telepresence Conductor for TPS/MCU resource / port allocation (checking if sufficient video capacities are available at a time…)
    • Telepresence Management Suite (TMS) for managing systems
    • Telepresence Management Suite Extension for Exchange (TMSXE) for scheduling telepresence / video resources via Outlook (e.g. for booking a room which includes a video system registered to CUCM…)
    • Video ISDN gateway*
  • External components for your external connectivity (e.g. for B2B video calls, ISDN/H.323, …)
    • Expressway-Core (LAN)
    • Expressway-Edge (DMZ) for firewall traversal

Typical/classical Cisco Video Architecture Deployment Components: 7

Cisco Meeting Server (CMS) 2.0 (formerly known as Acano) Architecture Components

vc_newciscovideoinfrastructure2016

  • Internal components for your intranet environment
    • Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) for registering video endpoints and systems plus add audio call capabilities e.g. for (phone) dial-in users
    • Cisco Meeting Server 2.0 (CMS 2.0) for video processing and bridging (for interop to Skype for Business, Polycom, LifeSize, … sip-capable video endpoints)
    • Telepresence Management Suite (TMS) for managing systems
    • Telepresence Management Suite Extension for Exchange (TMSXE) for scheduling  via Outlook (e.g. for booking a room which includes a video system registered to CUCM…)
    • Video ISDN Gateway*
  • External components for your external connectivity (e.g. for B2B video calls, ISDN/H.323, …)
    • Expressway-Core (LAN)
    • Expressway-Edge (DMZ) for firewall traversal

Cisco Meeting Server 2.0 Video Architecture Deployment Components: 7

* I would not recommend using (legacy) ISDN for video anymore. Go for sip-uri dialing and sip instead of ISDN… Try to get rid of ISDN quickly and train users to utilize sip-uri dialing. Or better, provide OBTP (one button to push). I.e. provide address book services via TMS/TMSXE which enable users to schedule meetings and rooms via their Outlook calendar to go into a room an just press one button to join a video conference (OBTP, one button to push feature). This is a much more convenient and pleasant user experience, isn’t it?

Features and Capabilities

Erm… just 1 component less? Kidding? Well, no, but CMS 2.0 provides massive interoperability for video collaboration. By leveraging your CMS 2.0 video architecture you have tremendous interop advantages compared to an typical and pure Cisco Video Conferencing infrastructure. You can make almost every video endpoint join a video conference!!! It does not really matter if this is a Skype for Business user/endpoint (pc, tablet, mobile, web browser), a Polycom video endpoint, a  LifeSize video endpoint or any other sip-capable video endpoint. That’s really great folks! But wait before you run to upgrade or deploy you should analyse your enterprise business and collaboration stakeholder requirements first.

  • CMS 2.0 is a video bridge bringing together different video endpoints and systems
  • CMS 2.0 is a more dynamic approach where video resources are used dynamically instead of a more static resource allocation by the Telepresence Conductor, e.g. if you have 30 video room sessions in full HD (shared multiparty) and further video sessions are about to start the video resolution is scaled down to still provide video to all video conferences…
    … too avoid something like this the Acano Manager (still Acano) could provide you reporting on your video utilization so that you can add licenses/capacity as needed.
  • CMS 2.0 is collaborative you can have also interactive session sharing desktop screens etc.
  • CMS 2.0 is highly scale-able and distributable, i.e. you can distribute cluster nodes geographically as needed and can also control video call flows/breakouts/…
  • CMS 2.0 can be made highly available

Cisco Video Architecture Design Guides and further resources

What adds and fixes Skype for Business Server 2015 cumulative update 4?

Microsoft released cumulative update (CU) 4  / Nov ’16 for Microsoft Skype for Business Server 2015. The CU adds the following new features:

  • Support of Multiple Emergency Numbers up to 100
  • Support of Location Based Routing for SfB mobile app clients
  • Support of E911 is now supported for SfB Mac 2016 client

Additionally, of course, it includes some fixes (see also Microsoft KB):

  • 3203706 Long silence when you dial into a meeting in Skype for Business Server 2015 that has name recording disabled
  • 3203153 You experience intermittent message delivery delay or failure in Skype for Business Server 2015 Persistent Chat rooms
  • 3203152 Lync Phone Edition telephones cannot put a call on hold if “Music on Hold” feature is disabled
  • 3203148 Front End server of Skype for Business Server 2015 crashes upon restart
  • 3203707 Japanese characters in the subject of a missed call notification message are garbled
  • 3203150 Calls to mobile clients fail if Skype for Business Server 2015 has advanced privacy mode enabled
  • 3203147 LS Storage Service event 32054 after you upgrade to Skype for Business from Lync 2013

For further details please see KB. Download the latest cumulative update (CU) >>here<<  and  read KB article >>here<<.

Team up using Microsoft Teams

Microsoft released the preview of new service based on Office 365, called Teams. Take a look around, the web is already stuffed with loads of information about the new collaborative team service. Below I’ve put together some links pointing to contents about Microsoft Teams worth reading plus the official intro videos from Microsoft.

Microsoft Teams Intro

 

Microsoft Teams: Step-by-Step intro and overview

Microsoft Team Link Dossier

What you should read and know about it:

Advance your Google cloud collaboration with Google’s Jamboard

If you are using Googles Productivity Tools, called G Suite you can now add Google’s Jamboard to your collaboration spaces and rooms. The Jamboard is a collaboration device. What does it offer to you?

  • 55-inch 4k display incl. touch screen
  • HD camera
  • Speakers
  • Wi-Fi
  • Hangouts to broadcast and share contents
  • Whiteboarding
  • Pull in content from Docs
  • Pull in content from Sheets
  • Pull in content from Slides
  • Add photos stored in Drive
  • Make notes
  • Use a versatile set of stencils
  • Use your hand/pen to write
  • Use your hand/pen to draw
  • Approx. < 6.000 US-$ (for information only and without responsibility)
  • Approx. available in 2017 (early adopter program available)

You can find further details and the offi>>here<<.

Google’s G Suite?

[IRONY MODE ON] As I heard and read the name first I thought of jets and pilots (anti gravitation suits: wiki). 😀 Well, the productivity suite by Google is quick and easy to use so helping you boost your productivity without a black-out. 😉 [IRONY MODE OFF] I give you an overview of the G Suite. For details on new capabilities you can click here.

What’s in the G Suite?

The G Suite includes a very nice tool set of cloud productivity apps, tools and services to cover your business productivity’s requirements in a cloud-service-oriented and more and more digitized enterprise:

  • Communication
    • GMAIL
    • Calendar
    • Hangouts (instant messaging, presence, audio, video, …)
    • G+ (social networking)
  • Storage
    • Drive
  • Collaboration
    • Docs (rich text editing)
    • Sheets (rich calculation)
    • Forms (rich forms/flows)
    • Slides (rich presentations)
    • Sites (rich sites internal/external web sites/portals)
  • Admin
    • Admin (portal to administer and manage accounts and the G Suite features for your company useres)
    • Vault (archiving of chats, mails …)

What does it offer and cost?

Well, it depends on what features you subscribe to and for how many users. There are two pricing categories (G Suite Pricing and features) at the moment of writing this post (pricing might be subject to change). These two categories are called Basic and Business and include the following features and services:

  • G Suite Basic for 5 US-$ or 4 € per user per month
    • Business email addresses (name@yourcompany.com)
    • Video and voice calls
    • Integrated online calendars
    • 30GB of online storage for file syncing and sharing
    • Online text documents, spreadsheets and slides
    • Easy to create project sites
    • Security and admin controls
    • 24/7 phone and email support
  • G Suite Business for 10 US-$ or 8 € per user per month
    • Business email addresses (name@yourcompany.com) [as with G Suite Basic]
    • Video and voice calls [as with G Suite Basic]
    • Integrated online calendars [as with G Suite Basic]
    • Online text documents, spreadsheets and slides [as with G Suite Basic]
    • Easy to create project sites [as with G Suite Basic]
    • Security and admin controls [as with G Suite Basic]
    • 24/7 phone and email support [as with G Suite Basic]
    • Unlimited Storage (or 1TB per user if fewer than 5 users) [additional to G Suite Basic features]
    • Advanced admin controls for Drive [additional to G Suite Basic features]
    • Audit and reporting insights for Drive content and sharing [additional to G Suite Basic features]
    • Google Vault for eDiscovery covering emails, chats, docs and files [additional to G Suite Basic features]
    • Easily search and export to different formats [additional to G Suite Basic features]
    • Archive all emails sent by your company [additional to G Suite Basic features]
    • Set message retention policies [additional to G Suite Basic features]
    • Place and enforce litigation holds on inboxes [additional to G Suite Basic features]

When could this fit?

There is no general answer to this question. If it fits for your company or not depends on your requirements (!) for collaboration based on your business requirements. So first of all you should set a target communication and collaboration architecture for your individual business requirements within your company.

Get your video room systems and Skype for Business together #2

As mentioned in an earlier blog post there are several options available to get your video room systems and Skype for Business together (see previous post). Today I like to mention another option for video room systems and Skype for Business: West Unified Communication Services (hereinafter: West) offers another option: The West Video Meeting Gateway.

About West

West is company with its headquarter located  Omaha, Nebraska, USA. It has a global footprint employing approximately 11.000 people in total distributed in different countries and world regions: the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America. (West FAQ) West is a leader for UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) as stated by Gartner (Globalnewswire, Gartner MQ UCaaS 2016). West shares are traded on the NASDAQ (Marketwatch).

What could it contribute to your enterprise video collaboration?

The West Video Meeting Gateway (VMG) is a cloud service wich connects Skype for Business Online, Skype for Business, Lync 2013, Lync 2010 and H.323/SIP video endpoints. The VMG checks what is coming in number/SIP-URI and routes the call to the appropriate destination / endpoint. Within that routing protocols/standards are converted if necessary that video communication and collaboration can take place as intended.