Tagged: Collaboration

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). ūüėÄ Well, the productivity suite by Google is quick and easy to use so helping you boost your productivity without a black-out. ūüėȬ†[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 ‚ā¨ 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 ‚ā¨ 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.

Get your video room systems and Skype for Business Online together

In spring this year, Polycom and Microsoft announced that they work on delivering a video interoperability service in the cloud to get your video room systems and Skype for Business¬†Online together (http://www.polycom.com/company/news/press-releases/2016/20160309.html,¬†http://www.lyncinsider.com/office-365/microsoft-positioning-office-365-future-cloud-voice-video/). ¬†I rarely find a collaboration environment with only one or the other solution. Most conferencing and ¬†collaboration deployments have been growing and changing over time, as usual. Unfortunately not putting the user experience and collaboration experience in the center as key to a satisfying and successful collaboration service delivery. As you may know, if you have a versatile set of video room systems from Cisco, Lifesize, Polycom … on one side and Skype for Business users on the other side… not nice but often available and common equipment… Finally users get different modalities, handling and connectivity … which are neither unified nor really collaborative. So if you are the lucky¬†collaboration expert¬†in your enterprise and you have to explain¬†users why system x does not work like or / with system z¬†as soon as they complain you might find relief with the new option? Put things together by leveraging the new offered service for video interoperability.

What does it look like? Well, you can put systems together via Polycom RealConnect hosted on Azure and operated by Polycom. The cloud video interop service enables you to use video room systems and Skype for Business Online alike.

Take a look here >>SfB Video Broadcast: Ep. 25 Video Interop in the Cloud<<

Take a look around on Microsoft’s new office workspaces in Munich

Microsoft Germany re-located its German headquarter from Munich Unterschleißheim to Munich Schwabing. For impressions on the new look and feel of the Microsoft workspaces a public press release can found by clicking on the following link: http://www.manager-magazin.de/unternehmen/it/neue-microsoft-zentrale-in-schwabing-clean-desks-fuer-nomaden-a-1114368.html

NextGen Skype for Business Room Systems arrive soon

To make your meeting rooms a more collaborative space there are several options. Now I like to make you aware about one option: Microsoft Skype for Business Room Systems (earlier known as Project Rigel). To put it in a nutshell, the SFB Room Systems are collaboration room endpoints to enable your rooms for collaboration by using Skype for Business-capabilities.

Due to the fact that these systems are almost like SFB users you’ll only need to create an SFB Meeting Room via Shell and on Exchange you’ll need to associated it / enabled it as resource (room) mailbox for calendar / booking integration. For further details on the deployment of SFB Rooms please click the following link (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt691568.aspx).

In my opinion these SFB Room Systems could help to close a gap in conferencing rooms where no collaboration systems are available and the capabilities are required.

Don’t forget a change management for your UC&C service deployment!

Unified Communication and collaboration (UC&C) service deployments¬†do have a large-scale impact on your business. If well planned and executed a positiv one which supports the return on (your) investment over time. I’m writing this post because I’ve seen the excellent, the good and the bad adoption strategy realization. Some companies struggle and some do very well. I like to write down some notes which might be helpful for the one or the other to reach a good or even excellent adoption strategy realization.

Why is change management important for your UC&C service?

UC&C is very holistic because it is not just one service it’s a bunch of services for communications and collaboration. We all know that many IT infrastructure services are touched or involved in a properly functioning UC&C environment. That IT provides the fitting services to business should be standard. However it is not always the case. Users which keep the core business running and who will not receive what they need are¬†more and more creative. In other words users might try to find and obtain the required service somewhere else to close the gap between provided IT services and requested IT services. But sometimes there are services provided by IT, like UC&C services but users are not aware of the features and how to use them. To put it in a nutshell if you have a car but do not know how to drive you will switch to and use what you know, so you’ll might ride a horse or bicycle instead of driving a car. So the car than stays where it is. If you bought it or pay a leasing rate there is no added value, on contrary you lose money. The same applies for IT services and UC&C. There are differences¬†between IT¬†services (direct / indirect services for users). UC&C is a direct service ¬†(or bunch of direct services) because users will directly interact with the applications and devices providing UC&C capabilities.¬†For instance database services or network services are indirect services because users are not directly interacting with these kind of services. To sum it up it is essential to plan for user adoption and training before rolling out all UC&C services and features to end users. Additionally I must also note that change management is always a good thing if your IT clients, users by default, are going to be confronted with new technology, services and organizational transformation. Don’t leave anyone behind! By using a car you can go more kilometers a day instead of going by horse or bicycle. ūüėČ

What can I do?

You could implement an adequate project change management which¬†accompanies your UC&C project. It will help you to …

  • establish and execute a strategy for the change to an UC&C service
  • plan and execute user communication
  • plan and execute users involvement (surveys, discussions, service previews/demos, …)
  • enable users (trainings, FAQs, wiki pages, handouts, video clips, …)
  • enable service for users (roll out / activation of services, disable / decommissioning legacy service (if applicable))

change-management

What can I provide my users to adopt UC&C?

It is common for¬†vendors which provide applications and services for users to have supportive information and material available. Below you will find some examples what it can be like. It’s just some basic information. Depending on what the UC&C changes will be and look like within your organisation more and also customized material might be necessary. It’s no big deal but it must be taken into account for project planning.

Some resources for Microsoft Skype for Business

Some resources for Cisco Collaboration Services

Let’s start your project, make a change and improve things! ūüėČ

Hands-on Headset – Plantronics Voyager

In diesem Beitrag möchte ich kurz zwei Headsets vorstellen. Headsets sind sehr wichtige und leider häufig unterschätze Elemente einer Collaboration Architektur.

Headsets – Ein Element eines guten Collaboration Services f√ľr Endanwender

In meinen Collaboration Projekten geht es immer um den Endanwender. Die technologische Infrastruktur ¬†ist nur einer von vielen Inhalten einer Collaboration L√∂sung bzw. Architektur. Mit einer Collaboration Plattform,¬†wie beispielsweise Microsoft Skype for Business Server 2015, Skype for Business Online o.√§. decke ich nur einen Baustein eines modernen Arbeitsplatzes ab. Allein die Bereitstellung des Plattform ist nicht genug, um eines hohe Akzeptanz und Zufriedenheit bei den Endanwendern zu gewinnen. Die Plattform, die Clients, die Peripherie, das Netzwerk, der physikalische Arbeitsplatz, der Service/Support … muss stimmen. F√ľr Silos ist bei ganzheitlichen und exzellenten Collaboration Services kein Platz!

Vor ein paar Tagen habe ich zwei Plantronics Headsets f√ľr unterschiedliche Einsatzzwecke bzw. Arbeitsplatz-Profile erhalten. Diese habe ich bis jetzt getestet. Unten meine kurze Zusammenfassung des Testergebnisses.

Plantronics Voyager Foucs UC (#OfficeWorker)

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Weitere Informationen: http://www.plantronics.com/de/product/voyager-focus-uc

Plantronics Voyager Legend UC (#MobileWorker)

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Weitere Informationen: http://www.plantronics.com/de/product/voyager-legend-uc

Zusammenfassung der Test-Tage

Profile

Ich habe die Headsets bis jetzt ein paar Tage testen k√∂nnen. Jedes jeweils ein paar Tage. Und auch ausschlie√ülich, soll hei√üen, dass ich tags√ľber das Headset nicht gewechselt habe.

Office Worker

Somit habe ich einerseits die typische Kommunikation mit dem Voyager Focus UC¬†im B√ľro getestet.

Mobile Worker

Andererseits habe ich noch die Kommunikation von unterwegs mit dem Voyager Legend UC getestet bzw. in anderen B√ľros (quasi nicht prim√§ren B√ľros).

Bedienung

Die Bedienung und Kopplung per Kabel/Dongle/Bluetooth an das jeweilige (Voice) Endger√§te ist benutzerfreundlich und unkompliziert. Unter anderem habe ich die Kopplung der Headsets mit mehreren Bluetooth Endpunkten (Notebook via Dongle und Smartphone) getestet. Diese ist sehr praktisch und funktionierte in meinen Tests einwandfrei (iPhone, Skype for Business, Jabber, Acano, Spark, WebEx, …).

Klang

Der Klang war bei beiden Headsets sehr gut. Das Focus UC war vor allem im B√ľro sehr angenehm, da es via Acoustic Noise Cancelation (ACN) Umgebungs-Ger√§usche herausgefiltert hat, d. h. bei meinen Telefonaten hat das Telefonat meiner Kollegen nicht gest√∂rt. Deren Telefonat floss somit nicht in meins ein, das gleiche galt f√ľr Stra√üenger√§usche bei ge√∂ffnetem B√ľrofenster o.√§.

Tragekomfort

Außerdem punkten beide Headsets mit hohem Tragekomfort. Das Focus UC kann quasi den ganzen Arbeitstag bequem getragen werden, auch wenn ich sehr viele Telefonate und Collaboration Sessions mit Audio hatte. Das Legend UC habe ich meist an Arbeitstagen mit viel Aktivität bzw. Standortwechsel eingesetzt und meist bedarfsorientiert bei ein-/ausgehenden Anrufen aufgesetzt. Auch wenn das Legend UC auf den ersten Blick etwas groß wirkt, so hatte dies keine Auswirkungen auf den Tragekomfort, selbst mit Brille nicht.

Akku

Ich habe es weder beim Focus noch beim Legend geschafft den Akku an einem Arbeitstag bei sehr hoher Nutzung leer zu bekommen. Abends habe ich die Headsets nach Nutzung in das jeweilige Ladegeräte gestellt.

Software und Apps

Die Installation der Plantronics App auf dem Smartphone erscheint mir sinnvoll, denn damit l√§sst sich die Verwendung des Headsets je nach Wunsch anpassen. Die App bietet gegen√ľber den Standards auf beispielsweise einem iPhone 5s einige Einstellungen, die ich ohne App nicht einstellen k√∂nnte. Auf dem Notebook/PC habe ich mir die zus√§tzliche Software von Plantronics nicht installiert, da ich bereits mit den Standards des Headsets und Notebooks/PCs ausgekommen bin. Sicherlich k√∂nnte die Software f√ľr Notebook/PC etc. f√ľr bestimmte Endanwender bzw. das Enterprise Device Management von Headsets interessant sein. Sollte ich mir diese in Zukunft noch ansehen, werde ich dazu einen Blogbeitrag nachliefern.

Fazit

Beide Headsets eigenen sich sehr gut f√ľr die jeweiligen Arbeitsplatzprofile (Office Worker, Mobile Worker). Im B√ľro nutze ich meist das Focus, manchmal aber auch das Legend. Gerade wenn ich unterwegs bin, in verschiedenen B√ľros (Geb√§uden, Standorten, Auto, Flughafen …), so ist das Legend UC mein Favorit, da es bei Reisen mit leichtem Gep√§ck kaum Platz kostet. Zudem ist die¬†Box f√ľr die Aufbewahrung des Legend UC ein Akku-Pack, welches das Legend UC¬†l√§dt w√§hrend es darin aufbewahrt wird. Vorausgesetzt man l√§dt die Box vorher. ūüėČ Abschlie√üend kann ich sagen, dass mir beide Headsets gefallen. In den jeweiligen Arbeitsplatz-Profilen sehe ich diese als geeignete Peripherie bzw. Elemente f√ľr eine Collaboration Architektur bzw. einen guten Collaboration Service.