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Bill Gates Imagines Future Meeting Room Application With Office Fully Integrated Into Experience

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Microsoft keeps working toward the ultimate meeting experience. From the enterprise side we have Microsoft Lync meetings in the desktop app, browser or mobile to the full Lync Room System. On the consumer side Skype now has Group Video and Group Screen sharing.

But according to a recent VanityFair interview, it sounds like Gates and Nadella are still envisioning a better meeting experience in the form of a new “meeting-room application” that does everything from sharing notes to videoconferencing inside one application:

“If the Gordian knots that lie ahead faze Gates at all, he doesn’t show it. He says his next meeting is with “one of the genius guys who’s really pushing this idea that when you write an application you don’t write an application for this thing and then another application for that thing and another application for this thing. When you fire up the meeting-room application, everybody’s machine has a part of this meeting-room application.” His idea is that once you’ve launched—call it Meeting Room Plus—you can do everything that needs to be done, from sharing notes to videoconferencing, without having to pause to open something else up. “On that one, I think we’ll take the lead,” says Gates. “That’s a very cool thing, and it does kind of trump what’s come before.”

“I think that’s a great way to think about it,” says Nadella. “Let’s say we walk into this room. There are cameras there that recognize each one of us, automatically log us into a shared whiteboard, rendezvous the machines you have, a phone or a tablet, so that you can share things.”

Does this mean that Microsoft Office will get integrated into a Microsoft Lync and/or Skype meeting experience? It does sound like this what is being envisioned. And considering Office Web App PowerPoint functionality is already surfaced inside Microsoft Lync meetings this certainly is the current trajectory and even more integration that includes things like OneNote and beyond is easily imaginable. This is also one area that Microsoft has the ability to differentiate unlike some other vendors in the meeting space.

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And walk into the room and have it recognize and join you to the shared meeting and whiteboard? Sounds like Nadella is suggesting a kind of “No-Click Join” experience that could make a very natural meeting join experience and shave off those couple minutes fiddling around joining a meeting when you are standing right in front of the meeting you want to join.

Obviously this is all ideas on the future, not any concrete products, but still interesting to see the future envisioned.

Read the whole Vanity Fair interview here.

Vanity Fair (page 5 of 6)
http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2014/11/satya-nadella-bill-gates-steve-ballmer-microsoft#
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2692978/bill-gates-microsoft-is-developing-a-killer-meeting-room-app.html
http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-continues-its-quest-for-the-perfect-meeting-room-bundle-7000034516

snom m65 DECT Phone with Multi-Cell Roaming

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Looks like snom has released a DECT portable phone with multi-cell roaming capability. At the moment it appears to have standard SIP firmware. Since snom is quite Lync focused, what about Lync? Well, like other SIP devices, integration with a gateway could be an option, but this is no more compelling than various other DECT vendors and Spectralink does have a Lync DECT solution. (I have no word from snom if there is Lync firmware/Lync qualification is in the making)

There appears to be 2 base stations coming:

  • M700 (single cell or mutli-cell roaming)
  • M300 (single cell base station, no roaming)

Also, in other news from snom it looks like they are unveiling a new logo, which looks like an improvement to me:

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Web:
http://www.snom.com/en/products/dect-wireless/m65/

Datasheet:
http://www.snom.com/fileadmin/redakteure/05_downloads/DECT/snom_Datasheet_M65_en_1-0-0.pdf

Using Hyper-V & Enhanced Session For Your Lync Lab

In the past the lack of support for audio devices made it awkward to use Hyper-V as a Lync lab but with the new “Enhanced Session” capabilities it seems that your next Lync lab may run nicely on a Windows 8.1 Enterprise PC with Hyper-V Client. (Of course we are talking a tiny lab. and if it’s a tiny lab, can you even fit it on a Surface Pro 3?)

Does Hyper-V Client Now Support Audio?

Yes, it does. Just make sure you are running  Windows 8.1 Enterprise or Server 2012 or newer inside the VM. And then turn on “Enhanced Session”: View |  Enhanced Session. The Disconnect from the VM and Connect” again. Now you will get the “Enhanced Session” configuration window.

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Now click on “Show Options” | Local Resources | Settings and make sure “Play on the computer” and “Record from the computer” are enabled so a device is passed to the VM and Lync has audio devices.

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You can edit/save these settings later by going to the Hyper-V Manager, right-click the VM and click “Edit Session Settings”.

Can I have two VM sharing the same speaker & Microphones?

From my testing it seems to work just fine. Each VM will allow you to set the volume of that VM. I did not see a way to give different VM’s different audio devices. (perhaps I overlooked something?)

What happens if I call from one VV Lync client to another VM on the same Host Sharing the same Speaker/Mic?

Well, of course this needed immediate testing. So you have 2 Lync clients in 2 different VM’s sharing the same host speaker and microphone…what on earth will happen? Nothing spectacular other than the normal squawking feedback. (I was expecting an explosion.)

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What do the audio settings look like in Lync?

Below:

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Let’s Push Our Luck, What About a Video Camera?

So far I couldn’t make it work, but didn’t spend much time…

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I will add any other anomalies and interesting things I find.

Lync Anonymous Response Group Limitations and Field Notes

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Lync Server Response Groups can be setup to “Enable agent anonymity”. Enabling agent anonymity, or, Anonymous Response Groups, will hide the agent (Lync user who is answering the RGS call or making a call on behalf of a RGS) from the incoming caller and allow users to call out as a Response Group instead of as themselves.

How Does a RGS Agent Call Out as an RGS?

Pretty much just like they would if they were a Delegate for another user. If a Lync user/Agent is a part of a RGS that is enabled for agent anonymity, there will be another item in the “Call” dropdown for the RGS. (shown below)

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There are some limitations and quirks to be aware of when implementing anonymous response groups.

Anonymous Call Limitations

  • No conferencing, application sharing, desktop sharing, file transfer, white boarding, data collaboration or call recording. (source: click here)
  • Anonymous calls cannot start with IM or video and bump up to audio

Quirks

  • Handset Answers Instead of Headset when answering with Lync toast
  • Blind Transfer won’t go to voicemail (like Blind transfer) and won’t return user who transferred the call (like Safe transfer)

Handset Answers Instead of Headset when answering with Lync Toast

If a Lync user answering anonymous RGS calls has both a Handset (ie: Lync Phone Edition) and a Headset with the Headset selected as the “Primary Device” (as shown below)  if the user answers with the Lync call toast (versus answering via Headset button) the call will actually be answered on the Handset.

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Blind Transfers Won’t Go To Voicemail or Return to User That Transferred the Call

If a user receives an anonymous RGS call and blind transfers the call to another user, if the call is not answered the caller won’t go to voicemail (like Blind transfer) and won’t return user who transferred the call (like Safe transfer) but the call will just ring endlessly until the caller hangs up.

Below is the official verbiage that I think is trying to convey this message: (source: click here)

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Official RGS config page:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg412827(v=ocs.14).aspx

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2014: Microsoft Lync Takes Lead from Cisco

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Cisco and Microsoft have been vying for the top of the Gartner Unified Communications “Leader” quadrant for some time and, according to Jamie Stark (Product Manager Microsoft Lync), Microsoft has taken the lead from Cisco in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Unified Communications 2014 report that was published August 4, 2014 by Bern Elliot & Steve Blood. The report is available here.

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Here is the 2014 Magic Quadrant:

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Some of my quick observations on the 2014 Magic Quadrant UC Report after a quick scan:

  • Microsoft pulls ahead of Cisco on “Completeness of Vision” and ties on “Ability to Execute” (from what my eye can see)
  • Mitel moves into Leader quadrant click here
    • Interesting to note that Mitel purchased several Lync products this year Click Here
  • Siemens Enterprise Communication became Unify and dropped from “Leaders” to “Visionary” quadrant

Below is the motion of UC players from 2006 to 2014 by Gartner. Microsoft has been the Top vendor in the Leader Quadrant for all but 2 years between 2006 and 2014. (if you want a YouTube version of below video that you can pause click here)

2006-2014 Gartner Quadrant

I will write some more thoughts on the report after I more thoroughly read the report.

You can get the full Gartner 2014 UC report via Microsoft with no sign up/1 click, click here

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2014 Gartner Unified Communications Report: (August 4, 2014)
http://my.gartner.com/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=260&mode=2&PageID=3460702&resId=2814519

2012 and 2013 Reports:
http://windowspbx.blogspot.com/2013/08/gartner-magic-quadrant-for-unified.html

Microsoft Analyst Reports:
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/itanalyst/

Commentary on Gartner 2014 Report:
http://www.ucstrategies.com/unified-communications-strategies-views/gartner-uc-magic-quadrant-2014-a-clear-picture-of-the-changing-landscape.aspx

Other: Click Here