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Plantronics Calisto 620 M Review: Portable Bluetooth Speaker Phone Device For PC and Mobile

Another interesting device has been added to the Microsoft Lync Qualified Devices list: The Plantronics Calisto 620M bluetooth speakerphone. This device will work in an office environment where you want the speakerphone to be where a cable won’t reach nicely or especially as a part of your portable equipment suite.

Here is the video review:

This device comes in a Microsoft edition and an edition for everyone else: Plantronics Calisto 620M and Plantronics Calisto 620.

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Below is what comes with the Calisto 620: Manuals, Cover, Wall outlet charging cord and the Calisto 620 and bluetooth dongle.

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Below is the Calisto 620 with all the buttons lit during startup.

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For portable scenarios, the Bluetooth dongle stows nicely on the bottom of the unit. As in common in many newer devices, the battery seems to be not readily removed/replaced.

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During normal powered on state, the 620 will have no LED’s lit. Just press any button to see if the unit is powered on.

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The 620 with the Bluetooth dongle plugged into laptop.

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The 620 will have the Charging LED’s light when plugged in. There is no battery charge level indication on the device. (as a matter of fact the Plantronics Spokes tray software didn’t show the level either from my tests)

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I was surprised that the tray software  (Plantronics Spokes software) did not show battery level (but perhaps I’m missing something?) Where I expect the battery level is just said---BATTERY LEVEL! Winking smile

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The icon changes when the device is charging…

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The device is VERY easy to setup, just slide the power switch to the middle position, plug the USB dongle into your PC and all drivers for Lync will load automatically. (No Plantronics Spokes needed to interact with Lync. Plantronics Spokes merely adds more settings change ability, the above tray app and firmware update ability)

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The Plantronics Spokes software is not needed for basic Lync usage but does add the above tray app, ability to change more settings and do firmware updates if available. The spokes software is something you will need to manually download and install. (Since the download was less that 1MB I was expecting a quick install…but it was not as quick as I expected.)

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How big is the device?

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How does it compare to the Jabra Speak 410 USB speaker phone in size?

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Since the Calisto 620 is Bluetooth it can connect to your PC and Mobile phone at the same time---very nice!

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My wrap up thoughts on the Plantronics Calisto 620

  • A very nice, portable, Bluetooth speaker device to come to the Lync eco-system (and beyond)
  • Ability to be connected to PC and mobile device at the same time is a benefit over a USB device.
  • In my informal tests the audio quality seemed better on a USB connected device vs. this Bluetooth device—(could be explained by wireless nature of Bluetooth?)
  • My thought is a battery level indicator at a glance might be good addition
  • The tone & volume of the volume change indicator is a bit loud and long for my tastes, but that is a small and personal opinion
  • The device can be charged via wall power or USB: wall charges unit in 1.5hr and USB takes 2.5 hr
  • I thought perhaps you could use the device as a USB device when plugged into PC via USB, but that is not the case (and not important, just a curiosity issue)
  • This device will cost around $149

 

Read more about the Calistro 620 on Plantronics site:
http://www.plantronics.com/us/product/calisto-600?skuId=sku6250018&gclid=CKHAhpzB9LMCFYZM4Aod4F4AWQ

How to Enable Skype to Lync 2010/2013 Instant Message/Presence Federation Right Now

I was testing the UC capabilities of the Surface RT and loaded and logged into the Surface Skype app. I was greeted with a message “Merge Your Accounts” (skype and Live Messenger). After this one-click process…Skype to Microsoft Lync 2010/2013 seems to be enabled!

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The federation is only IM and presence, but a great start. Below you see Skype for Surface RT running on the left and Lync 2010 running and receiving an IM on the left.

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Skype showing Lync 2010 contact presence in the Surface RT Skype app. Note that presence is merely available and invisible.

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If you have any more tips using this new federation capability, please post comment.

Lync 2010 Training Resources List


-Lync 2010 Attendant Training: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=11472
-Outlook Voice Access/VoiceMail Reference Sheet (choose your languague even!): http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=20772
-PowerPoint Lync Training: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=16547
-How To Video Training for each individual thing: http://office.microsoft.com/client/helpcategory.aspx?CategoryID=CL101833114&lcid=1033&NS=COMM14&Version=14
-Lync Adoption/Training Kit: http://lync.microsoft.com/adoption-and-training-kit/Pages/default.aspx
-Polycom CX600 phone tutorial: http://www.polycom.com/products-services/products-for-microsoft/lync-optimized/cx3000-desktop-phone.html?playVideo=Video_Polycom_CX600_Interactive_Tutorial

Review of Microsoft Surface RT as UC Communication Device

 

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Will a communication device similar to Surface RT or iPad one day take the place on your desk where your phone is currently sitting? Not only providing voice but every other mode of communication like presence, IM, Desktop sharing, meeting and video?

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Lync 2013 for Windows 8 (aka Lync 2013 Windows Store App):

  • The Lync Windows Store App provides a clean, touch oriented Lync experience for Windows 8
  • The new Lync 2013 Windows Store App is considerably different than the Lync 2013 PC App as it is a Windows8/Metro/Modern/What-ever-we-are-supposed-to-call-it design, but shouldn’t take too long to acclimate to
  • USB Lync Optimized devices work as audio devices, but call control does not work. (CX300 and Jabra410 tested) For example: hangup/pickup buttons do not work.
    • Verified that this does not work on Windows 8 for PC either.
  • Navigation into Contacts screen seems sluggish. (this seems to be a Surface RT issue as Lync for PC is much
  • A very small item, but there are no emoticons available when you are using the Touch or Type keyboard. (perhaps a bit of a Surface design issue as there are emoticons built into the onscreen keyboard—but since the onscreen keyboard is not there when using the Touch or Type keyboard they are missing)

Below is the main Lync 2013 Windows Store App running on Surface RT:WP_000830

My Lync 2013 Windows Store App Overview Video

UC/Communications

  • The built in mic provides excellent audio using the Lync 2013 Windows Store App
    • a colleague I called kept asking “you are just using the built-in Surface mic?” ;-)
  • the Surface RT is not Lync Optimized at this time.
  • Cameras, both front and rear, have a white round LED to let you know when you are on cam. (nice)
  • Front facing Camera is angled to be used with kick stand up.
  • Note: Unlike a laptop that you can easily change the angle of the cam, with the surface you either need to accept the kickstand angle given (which is good) or hold or prop it with something.

Thoughts on Surface RT in General

  • The Surface “content consumer” to “productivity” conversion is impressive in my opinion: just “slap” on the magnetic keyboard and open Office 2013.
  • The kickstand lives up to its well engineered hype—it is excellent fit, finish and operation
  • has a short power cord (in fairness, you should not have to plug it in throughout day)
  • Magnet power cord connector does not "pop" off because of edges, negating some of the “magnetic coolness” factor
  • my fingers seem to slip off the little grips to open the kick stand. (perhaps just me?)
  • After being a Windows Phone user I personally miss the “Back” button.
  • I’m very impressed with the Touch Cover, it takes very little getting used to
    • One surprise about the cover is that the touch pad has left and right click buttons
    • The bottom of the keyboard is a grey, soft fabric and sets on a desk nicely.
  • Does the Surface with Touch Keyboard work on your lap?
    • I found that it works okay on your lap (for chair only conference session scenarios)
    • The keyboard is not rigid so it tends to flex on your lap and also remember the weight is in the screen (opposite of a laptop)
  • I’ve tested several USB devices with Surface RT with below results
    • USB thumb drives seem to work just fine
    • USB Microsoft Wireless Mouse 3000 works just fine
    • As noted earlier, Lync audio devices work as a Mic/Speaker, but not for Lync call control (hangup/pickup)’
  • If you are planning to use your Surface RT with a printer, make sure the printer is supported on ARM/Surface RT platform---printer compatibility is limited.

To See Lync Windows Store App Compared to Other Lync Editions:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg425836.aspx

Microsoft Lync 2013 Availability and Pricing: Dec 1, 2012 and Lync Standard Edition to Increase Dramatically

 

Lync2013-priceincreaseJust this morning our Microsoft Licensing specialist/TPAM, Jessica Harrison, gave us a heads up that Microsoft Lync 2013 licensing will be available December 1, 2012 and noted some pricing changes.

A couple things to keep in mind:

  • All Lync User CALs will be increasing 15% on December 1, 2012
  • Lync Server 2013 will be a MSRP of $3,646 USD (with no price distinction between Enterprise and Standard Server)
  • This means that after Dec 1, 2012, Lync Standard Edition pricing will effectively go from $695 USD to $3646 USD (Open Business Standard)
  • [update] External Connector License for Microsoft Lync Server 2013 is no longer needed.
    • “With the 2013 versions of Exchange Server, Lync Server and SharePoint Server, we are consolidating the right for External Users to access the server under the server license assigned to the server on which the software runs.” Source: http://linkd.in/UpT8pk
  • The new Lync 2013 Basic client (slim version) appears to have no SKU (there is now a Lync 2013 PC client (full featured) and Lync 2013 Basic PC client (slim/limited features)) 

Other Questions

  • Q. Will Microsoft Lync SBA (Survivable Branch Appliance) pricing change?
    • A. At this time our SBA vendors have not noted any pricing changes in relation to Lync 2013 SBA.
  • Q. Will Microsoft Lync 2013 Basic (as opposed to Lync 2013 full PC client) be free?
    • A. At this time there appears to be no SKU for Lync 2013 Basic.

Actions You Should Take:

  • If you were planning to buy Microsoft Lync Server Standard Edition: Order Open Value or Open Business with SA Licenses before November 25, 2012
  • If you want Landis Computer Technology Solutions to help you get Lync Standard at current prices before November 25, 2012 increases, fill proposal request form: click here.

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Why the increase in Lync Server 2013 Standard Edition licensing? (I am not Microsoft, so don’t beat the messenger and below is my attempt at a guess at a rational)

  • Could be explained by Microsoft as simplifying Lync Server licensing? (okay, that was weak)
  • Lync Server 2013 does add enhanced failover features that make it much simpler to have a SE FE failover to a Backup FE SE (Click Here for Detailed Explanation)

Lync Server 2013 Standard and Enterprise:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg417160(v=ocs.15).aspx

Lync Server 2013 Available on Volume Licensing price list December 1, 2012:
http://blogs.office.com/b/office-news/archive/2012/10/11/office-reaches-rtm.aspx

snom Leaves IP PBX Market, Sells snom ONE IP PBX to Vodia Network Inc.

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snom’s short foray into the software IP PBX market is coming to an end: the snom ONE IP PBX will be sold to Vodia Network Inc., according to snom COO, Michael Knieling. snom notes that they want to focus on end points and partnering with IP PBX and unified communication vendors as a strategy of growth moving forward.

What are some interesting things about snom ONE /Vodia IP PBX?

  • Runs on Windows, Linux and Mac
  • Integrates to Office365 and Lync in Version 5
  • Very stable and secure software based PBX
  • Can act as a lab PSTN Gateway for Microsoft Lync: Click Here for Guide

What does this mean for snom ONE IP PBX Partners?

  • snom will no longer subsidize snom ONE 10 user free edition
  • Which, according to this link, pricing/feature bundles will change
  • Appears like AutoAttendants/HuntsGroups/Conference Room/ACDs/Paging Groups limited 1 or 2 each in editions under 40 users.
  • The free edition is limited to 2 concurrent calls which might be a problem for those using the IP PBX as a Lync Gateway for testing purposes.

What is ahead feature wise for Vodia Network Inc. IP PBX Version 5?

  • Vodia Notes 3rd Party IP phone PnP will be supported (source: click here)
  • Fax Receiving will be a feature of paid editions
  • Microsoft Lync/Office365 Presence integration (+$995USD a la carte, included with 80 user edition)
  • Enhanced fraud detection, according to Vodia

Questions that remain:

  • Currently snom ONE IP PBX is sold with a printed manual as a box via D&H and other Distributors, how will this change?
  • In the past pbxnsip/snom was not very efficient/timely in selling key codes, will this be corrected?
  • Will Vodia provide provide consistant/timely Live Phone Support option for system down issues?
  • Will Vodia provide clear communication about upgrade/maintenance/support costs?

To see snom Announcement: http://www.snom.com/en/products/ip-pbx/snom-one/
snom ONE/Vodia IP PBX? Version 5 Details: http://vodia.com/downloads/snomONE/snomone5.pdf