Lync and Skype for Business are powerful collaboration tools, however you can extend their reach with a Microsoft certified solution to:
- Any Audio or Camera enabled device
- Any Platform
Ultimately the Why reason here is we want to move from the left side of the diagram below to the right hand side:
From: Team connectivity with Skype for Business or Lync and Siloed collaboration Microsoft installations in different companies are federated to enable cross organisation collaboration.
To: Familiar Collaboration where the Host or Guest can connect with whatever device they are familiar with.
Or To: True Collaboration where the Host or Guest can use any platform they have
So the Why is to enable Face to Face Collaboration with any customer, supplier, partner or contractor without the need to:
- Change Systems
- Drop Productivity
- Incur Travel time and Cost
So What are the Use cases?
Ultimately the answer to that comes down to what devices and platforms are you trying to connect to Skype for Business and for what purpose?
We are found of Graphics at Close because you can get a lot across quickly with a well designed graphic.
We typically see four families of Microsoft Virtual Meeting Room use case:
1. The First is the desire by the IT team or organisation to be able to collaborate Face to Face on any device or platform that their customers, supply chain or eco-system of partners have. (we'll refer to as eco-system for the rest of the blog)
The key here is if you have invested in Lync or Skype for Business and 79.3% of Enterprises have then you have some fundamental choices to make. Because we have seen a number of people make these choices then we will highlight the ones often considered or preferred.
a) A Microsoft Certified solution - Preferred as it means they have tested it and approved it.
b) A Native solution - One that requires no software to be downloaded or Plugins used to make the solution work!
c) A No new workflows solution - One that uses standard Microsoft features
Native Features - What do we mean my that?
1. The Virtual Meeting room is added as a contact in your Microsoft Directory - the SIP address (looks like and email address) being used in the email field of the contact.
2. Virtual Rooms have several ways of connecting
a URL link for browsers
a SIP (email address) for Skype for Business, Video equipment or Video App's
Audio dial in numbers
These can all be stored against the contact and sent in any outlook invite.
3. Within Skype to connect outside of Skype for Business you search for the virtual meeting room name in Skype for Business and Click on the video icon to connect to it.
These are all native, no new workflow standard Microsoft operating procedures, which is why they are NATIVE.
2. The Microsoft user wants to Extend their instance to internal or external Video Units, typical from players like Cisco, Polycom, Lifesize, Starleaf, Sony or many others.
Here there are three types of use case:
a) ad hoc
c) Drag and Drop
a) Ad hoc
The Skype users method of connecting we cover above, its 1 click on the virtual meeting room contacts video icon.
The Video User simply dials the Virtual Meeting Rooms email address (SIP address) or in the case of old equipment IP address.
You can program a Virtual Meeting Room with auto dial out, to automatically dial any Skype For Business or Video unit. This takes about 5 minutes to set up in the virtual meeting room characteristics. Once you do this the Virtual Room will dial that address every time someone connects to it as an automatic rule.
c) Drag and Drop
This is an extension of the automatic rule. Say the Virtual Meeting Room (VMR) has a auto dial rule to connect a Cisco video unit, whose address is firstname.lastname@example.org . And the VMR is called email@example.com .
A Skype for Business user can just grab the VMR firstname.lastname@example.org into the meeting and the VMR will autodial the Cisco unit. Several advantages here, especially if you want to simply the Video users customer journey down to walk in, sit down and start.
3. Zoom or Blue Jeans
We see this a lot where the IT team are fierce or strict about collaboration tools and downloading unauthorised software. Both require those nasty downloads that delay you getting into a meeting, quite often.
If you have a Virtual Meeting Room you can simply send the guys who use Zoom or Blue Jeans a VMR address to dial and you then access that rather than go through the hassle of the download every collaboration tool someone might use onto your corporate "locked down PC/Mac"
4. Microsoft Hardware
All of the Microsoft hardware uses Skype for Business and its therefore incredibly easy to extend these Meeting Room based hardware pieces to any device and any platform.
The first elements covered the connectivity now lets talk about What you can do, split into two:
Basics first, all rooms enable cross platform basic features as follows:
Any browser and Skype for Business support chat. Our solution lets you chat across platform.
On the left you'll see a browser user in a close session chatting happily to a Skype use on the right.
As long as one meeting Host is logged into Close and accesses the meeting they can record the entire meeting in high definition.
They simply hit the big red record button and every guest gets a streaming enabled message that lets the know the cross platform meeting is being recorded
A Meeting you be streamed to
- a webcasting address
- a Youtube channel
Simply click on the advanced setting "orange widget "top left in a meeting" and dial out to what ever address you wish to Stream the Meeting to.
The more advanced features require beyond entry level Virtual Meeting Rooms with:
a) Dial out
b) Auto dial
Dial out means via the dial out facility you can contact any Skype for Business, Video Equipment users simply by dialling their address. They will be pulled automatically into your meeting
This enables a fixed address to be added to the Virtual Meeting Room (VMR) so that you do not have to dial every time, the room dials the person you want to connect automatically.
Auto Dial - Drag and Drop
This enables a Skype for Business user to pull in a set piece of video equipment every time they drag the VMR in their Microsoft contact directory into a meeting. (the VMR auto dials the video unit)
This delivers a simple user journey for both the Skype and Video user.