UCS 5.6.0 is now available and includes exciting new features for Open SIP and Skype for Business Customers
Polycom UCS 5.6.0 is the telecommunications industry’s broadest and most feature rich software for IP-enabled devices running in Open SIP or Skype for Business environments. It enables our partners and customers to manage their communications easily and efficiently all via their Polycom desktop phones.
NEW! The latest release UCS 5.6.0 launched now includes several BroadSoft Integration features such as BroadSoft Server Based Call Waiting, Server Based Last Call Return, and Remote Party Disconnect Alert Tone to name just a few, all enabling the end users to further enhance their communications experience with optional features and benefits.
In addition, this release features several VVX D60 features such as: MAC address based base station pairing, active call handoff between VVX and D60, Manual Base Station pairing and maximum handset per base station limitations.
For Skype for Business deployments, UCS 5.6.0 delivers enhancements to Device Lock, as well as support for the Siren7 codec, Multiple Emergency Dial Plans, Dial Plan Normalization and Single Sign On with third party solutions, all of which enhance the Skype for Business Experience on VVX phones, while meeting the latest requirements from Microsoft for their 3rd Party Interop Program (3PIP).
Polycom UC Software is the industry’s broadest and most feature rich software for IP-enabled devices
Running in Open SIP or Skype for Business environments. Built on SIP and open standards, UCS is proven interoperable with most of the industry's standard platforms and devices. It also includes features specifically designed for business and enterprise users. Upgrade now!
I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days with Polycom’s latest video innovation, RealPresence Immersive Studio Flex talking with my co-workers and customers from around the world who were in their own Immersive Studios. The experience was nothing short of amazing.
I’ll be the first to admit, I have often looked at immersive solutions from Polycom and others as a luxury for an organization. However, after getting to know Flex, my mind has changed. Seeing my colleagues in real-size on screen and talking to them for just a short amount of time, you lose the feeling that they aren’t in the same room with you. You have been transported to their location and you are able to talk, joke and conduct a meeting as if you are all together.
One meeting went on for just over two hours and I had papers spread around the table and my colleagues had a slightly messy table as well. At one point, I literally reached out and tried to grab something off their table and was reminded that we were doing this meeting over video.
So, what makes Flex unique? First let’s start with the price. A typical fully immersive video solution has historically cost between $250-500k per site. That does make immersive technology a luxury item. Immersive Studio Flex breaks the price barrier in this category with an entry price below $150k. Sure, that is not a $999 video system, but that is like comparing an orange to a piece of lumber. Secondly, the installation can be flexible, from a choice of three colors to deciding what pieces of the solution you need, you choose. Finally, real estate does not have to be a big concern for facility managers because Flex is designed to fit in a standard conference room, so no worries about an extra-large space with tall ceilings.
The technology behind the scenes is remarkable as well - 3D voice enables you to “hear” where people are sitting in the room, 1080p60 people and content gives users that in-room feeling and of course ease of use with any call or content control being done through the RealPresence Touch. Honestly, all anyone needs to do is just touch a button and they are connected.
If you are looking for a solution that will allow your users to be highly productive and give them that in-room experience with colleagues and customers, I encourage you to take a look at Immersive Studio Flex and all of Polycom Immersive solutions. Take a virtual tour of Flex or go ahead and schedule a time to visit one of our offices to experience Flex for yourself.
My Remote Year itinerary included two months in Colombia, in two cities, Bogota and Medellin. Both cities were very different from one another. Bogota is 8,660 ft. above sea level the highest altitude city I’ve ever set foot on. The first few days was a challenge walking and practicing yoga. By the end of the month, the altitude no longer affected me, I was hiking/running with no issues.
Medellin is called the city of eternal spring. It lived up to its name, the climate was warmer with the occasionally summer rain shower throughout the day. Some days were hotter than others which meant arriving to the co-working space drenched in sweat or being stuck at the co-working space for a few hours, until the thunderstorms passed.
To my pleasant surprise, Polycom has a showroom in Bogota, which I had the pleasure to see and work from thanks to Alexander Arevalo.
I didn’t work from coffee shops as much as I did in Europe, I spent quality time in the co-working spaces. I spent my days in Work&Go in both cities. The atmosphere was great and good enough Wi-Fi to join RealPresence Desktop video calls with no network issues. Each co-working space offers, a focus room (no calls/quiet room), a couple of call rooms, formal conference rooms and main a workspace.
The more that I work from co-working spaces, I’ve learned a couple of things about myself. For example, I’ve realized that once I find a seat, I sit there for the rest of the time and won’t change seats. I am a creature of habit. When I first started Remote Year, I was shy and didn’t want to take calls in front of everyone, now I no longer book conference rooms for my calls. I don’t see the need to do so, as long as I’m in an area that does not disturb others. I also prefer working from the quiet room with no distractions. The co-working spaces make it easy to find a place that suits my work accommodations throughout the day.
Overall, Colombia has so much to offer from mountains to beaches, exotic fruits and flowers the list goes on. I can’t forget the people; everyone is kind and always willing to help. I’m 75% through my journey and have learned so much about how people work in different countries. I am in Lima, Peru for the month of March then two months in Argentina, Cordoba and Buenos Aires. Afterwards, I plan to return to Virginia and continue to work from the Polycom Herndon office. Follow me as I conclude my digital nomad journey with Remote Year.
As January comes to a close, it’s my last chance to have a quick “look back” on what was an exciting and change-filled year for Polycom. It started with a potential acquisition by Mitel in April and ended with a purchase by Siris Capital. In one year alone, Polycom went from public to private, had changes in our executive leadership and sharpened our vision for helping companies collaborate in the workplace of the future. Change is good and remains one of the few predictable things in business today. Despite all this change, however, there were also many constants for Polycom and our customers in 2016 such as our commitment to our customers, our dedication to unleashing the power of human collaboration and our passion for innovation. While we are excited to continue to transform as a company, these are the steadfast values that will never change.
In 2016, these values were not lost on the industry analysts covering our company’s technologies and solutions.
Why do these things matter? They are tangible proof that even in a year full of change that Polycom continues to focus on providing customers with innovative video and content collaboration solutions that make a real impact.
As we move into 2017, Polycom’s focus in these areas will not waver. This year you will see us continue to innovate, execute and deliver solutions that focus on improving both the experience and the productivity of our customers. And, while some aspect of change is always inevitable, once again, the industry analysts will be relied upon for guidance, market direction and, hopefully, the continued recognition of a focus on innovation, which has been part of our DNA since our first days as a company.
Are you a victim of the “it works just fine” syndrome in your conference rooms? Generally, this occurs when a company clings to old technology claiming “it still works”. I know the pain these simple words cause. When I was growing up, we rented VHS tapes for our VCR and I’m pretty sure we were the last family to embrace DVD technology. In fact, we were so far behind the times we should’ve skipped DVDs altogether and went straight to Blu-ray (which is embarrassing to admit as one of those technology driven Millennials). My parents claimed the old tape technology “worked just fine” and they were technically correct. I could watch Jurassic Park with the tracking lines on VHS but there was a gargantuan experience difference when viewing it on that newfangled DVD technology.
Just like the VHS tape, your organization may be holding on to that one camera solution in your conference rooms. While it technically works by sending video to other sites, it’s a pain in the you-know-what to use so we end up leaving the camera view untouched and the other side of the video call longing for true face-to-face communication. Instead of solving important problems, our colleagues are left asking questions like: “Is that Frank speaking? Did he roll his eyes? Who is that person with the green shirt in the corner?”
It’s time to experience the difference and realize how communicating over video can be stress-free. Imagine walking into the conference room and the camera automatically shows the best view of everyone. Once you start speaking, the camera shows your face up close while still showing everyone else in the room. And imagine all of this happening without touching a remote control or using camera presets.
I hate to break the news to you, but Polycom introduced this groundbreaking speaker tracking technology a few years ago. And now in the latest release,EagleEye Director II, is like leapfrogging to Blu-ray. We’ve been hard at work perfecting the technology on our smart camera show a speaker up-close and provide a smaller view of the entire room. This lets you maintain context of reactions in the room while still seeing the facial expressions of the presenter for a more intimate and inclusive meeting experience.
Get ready for your close-up because once you start speaking, EagleEye Director II notices and provides a nice portrait view for everyone to clearly see those nonverbal communication cues. So, keep your eye-rolling to a minimum. Once someone else starts talking, the view will automatically switch from speaker to speaker. EagleEye Director II achieves a television production quality experience without breaking a sweat.
Need to walk to the white board at the very back of the room? EagleEye Director II will follow you up to 33 feet (10m) away. Not to brag, but that’s the longest distance of any automatic camera technology.
There are also some really cool data analytics involved that let an organization understand how many participants are in the conference room. Finally, we can put an end to Bob using the 20 person conference room as his own personal conference room.
Don’t let your organization become a victim of the “it works just fine” syndrome. Schedule your free demo of EagleEye Director II today and experience the difference.
Every documentary or film you see at Sundance makes you feel something, from sheer terror to disgust to happiness to sadness. After each screening, select members of the crew and cast answer questions from the audience to continue the film experience. Polycom assures that even though an important participant may not be able to be local to the festival, they can still join the Q&A session over video. With superior audio and video quality and the ease of integration into the A/V equipment makes Polycom the right solution for these.
We took part in Cries from Syria, The Incredible Jessica James and Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World. In all cases Polycom Web Suite was used by far end participants. Users joined from Syria, Japan and New York.
In addition to bringing in remote participants, Polycom Media Suite was used to record over 20 Q&A sessions locally. These recordings are important because so many fun and interesting bits of information about the filmingexperience are shared with the audience. By archiving the recordings, this great information can be shared with an extended audience.
So for me and Sundance 2017, it's a wrap. As always, the tech crew at Sundance and at Boston Light and Sound are amazing and a joy to work with. I look forward to 2018 and to many more festivals around the world where Polycom solutions can be used to add to the spirit of the independent filmmaker!
Calling all social media influencers and #AVTweeps at ISE 2017 - Register to attend #PolycomTweet Up
This year at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE), Polycom is presenting the unified communications (UC) solutions with futuristic user interface (UI) for customers. Ease-of-use is on top of our mind and experience is key for us – the thematic exhibition is taking place at hall 11 stand A117 at the Amsterdam venue.
Polycom addressing the audience at the Unified Communications Theatre at ISE 2017
Polycom representatives, Tim Stone – Vice President, Marketing, EMEA, and Charlie James – Director, Microsoft Alliance, EMEA, are speaking at the Unified Communications Theatre in Hall 11 on the following days of the show:
Polycom exhibiting the latest Unified Communications & Collaboration solutions at ISE 2017
This year Polycom is exhibiting a wide range of latest Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) solutions at ISE. Click here for more details.
Polycom organising #PolycomTweetUp to engage with the AV community on social media at ISE 2017
This year Polycom has joined forces with AVNation to host a social media event called #PolycomTweetUp for the AV community folks. The AV community is really active on social media and many are often discussing the technology market on hashtag #AVTweeps on Twitter. Join us if you are enthusiastic about unified communications and collaboration technologies and would like to share your thoughts. Register here and don’t forget to bring your smart devices so we can tweet during the #PolycomTweetUp together.
Die einen finden sie bequem, die anderen schlichtweg geschmacklos: Die Jogginghose. Obwohl der Dresscode in vielen Branchen in den letzten Jahren deutlich lockerer geworden ist, braucht man anscheinend noch immer eine gute Rechtfertigung, um ungestraft in Trainingshose im Büro erscheinen zu können. Am 21. Januar gibt es deshalb den internationalen Tag der Jogginghose. Ins Leben gerufen wurde die Bewegung von vier österreichischen Gymnasiasten, die ihre Klasse mobilisierten, in Jogginghose zur Schule zu gehen und so über FaceBook eine Bewegung auslösten. Mittlerweile gehen in mehr als 50 Ländern Menschen an diesem Tag in Freizeithosen zur Arbeit. Da der Tag diesmal auf einen Samstag fällt, können Fans des Schlabberlooks unbeschwert feiern. Aber witziger Aktionstag hin oder her – wer in einer eher konservativen Branche einen wichtigen Geschäftstermin hat, tut sich mit allzu lockerer Kleidung generell keinen Gefallen. Sicherlich kennen einige den Spruch „dress for the job you want, not the job you have.“ Oder ist das eine nicht mehr zeitgemäße Einstellung? Bei uns ist das Lager in dieser Hinsicht gespalten:
Ein Teil findet: Der Dresscode hängt stark von der Branche und der Position im Unternehmen ab. Aber auch unabhängig davon hat die Kleidung – oft unbewusst – einen großen Einfluss auf das eigene Befinden, Verhalten und sogar die Motivation. Ein zu lockerer Kleidungsstil kann deshalb durchaus der Karriere schaden.
Der andere Teil sagt: Es gibt viele Berufe, in denen es auf das äußere Erscheinungsbild weniger ankommt. Eine bequeme Hose ist dort deshalb gar kein Problem. Außerdem gehört zum Gesamterscheinungsbild viel mehr als nur das passende Beinkleid. Wer generell ungepflegt daher kommt, den rettet auch die feine Stoffhose nicht. Wer tip-top gepflegt und stilsicher ist, kann umgekehrt eine Jogginghose zum modischen Highlight machen. Mittlerweile finden auch viele Meetings per Video statt, und man sieht im Zweifel die Hose gar nicht. Wer sich in seiner Haut wohlfühlt, strahlt das auch aus.
Some think they are comfortable, others just find them tasteless: Sweatpants. Although over the last few years many industries have become way more relaxed when it comes to dress codes but to a certain extent we personally feel like we still need a good reason for wearing sweatpants to work. On January 21 we have a good reason for doing so as the day is called International Sweatpants Day. In 2009, four young pupils started this movement by convincing everyone their class to show up at school dressed in their sweatpants. They also started a FaceBook campaign and now people across more than 50 countries use that day to go to school, university or work dressed in their sweatpants. This year the International Sweatpants Day is falling on a Saturday. Those who love the casual look can celebrate without any problems on that day. However, people who have have work meetings and work in a more conservative industry will be found to be refraining from dressing too casually - some, well most, employers are not overly enthusiatic about this look. I am sure that many of you know the saying “dress for the job you want, not the job you have". Is this saying now outdated?
Some of us think: Dress codes vary from industry to industry and position to position, but it is true in any case that the outfit has a big – often subconscious – influence on how a person feels and acts, and how it motivates them. A very casual look therefore might not work in the favour of your career.
Others think: There are many professions in which the outfit does not really matter and comfortable clothing is no problem at all. There are other factors besides the right kind of trousers that determine the overall impression of a person. Someone who is generally unattentive might not even benefit from the outfit anyways. On the other hand there are people who are able to turn sweatpants into a fashion highlight. In addition, we shouldn't forget that many business meetings are taking place on video nowadays - so you might even get away wearing those sweatpants and without them being seen on video. It is more important that people feel confident about themselves while enjoying this day.
Please see below a short clip on videoconferencing ettiquettes if you do decide to celebrate the International Swetpants Day on 21 January 2017.
The Sundance Film Festival each year finds the best independent films along with incredibly talented directors and producers and brings them into the sleepy little ski town of Park City, UT. The town of just over 7,000 expands 3-4 times that size during the Festival.
In the middle of all the excitement and celebrity are Polycom solutions, enhancing the experience for all the movie goers.
As a relative newbie to the Sundance Film Festival, with 2017 being my third year “to fest”, I have been lucky to experience the festival as an audience member and from behind-the-scene or I guess, screen in this case.
2017 sets a new milestone for Polycom at Sundance. This year, Polycom will be using multiple solutions to enhance the movie-goers experience by connecting directors, documentary subjects and others directly to the theater from locations around the world. In some cases, when a participant is not able to make it to the Festival for various reasons such as, living in a war-torn country, under house arrest, too ill or even stuck on an island, Polycom offers the opportunity for these people to join the Q&A sessions that take place after each film.
Remote subject LIVE from a South Pacific island joining the audience in Q&A in 2016.
Polycom will be using our integration with Microsoft Office 365 to allow participants to easily connect to various theaters in Park City. Skype for Business and Polycom Group Series allows the remote participants a simple way to connect, literally with the click of a button. The result is incredible audio and HD video shown on the big screen which greatly enhances the experience for the audience.
This year we are excited about all of our remotes, but Cries from Syria will test our Polycom solutions to the fullest when we bring in the subject of the doucumentary LIVE from Aleppo, Syria to interact with the audience in the theater during the Q&A session.
By Jeremy Keefe, Area Sales Vice President - UK, Ireland and Benelux, Polycom
You are a modern day worker who enjoys being mobile so you can work from different locations and believe in flexible working as it allows you to be productive. Yet every time you manage to secure yourself a meeting room often it feels like you have walked into a blank space which can definitely do better with a little more hint of technology.
While most workers have moved on, some employers are still trying to catch-up but there is no respite with the rising cost of real estate and inflation hammering down on the economy. Businesses are aware that their workforce is battling time zones every day and it is time they gear up for 2017 by thinking about the types of meeting rooms their workforce requires for delivering the good work while being mobile and flexible.
As a regular participant of meetings, there are several different types of meeting styles that I see frequently.
Type 1 – Meeting room for an in-person discussion:
Mind the word ‘discussion’ here. This is the most common type of meeting room that will be needed as while conducting business across borders is becoming more common some 1-2-1 chats still need to take place. These are often the meetings that kick off a partnership or significant reviews and are the catalysts for driving the next type of meeting room requirements as they often lead to the need for sharing information or for third party participation.
Type 2 – Meeting room for sharing content:
This type of meeting room will attract the most traffic across all groups whether they have two, a few more or a fairly large number of participants. Sharing content in the format of documents such as PowerPoint presentations is not uncommon and it is important to have the right content sharing software solution that is easy to use.
Type 3 – Meeting room for an audio call:
Audio is the backbone of all meetings and the most common way of conducting meetings. Also, it is quite obvious that without proper audio you cannot have a video meeting. A popular means for both booked and ad hoc meetings, more than often you will need to ring someone on their phone for work. Whether it’s on fixed line, mobile, conference phone or Skype for Business, audio-only meetings are essential.
Type 4 – Meeting room for a video call:
You cannot attend all meetings in person at all times, and as more and more people are working from home nowadays, video is becoming an essential part of the day-to-day work. We still believe face-to-face meetings are essential in a working life and therefore travel is still a part of it. If you cannot travel but still want to make the meeting more impactful, you need to attend it on video. Video meetings are important and this is a no-brainer for the digital time we live in today. The benefits felt from video meetings can range from not needing to travel great distances, to being able to get home in time for dinner with the family.
Type 5 – Meeting room for working from anywhere:
Work From Anywhere – a new way of working that doesn’t require you to work from one set location. A small meeting space or a ‘huddle room’ can cater to the needs of workers when they are visiting one of their office sites or any other location. All the other pieces of technology listed above will enable them to find the right meeting space when needed. In addition, software solutions that allow collaboration from the devices of their choice will empower them to work from anywhere.
It had been over three months since I worked from a Polycom office, the last time was in London in August. Polycom’s Mexico office happened to be a 10 minute commute from my apartment which made going into the office convenient and affordable. I worked from the office at least once a week, a rather nice break from coffee shops and co-working spaces.
Polycom’s Work Culture.
Despite the fun I’ve had on my journey to date, I was a bit disappointed to not attend the Virginia Office’s annual holiday party. However, I was fortunate enough to have been invited to Mexico’s holiday party. I was excited and nervous because I only knew a few colleagues in the office. In the end, I was introduced to everyone and felt at home. We went around the table saying what we were thankful for, and I was very proud of myself for being able to articulate my thoughts to everyone in Spanish. Seeing how much everyone cares and support each other was amazing and I was overwhelmed and thankful with how they greeted me with open arms.
Words cannot full describe how touched I was by all the love I received from the Mexico office. Not only did I feel at home, but part of their family. They always tried their best to include me in their office activity and luncheons. Being a digital nomad is a great experience but being part of an office is a completely different – and rewarding experience. The Mexico team is relatively small but with a lot of heart and passion. I want to thank Cristina Corona, Jesus Sanchez and Luis Torres for showing me the office and Mexico City.
Volunteering During the Holidays.
This holiday was the first I’d spent away from my family and felt it would be best to give back to the community. I was able to volunteer at Fundación Parlas, I.A.P. on Christmas Eve, the charity helps mentally disable individuals from various ages. Then on Christmas day I volunteered at Fundación Renacimiento an orphanage for kids. Both events we brought gifts, snacks, piñatas and game to make it interactive and fun. Giving back to the community is something I strive to do in each of the cities, I live in during my Remote Year experience.
After almost seven months of being away from home, I finally returned to Virginia to visit my loved ones. Being away from my family and friends is tough but seeing everyone was what I needed in order to complete the rest of my journey. Follow me on my next leg as I head to Bogota, Colombia.
If you’ve completed our free Introduction to Voice and Video Technology e-learning course, you’ll already have a good basic understanding of all the different technologies underpinning your Polycom collaboration solution, and be comfortable with the most common technical jargon associated with it. The free Introduction to Polycom Video Endpoints e-learning module builds on this, by explaining the basic features and terminology related to all the endpoints attached to your solution.
So what do we mean by video endpoints? The term covers all the video-focused products that Polycom sells, including the hardware or software-based apps that can be deployed individually or as part of a fully managed solution through the Polycom® RealPresence® Platform. These include cameras, microphones, screens or apps that rely on personal devices such as PCs, tablets or smartphones to capture and share high quality audio, video and content.
In terms of Polycom products, ‘endpoints’ can also include your company’s immersive telepresence solutions, collaboration room solutions, conference room solutions, desktop solutions and solutions for smartphones and tablets. These incorporate many Polycom audio and video innovations, and the module introduces a variety of them, such as Constant Clarity, Automatic Gain Control, Polycom® NoiseBlock™ and Polycom® Acoustic Fence™, Lost Packet Recovery, 3D Voice and Provisioning.
Polycom NoiseBlock provides a way of removing keyboard noise, paper rustling and finger tapping from the audio stream so that distractions are kept to a minimum. Polycom Acoustic Fence is a related audio innovation that enables room systems to be deployed in noisy environments such as open workspaces or areas where audio may bleed through walls into conference calls; and uses at least one table-top microphone and one ceiling microphone to sample and remove audio distractions in a call.
3D Voice, meanwhile, is a feature that allows meeting participants to hear where the ‘far end’ participants are located in their room. This plays a huge part in the 'believability' of a video conference - if you don't hear things that match what you see, it's an extra effort for your brain to work out what's going on, which is both distracting and tiring.
The module concludes with brief overviews of Polycom solutions within each product category, including:
RealPresence Immersive solutions – Polycom® RealPresence® OTX® Studio and Polycom® RealPresence Immersive Studio™.
Polycom® RealPresence® Group Series - which includes a number of solutions designed for different room sizes and environments.
Latest meeting room solutions including Polycom® RealPresence Trio™, the first smart hub for group collaboration, which is ideally suited for huddle room and team environments; Polycom® RealPresence Debut™, the first enterprise-grade video collaboration solution especially designed for huddle and small meeting rooms; Polycom RealPresence Centro™, which has revolutionised the collaborative space; and Polycom® RealPresence® Medialign™, the industry’s best all-in-one video collaboration solution for front of room videoconferencing.
Packaged solutions such as Group Convene media centres; utility carts for manufacturing and non-FDA certified healthcare applications; EduCart for remote learning; and VideoProtect 500 for safe and secure HD quality communications for government and judicial applications.
Desktop products including Polycom® RealPresence® Desktop and the RealPresence Desktop software application.
Polycom® RealPresence® Mobile for mobile professionals that need to stay connected.
As well as introducing the key features of Polycom products, the Introduction to Polycom Video Endpoints module will give you some useful background information on whichever Polycom solution you’re using, as well as other solutions in the portfolio that you may also want to consider. If you enjoy this module you can find the rest of the Polycom Start Here series here.
It seems organizations who are shopping for technology solutions today are moving to cloud based solutions in droves. Is the move a smooth road or is it full of potholes, speed bumps, and twists and turns? In most cases, it’s probably a bit of both. Perhaps that’s why Microsoft developed a methodology for customers and their partners to help smooth out the bumps and minimize the hairpin turns. It’s called the Skype Operations Framework, or SOF for short.
SOF is an end-to-end approach to the migration to Skype for Business Online for PSTN Conferencing and Cloud PBX workloads. It covers the complete lifecycle from Plan and Deliver to Operate. The framework provides a standardized approach incorporating practical guidance, tools, assets and recommended practices that can be leveraged for both new deployments and migrations from on-premises deployments. SOF provides the foundation for customers and partners to accelerate the journey to Skype for Business online with customer success clearly at the center.
In order to accelerate the journey, SOF delivers several key benefits:
It offers a proven methodology that eliminates the need for customers or partners to develop their own in-house, from the ground up
It provides a comprehensive collection of practical guidance, tools, assets and recommended practices to direct and focus core activities
It also provides a common language and vocabulary for every project participant, which can be especially important when customers decide to work with a partner or multiple partners on the journey as it will enable and simplify their interactions
It applies to both new deployments as well as migrations from on-premises deployments so no matter where an organization is in the journey, there are best practices, tools, and assets to assist
It’s ideally suited to support an iterative approach, so whether the customer chooses to start with one workload and add others over time, or they’re considering a Proof of Concept or pilot prior to broad scale deployment, the framework adapts to cycling through as many times as necessary
And as stated before, SOF is clearly focused on customer success
When Polycom works with customers considering a migration, we recommend starting with a Proof of Concept or pilot. During the pilot, we step through the Plan, Deliver, Operate phases for a limited number of users or use cases. We determine… what are the key success criteria? Is any on-premises infrastructure ready? Is the network ready? Is the Office 365 Portal ready? Are pilot endpoints provisioned and deployed? Are pilot users ready? Are they going to have a great experience and be raving fans for other users? Did we meet the key success criteria?
Included in the pilot, and critical to its success, are the four activities outlined in the SOF Plan phase – Envision, Assess, Design and Prepare.
For Envisioning, the Polycom team, along with the customer, defines the scope, approach, business use cases, timeline and governance to execute the service. We also define key success criteria in this process.
We Assess the infrastructure, network, and portal as well as operational and adoption readiness for deployment
The Design activities create the service architecture, and designs the solution including operational processes and adoption strategies
And in Prepare, we undertake readiness and remediation activities required to deploy Skype for Business Online at scale
For the defined proof of concept population, Polycom also executes Deliver activities including provisioning and deployment of endpoints, and orienting and enabling the end users, etc., as well as Operate activities, such as reviewing call quality dashboards to ensure users are having a good experience.
A successful pilot or Proof of Concept sets the stage and feeds into the next Planning phase as organizations look to expand the footprint to the broader audience, or add another workload. The Plan, Deliver, Operate cycle should be repeated for each phase, site, or objective.
As you begin your deployment or migration journey to Skype for Business Online, you may be asking one or more of these questions.
How do I successfully migrate from my traditional PBX to Office 365 for my telephony services?
Who can I engage to do a Proof of Concept for PSTN Conferencing or Cloud PBX?
How can I tell if my network is ready for Skype for Business Online – voice and / or video traffic?
How do I transition my standards-based video endpoints to join a Skype for Business Online meeting?
If you’re looking for answers to one or more of these questions, Polycom may be able to assist.
Remember, Polycom is a device partner and more for Microsoft, offering end-to-end services, and voice and video endpoints. Polycom is a Microsoft High Touch Partner and Skype Operations Framework certified. We offer a broad portfolio of services aligned to SOF that help customer on the journey to Skype for Business for its collaboration capabilities. Let us know how we can help you on your journey.
As we approach the festive period, we start looking forward to eating too much, drinking too much and being with our families. But instead of being glued to the Telly-Box or playing board games 1980’s style, the kids will be playing Minecraft on the latest iPads, the teenagers will be Snapchatting with their buddies, cousin Emma will be checking her FaceBook and even mum will decide to get her phone out to Skype granny! Whether we like it or not, technology has become a part of our lives and here are a few tips to help you get through the holiday period without being ‘trude’.
Don’t be ‘Trude’ - Give up your WiFi password in 5
So, unless you have been living under a rock, you would have noticed that everyone has something digital with them. Internet of things (IoT) has made us all interconnected and no one appreciates it when their mobile phones, smart watches and fitness devices stop working as soon as they enter your humble abode. Don’t be trude and remember to share your WiFi password as soon as possible. A smart host would have their wifi username and password printed out and up on a notice board somewhere to save them having to get up from that sofa trying to find it a few lemonades later (!).
‘Snap’ Chat? Email what 4?
I love gallivanting through my mailboxes, every single one of them – said no one ever! We are not only slowly moving away from emails, we are also moving towards Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence. When I am on emails I am either working or looking for delivery confirmation of that Amazon package. Discussions are taking place in real-time and lots of people are choosing to reach out to their folks via social networks and mobile apps. How about a cute video invitation to add a personal touch?
It’s a charm when it’s 3
You only start hosting when you feel adult enough and believe it or not some of your guests will bring kids with them (unavoidable at this time of year I am afraid – of course I am being cute, I love kids!). Troublesome embarrassments abound when you mix kids with smart devices. They are so much more handy with technology and that interconnected IoT-type smart TV can easily by mistake let them broadcast that photo or video that you were hoping would never even touch the outskirts of the internet. Get smarter than your smart devices and build in security passwords before that party of three arrives.
Then there will be 2
Sure you have invited 50 people to your fairly average sized flat for this bash. Now is the time to think about keeping them entertained, and not run out of food, drinks and patience. You and your partner in crime can maintain your dignity by using mobile phones for one-to-one conversations and not let your guests get a whiff of the loss of the plan A dish in the oven and the discreet hatching of a secret plan B dish. You will be surprised how clearly voices travel through those walls. Let’s keep our devices charged and keep them in our pockets.
Don't forget to think about everyone. Your co-workers will be busy with their own family and friends soon and one short team meet-up before you all head your separate ways for holidays is a good thing to consider. If you are working in a similar setup as me, you will have your team scattered across the world. At Polycom, we drink our own champagne and sync up on video at least once a week to battle the time zones and make decisions about the next steps for our global team projects. We use this hour as a forum to exchange best wishes as well and I am sure no one will mind if you had a glass of fizz while doing so provided none of the meeting participants feel left out as some could be joining from remote locations and mobile devices. I even know a team who once opened their Secret Santa presents during a video meeting.
It's a wrap….
One final thing, have your chargers and power banks on standby; this prevents a whole host of potential scenarios for guests attending your party, especially when they wake up next day with a low battery. If you can help them with keeping their phone fuelled up, that’s one less thing you get the blame for.
Collaboration is easy. It’s what we do every day. We collaborate and interact with people – colleagues, family, friends; meeting and working with new people, whether new to our own organisations, partners, customers or vendors.
But when we talk about collaboration it can quickly become quite daunting. Why? Because there’s a special language in the collaboration world, and if you don’t speak the language and understand what’s meant by all the terminology you may feel out of your depth.
Here at Polycom we believe in keeping things simple for everyone involved, which is why we’re offering free e-learning with our Polycom Start Here series. So where to start? A great place is with the Introduction to Voice and Video Technology module, which introduces all the technical jargon that’s most commonly used when discussing video and voice collaboration.
If you’re new to collaboration, the module starts by explaining what infrastructure is, what networks are and how they are created, along with some of the basics of video technology, and what all this means within the context of a video and/or voice collaboration environment.
If you’ve ever wondered why the internet is called that, what IP means, what your IP address is or why it’s important, the module explains all of this in language that’s easy to understand; before moving on to two important concepts related to IP addresses Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and Domain Name Service (DNS). Although this may sound like it’s getting a bit technical, the acronyms make a lot more sense when you know what they mean, and you’ll never have to feel like you’re being blinded with science the next time somebody mentions them.
Having established the basics of how a collaboration network is built, the next step is how to link multiple networks together using switches, gateways, ports and routers; and how to keep them secure - which is typically by deploying a firewall. Again, all of these are terms that many of us will hear every day without really understanding what they are or how they work.
Handling video communication and traditional voice telephony over a modern data network is one of the more difficult tasks it’s asked to do. The training module explains how the introduction of Voice over IP (VoIP) and protocols such as the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) have evolved to allow this ‘real-time’ traffic to be carried over a network originally designed for e-mails and file-sharing.
To complete your whistle-stop tour of the basics of collaboration solutions, the module concludes with a review of the most important terminology related to video and voice collaboration environments, including video infrastructure, endpoints, content, bandwidth, access, and point-to-point and multipoint calls. It also explains the role of one of your voice or video solution’s most important components – its bridge (or Multipoint Control Unit (MCU)); and associated devices and functionality such as gatekeepers, on-net and off-net calls, WANs, codecs, packets, protocols, frame rates, screen resolutions and scanning.
No doubt you’ll already familiar with a lot of these are terms or ideas. But even if just a few of them are new or you’re unsure about them, our FREE Introduction to Voice and Video Technology is well worth a look. You can find it and the rest of the Polycom Start Here series here.
For my 6th month of Remote Year, I decided to opt-out of Valencia, Spain because of my planned vacation. I did not see the value in participating due to my travels and it was a nice way to save money. Many people in the group have opted-out and rejoined the group afterwards. Opting out creates flexibility and helps eliminates the constraint to stay with the group for the entire year.
What is opting out?
Opting out does not mean I left the program, it means I chose to not be part of the group for a month. I had to arrange my own accommodation, co-working space, SIM card and transportation to & from the airport.
How was the experience?
After being in the program for a few months, I knew how to prepare as a digital nomad and how to do it. Thanks to the time zone difference I was able to prepare for my work day in the morning. By the time I had to be online, I was ready to work. I worked from my Airbnb, coffee shops and arranged my co-working spaces. Now that the month is over, I can safely say I succeeded on my own.
What I learned?
Although, opting out required more planning on my part it was fairly easy to do, I knew which phone provider to buy a SIM card from, and how to find coffee shops that offered free Wi-Fi. Ultimately, I was able to navigate without the program and do my work remotely with no issues. Opting out helped me build my confidence that I can continue being a digital nomad once the program is over if I desire.
Rejoining My Remote Year Group.
I was able to get my own transportation to the airport and fly with the group to Mexico City for the month of December. It feels great to be back with the group and not have to plan anymore. I missed seeing everyone and participating in Remote Year events.
Now that I’ve concluded my 6 months in Europe and Africa I’m excited to be on the Western hemisphere. I’ll be finishing the rest of my time in South America (Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Argentina).
Karl Lovelock, Vice President of IT has been with Polycom for almost six years. Karl is responsible for all aspects of IT for Polycom across Europe, Middle-East, Africa Asia Pacific and China. I met up with Karl recently to understand his views on the importance of renewing support maintenance contracts.
What are your key responsibilities at Polycom?
I’m responsible for all aspects of IT for Polycom across Europe, Middle-East, Africa, Asia Pacific and China. This includes the applications and infrastructure operations and development, management and development of core business applications, IT demand planning and management for key IT or business projects, with effective and measurable ROI and the management as well as the operation of large scale video network implementation and daily operation. We have over 3,500 hardware and software endpoints, averaging 3,500 video calls a day.
Do you have support contracts for the numerous software applications and hardware installed?
Our service and support contracts are one of the most important areas in how we run our IT business, and is particularly important to us in a 24x7x365 operation. It is one of the critical planning areas in our IT Governance Programme, and we spend a significant amount of resource and effort on ensuring we have the support in place with our vendors - to give us the assurance and peace of mind that we can call on their services when required. Typically, these support contracts reflect on the criticality of the system (software application or hardware) we are supporting, and on the potential business impact/cost of any outage related to that system or its underlying technologies. These are also reflective of the Service Level Agreements that we have with our Business Teams, and our ability to effectively deliver the service to that documented SLA.
What are the top three reasons that you have support contracts in place?
In no specific order, these are probably the top three of many good reasons for us to have Service Contracts
Leverage. When, (not if), we run into issues with software applications or our hardware platforms, I need to be sure that I can call on the vendors for support and be confident that I am getting the best possible response and focus on addressing our issues. Any impacts on our systems may have a ‘knock-on’ affect, not only on internal business, but potentially on our Polycom Business Partners too. Having the appropriate levels of support means I can deliver on the SLA commitments that I make to the business.
Peace of Mind. I need to know that I’m doing everything in my power to deliver IT Services to our business and our Business Partners, be that keeping our hardware/software applications at current revision levels through regular driver updates and patches, or increasingly more important in the environment, securing them from cyber threats and attacks.
Whilst we maintain an in-house level of Subject Matter Expertise for our software and hardware applications, it also make sense for us to be able to leverage a vendors expertise and capabilities to deliver new or enhanced feature sets and functionalities; and through their Professional Services Organizations, use their capabilities to ensure we are taking the optimum approach to upgrading/updating or implementing new capabilities.
Do you budget and plan for renewing your support contracts?
Yes, this is a critical piece of our IT Planning Lifecycle and Governance. We ensure that we have the necessary service contracts in place for us to deliver on the Service Level Agreements we have with the business, that we have the appropriate geographic coverage and capabilities, and that we are getting the most cost and service effective value of our IT expense. IT, in almost all cases, is a cost to the business, and we need to ensure that we are delivering the best value. We should also be an enabler for strategic competitive advantage for our business, and one of the values we can bring is ensuring we are delivering high value Support Services, cost effectively, and our Vendor contracts are one route to this.
What are the key points that you consider when you review and negotiate a support contract?
Price is always important, but not necessarily the deciding factor. In many cases it is the availability of Spares and Advanced Replacement when needed, to ensure that we can maximize our up-time and availability and our geographic coverage and capability.
Are their advantages for your organization to consider multi-year contracts?
Yes, we look to build a relationship with our Service Partners. We look at the long term picture, having a vendor that understands our challenges and constraints, and partners with us, effectively shares that journey with us, is more valuable than a vendor who delivers a solution based on a cost only model. That enables us to build confidence in their service delivery, and is a great adjunct in our hardware/software purchasing decisions.
Your team has Remote Management and Monitoring in place. How does this benefit your team from both a tactical and strategic perspective?
It allows our decision making to be driven by data proactively, rather than being reactive to circumstances that we have done little to plan for and control. Remote Management and Monitoring allows us to provide increased levels of global visibility and enhanced support in the most cost effective models, be that based on location of IT resources or on criticality of particular sites or services. It helps us understand and plan for changes in usage and client behaviours, to be able to look for and identify trends proactively, and to enhance our planning and decision making capabilities based on real data, and not on speculative assumptions.
Would you consider not having a support contract in place?
No. If there is a system or solution that does not require a support contract, I would be asking myself a different question, about the critical nature of that solution, and therefore the value it is delivering, and whether we really need it.
What’s your advice to other organizations who have a support contract about to expire?
I would recommend every organization thinks very carefully about the impact on their business or operations, of not having the leverage and guarantees that a Service Contract delivers for the solutions and systems they support. There will be no thanks for the savings made on a support contract if a solution no longer allows the business to deliver to its customers.
Last thoughts or comments? How many times have those awful words - "I know what I'm doing" - been uttered throughout history as prelude to disaster? – Christopher Buckley – Supreme Courtship
With a new “Skype look”, tighter security, web login, BToE enhancements, and diagnostics for call quality monitoring—there’s a lot to like in the latest UCS 5.5.1 release. The new features benefit both Microsoft Cloud PBX (Skype for Business Online) and on premises Skype for Business deployment environments.
Skype for Business UI
Let’s start with the new Skype look and feel on the VVX 500 and VVX 600 series touch screen models. The new user interface (UI) looks a lot more like the Skype and Skype for Business clients with a similar palette and icons. It’s a very clean and intuitive look that extends the state of the art experience of the leading Unified Communications and Collaboration platform to the award winning Polycom VVX phones. The new and older home screens on a Polycom VVX 600 Business Media Phone are compared below.
Easier sign in
Signing into your VVX phone for the 1st time just got easier for VVX users running on a Microsoft Cloud PBX (Skype for Business Online). While it’s always possible to enter your login credentials and password from the phone itself, it’s often a lot easier for many users to enter letters and numbers from a computer keyboard—especially when compared to button navigated alpha numeric character entry on the VVX 201, 300, and 400 series phones. With UCS 5.5.1, you can now sign into your Skype for Business Online account using the web sign in method, which allows you to sign into the phone with your Skype for Business Online account using a web browser.
Starting at your phone login window, you now have the option of choosing “Online” signin method.
The next screen on you VVX phone will show both the pairing code and the web sign-in URL to type into the browser.
You login via the web with your login credentials and password, type in the pairing code displayed on your phone and your phone is signed in and ready to use.
Better Together gets even better
Many users love the tight integration that the VVX phones have with the Skype for Business client that the Better Together over Ethernet feature enables—launching their call directly from the IM client or using their VVX phone for audio I/O on a Skype for Business client video call for example. This experience is incredibly different than the old disjointed PBX or IP PBX experience they experienced with their older PBX.
Be sure to pick up the latest Better Together over Ethernet software (BToE 3.4.0) on the Polycom support site that is built to support the UCS 5.5.1 release. In this release, the BToE client update helps deliver the new phone lock feature.
Phone lock with emergency calls allowed
All of the VVX phones now support the ability to lock/unlock the phone in a Skype for Business environment. End users can lock their phones to keep other users from using their phones when they leave, giving VVX users a similar feature capability to the original phone lock feature on the CX series phones. A user can either lock the phone from the phone’s UI or with the Skype for Business client when connected with Better Together over Ethernet (BToE). While the phone is locked, predefined numbers from a list of numbers can still be called (Security or emergency numbers for example). This is important, because while you are gone and your phone is locked, your phone might be the closest phone to an emergency situation at hand.
This feature is enabled 'ON' by the Skype for Business server profile. Administers are reminded to set an appropriate policy and define list of allowed emergency numbers appropriate for the office and country where the phone resides. Management tools like Event Zero UC Commander can make this task easier with its hierarchical layered configuration schema.
Quality of Experience (QoE) monitoring
With any UC or VoIP initiative, there is a great deal or attention given to network readiness and performance. For success, there are 3 phases to consider; plan, deliver and operate—as depicted below in Microsoft’s Skype Operations Framework visual representation. In the operation phase, we need to have the tools available to “Monitor” and “Report” on incidents that may affect a user’s call experience.
UCS 5.5.1 delivers a new feature that supports monitoring the VVX phones performance in both Microsoft Cloud PBX and Skype for Business on-premises deployments—with support for Microsoft Quality of Experience Monitoring Server Protocol (MS-QoE). With this feature, administrators can now monitor the VVX user's audio quality and more easily troubleshoot voice call problems attributable to network issues. QoE in Polycom VVX phones is powered by Telchemy’s VQMon module. By default, the phone sends QoE report at the end of each call with round trip delay, jitter, lost packets, and MOS score statistics. The phone’s QoE stats can also be queried directly from management services like Skype Monitoring server, Event Zero UC Commander, and others.
Find team members from your phone
Why create new contacts lists on your phone when you already have useful lists that you in email? UCS 5.5.1 further enhances your group list management on your VVX phone with the integration of email distribution lists—allowing you to expand an email distribution list of contacts directly on your phone. So for example, on the VVX 500 screen bellow, clicking on “expand” would then display members of this list and showing each members presence status as well.
User guide improvements
There are documentation changes with this release too. Effective with the introduction of the UCS 5.5.1 release, the VVX user guide and the VVX deployment guide get their own Skype for Business versions. For example, the new VVX Business Media Phones for Microsoft Skype for Business User Guide will show just the features available for Skype for Business user environment and will not describe the Broadsoft or Genband specific features.
Microsoft qualification testing
UCS 5.5.1 is a major release delivering new Skype for Business features from Polycom. Polycom VVX Series on Firmware Version 126.96.36.19926 has been approved under the "Certified for Skype for Business Online and On-Premises (3PIP)" program.
Will my phone work with Office 365 Cloud PBX?
Yes. The award winning Polycom VVX phones with order codes ending in “-019” are preconfigured with a software release that is “Microsoft Cloud PBX ready”. These phones have the software needed to run in either Skype for Business on-premises or Skype for Business Online environments. So when ordering new VVX phones to be used in Microsoft environments, make sure you are ordering phones with codes ending in “-019”. Any “-019” VVX phone that is ordered or already deployed can easily be upgraded to this latest UCS 5.5.1 software.
Security is top of mind for NATO but this doesn’t slow down the usage of technology by their member states and employees. Workforce empowerment is a priority as the organisation’s purpose is critical for maintaining world peace and defending the security of 28 nations in North America and Europe. This is why every little detail of the technology in use is under scrutiny and NATO has their hands full as they are at the forefront of promptly implementing new ways of working through Unified Communications technology.
How secure should a secure technology be for NATO?
How exactly is NATO making the new ways of working work for their employees?
Can you enjoy flexible, remote and anywhere working while working in the defence industry?
The new ways of working at NATO allows employees to work from anywhere securely and seamlessly. Visual workforce collaboration is one of the key tactics as decisions are made faster, ideas are shared promptly and knowledge is cross-pollinated across the team quickly on video that employees can join from the location they are working on that day. The resulting benefits range from extended training reach to empowered employees and time and cost savings.
Red Cross Children’s Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa is building a hospital of the future with Polycom video, voice and content sharing solutions and with the support of our partner Kathea.
We recently shared the Red Cross Children’s Hospital CATHCHAT story, and how the hospital is making a difference from their base in Cape Town, South Africa. We’ve been working really closely with our partner Kathea and the hospital to deploy solutions that will serve the hospital for the future and support their journey in building a brighter future for their patients.
The hospital receives around 260,000 patient visits each year, the majority of which are from exceptionally poor and marginalized communities and one third of the patients are younger than a year old.
The hospital faced a growing need for cardiac procedures in young patients, but had limited resources and access to highly experienced pediatric cardiologists. In an effort to broaden their ability to serve patients and to expand their local physician’s education, the hospital chose to implement Polycom video collaboration solutions in their pediatric interventional cardiac catheterization lab.
As a result of installing Polycom collaboration infrastructure, including Polycom® RealPresence® Web Suite and Polycom® RealPresence® Media Suite with the support of our partner, Kathea, the hospital professionals, are now equipped to learn from highly experienced cardiologists from across Africa and beyond to learn and teach paediatric interventional cardiac catheterisation live and in real time.
This open channel of learning will enable the hospital to connect with experts in remote locations whilst in theatre and during CATHCHAT sessions for guidance during complex procedures. The approach of the hospital is changing with an intention to build an efficient process for the future with the support of Polycom video collaborations. Ultimately, the hospital has an objective to decrease patient waiting time and enable their cardiologists to treat even more patients than before.
Polycom has been lucky enough to join the Red Cross Children’s Hospital during their CATHCHAT session which took place March 2016, more here if you missed the details. We capture some great footage which shows the complex procedures taking place in theatre while remote, experienced pediatric cardiologists are joining via video to support and advise where required. Additionally, we were able to joining learning and teaching sessions where doctors and experts from the hospital are able to share their knowledge and experience. To better understand the journey the hospital is taking with the support of Polycom and Kathea, please watch this short video clip or read the full case study here.
The CATHCHAT weeks have been very successful. With Polycom and Kathea, the Red Cross Children’s Hospital is building its concept to secure a bigger and better future for the people of Western Cape.
Note - CATHCHAT is an invitation only session designed for medical professionals involved in paediatric cardiology, but interested partners and the general public can follow the conversation on Twitter with hashtag #CATHCHAT
Below are a few questions I received from my colleagues in regards to my digital nomad experience with Remote Year.
Q: What's been the hardest thing about the digital nomad life?
A: Being away from my loved ones. This is the longest I’ve gone without seeing my parents and siblings. I initially thought I wouldn’t go home for the entire year but I quickly changed my mind after two months in the program. I can’t imagine going an entire year without seeing my family.
Q: Are you struggling with the temporary home situation or homesickness?
A: Somewhat, every month my accommodations change as well as my roommates. Adjusting to new roommates and a new bed every month can be challenging. I also miss my bed back home.
Q: What has been the most difficult thing about working on an adjusted schedule, how does that work for you and your team? Have you had to make accommodations for your job, based on your mobility, access, or time zone changes?
A: I’m more of a morning person, but on this journey I’ve had to spend a lot of my time working nights. Trying to stay focused late at night has been an adjustment for me. On the other hand my team has been very accommodating and understanding of my work schedule which changes constantly. I rely a lot on my phone and use it as a backup if the Wi-Fi isn’t strong enough for video or voice calls on my laptop. Thankfully Polycom offers mobile apps for RealPresence and Skype for Business.
Q:What has been the impact on your productivity?
A: At first I was really nervous about not being able to focus with all the distractions, but it turns out I’m working more hours in comparison to being home. Some of that has to do with the time zone difference, I try my best to be available for my team during east coast hours. Even though I might sign off for the day, I still check my emails to make sure there are no fire drills or urgent matters I need to address. It’s hard to disconnect from work in those hours I’m offline and I really want to continue to prove myself to my team which can be a struggle in this situation. I don’t want my career development to stop because of this year, I still want to take on more responsibilities and grow professionally. It’s been important to find a balance.
Q:What was the greatest challenge both professionally and personally that you had to overcome to take the leap?
A: Professionally I would say, getting the courage to ask my manager to allow me to participate in Remote Year, then asking the VP of America Sales at the time to approve my participation in the program as well. I took the risk on asking for something that was new to my department. And as I said above, it’s been a challenge leaving my loved ones for so long.
Q: Any cultural differences or nuances around work itself that you've noticed? People's attitudes towards work, schedules, etc.
A: Not really. My team has been really supportive of my work schedule. Each city we are given a co-working space that is available 24/7 which is convenient.
Q: You are traveling with 75 other nomads? What is the makeup and mix (gender, age, profession), and how has that influenced or enhanced your experience?
A: My Remote Year group, Darien started with 74 professionals, although many people have left the group due to personal and financial reasons, or they chose to travel on their own. This link is an overview of my group.
Despite the fact that many have left the trip, the people I’ve met on this journey have been amazing, we have become a family. We support and care for each other. I even had the opportunity to teach my first yoga class to the group.
Q: What lessons have you learned about remote working? (i.e., technology needed or space constraints) have you had to make accommodations for your job, based on your mobility, access, or time zone changes?
A: I’ve learned many lessons while on Remote Year here are a few:
Organize your schedule in advance of each week
Learn to utilize your mobile phone (hotspot, mobile apps, calendar etc.), this is your remote lifeline
Technology is key to your success for communicating (Skye for business, slack, google hangout, FB messenger, WhatsApp, etc.)
Q: Do you feel this is a life-changing experience? If so, how?
A: Yes, it has been life changing, being able to work in and travel to all these countries has opened my mind to a new way of life. I want to incorporate certain things that I liked from each country to my lifestyle post Remote Year, such as working from coffee shops, co-working spaces and attending digital nomad events back at home. Adjusting back to my old life will not be easy, but these small lifestyle changes will help a little.
Q: How has this journey impacted your personal life and career aspirations? What have you taken away from the experience?
A: I was initially nervous to blog about my experience as a digital nomad for Polycom but it has proven fruitful. I want others to continue to read my blog posts and get a taste of my journey as a digital nomad, I want to serve as an example for those with remote working aspirations. Additionally, I would love to continue to live the digital nomad lifestyle even after Remote Year is over.
Polycom’s many solutions offer a look into the workplace of the future, bringing increased freedom and mobility, workflow integration, ease-of-use and more to workers everywhere in companies of all sizes.
The Ministry of Defence of Spain counts on Polycom unified communication solutions to maintain constant and reliable contact with their personnel around the world. The advanced system allows the Defence Headquarters (EMAD in Spanish) to connect with any unit of Spain’s Armed Forces (FAS in Spanish), Military Headquarters, as well as with the NATO to make face-to-face contact through video and prepare for the unexpected.
Polycom® RealPresence® Platform is used every day by Spain’s Defence Headquarters to empower the disparate troops in a variety of ways, such as, to improve national security, to provide access to healthcare, to create and deliver distance learning, or to facilitate court proceedings with minimal costs.
The Ministry of Defence selected Polycom after conducting a thorough review of various unified communications solutions available in the market.
The customer works in close collaboration with NATO and Lieutenant Colonel R. Pérez, EMAD’s officer who worked on the technical part of the project, highlighted that, “NATO works with Polycom, and their systems are interoperable and could be integrated with other systems keeping the security spotless. For us, knowing that NATO chose Polycom was a valid reason for doing the same. Our communications need to be secure and in addition, it is extremely important that all solutions are fully compatible with our encryption codes.”
The new solutions have significantly reduced the time it takes to respond to crisis, boosted employee productivity and eliminated the need for extensive business travel as some meetings can be easily conducted over video.
EL MINISTERIO DE DEFENSA ESPAÑOL CONFÍA EN POLYCOM SUS COMUNICACIONES UNIFICADAS
El Ministerio de Defensa Español cuenta con las soluciones de comunicaciones unificadas de Polycom para mantener un contacto constante y seguro con los militares ejecutando misiones en distintas partes del mundo. Gracias a su avanzada infraestructura de videoconferencia, el Estado Mayor de la Defensa (EMAD) puede realizar conexiones tanto con cualquier Unidad de las Fuerzas Armadas (FAS) o sus Cuarteles Generales, así como con la OTAN, para mantener contactos ‘cara a cara’ a través de vídeo y prepararse para lo inesperado.
El EMAD usa la Polycom® RealPresence® Platform diariamente para unificar vía vídeo a las tropas desplegadas, mejorar la seguridad nacional, mejorar los servicios médicos, crear un mejor sistema de formación a distancia, facilitar procesos judiciales a distancia y minimizar los costes.
El Ministerio de Defensa seleccionó Polycom tras haber evaluado diferentes alternativas de comunicaciones unificadas disponibles en el mercado.
El cliente trabaja en estrecha colaboración con la OTAN y el Teniente Coronel R. Pérez destinado en el EMAD, en la Jefatura de Comunicación y Sistemas de Información, y que está trabajando en la parte técnica del proyecto, afirma que “la OTAN trabaja con Polycom y sus sistemas son interoperables y se pueden integrar de manera totalmente segura. Para nosotros, el hecho de saber que la OTAN había elegido Polycom fue una razón más que válida para hacer lo mismo. Para nosotros es muy importante la seguridad de todas nuestras comunicaciones, de ahí que los sistemas de videoconferencia sean compatibles con nuestros sistemas de encriptado”.
Las nuevas soluciones han reducido significativamente el tiempo de respuesta ante una crisis, han promovido la productividad de los militares así como han eliminado costes de gastos de viajes innecesarios, ya que algunas reuniones se pueden realizar fácilmente por videoconferencia.
Do you find infographics as appealing as I do? As a small child, I was a huge fan of Dr. Seuss books. I still am, in fact. Hand me Green Eggs and Ham or Hop on Pop and I’m transported back to a big farmhouse in Ohio. To this day, reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of my favorite holiday traditions.
Maybe that’s why I find infographics so compelling. Done well, they use interesting characters, eye-catching images and simple language to tell a story. Quite often you’ll also get some interesting statistics and data points thrown in to appease the analytical types like me.
There’s a growing buzz around Managed Services but I’m not entirely sure that it’s a well understood category. Managed Services for technology solutions run the gamut from Remote Monitoring and Management of on-premises hardware, to Private Cloud and X-as-a-Service offers. And there are a number of compelling reasons for organizations to consider these approaches as they look to enhance, expand or simply continue to operate their collaboration solutions while minimizing the impact to their internal IT resources.
Many of our organizations have a global workforce so these systems need to be up and running 24/7. End users are demanding better experiences which means someone needs to be monitoring them around the clock. At the same time, IT teams may be understaffed, lack the skillsets or simply don’t have enough time to support these demands. It can be quite expensive to run a follow-the-sun support staff internally whether for a collaboration solution, or any other category of technology.
The Managed Services infographic visually delivers some insights and alternatives to these challenges. It takes this broad and comprehensive topic and presents it in images with easily consumable and understandable soundbites to help you evaluate whether a Managed Service engagement with Polycom makes sense for your organization. It identifies potential pain points and offers a simple definition through analogy. It describes why Managed Services may be the best path forward and showcases some key benefits. It describes the options available from Polycom and highlights the key capabilities. But enough with all the words. Why don’t I stop typing and let you see for yourself because as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps that’s what makes infographics so powerful.
Click HERE to download the infographic. And if you feel so inclined, share your favorite Dr. Seuss story with a child (young or old) today.
In case you’d like to read more about Managed Services, here are some other blogs you may find interesting:
As video conferencing usage has risen dramatically in the past decade, Polycom HDX quickly emerged as the leading solution for video-enabled meeting rooms. Nearly half a million rooms are equipped with HDX, and it’s been at the center of millions of video calls.
But HDX was launched in 2006 – back when MySpace was the dominant leader in social media, and no one had ever heard of the iPhone, released one year later. Obviously technology has come a long way in the past decade, and there’s a whole new generation of video solutions that offer far more advanced capabilities, such as RealPresence Group Series. So it’s time to say goodbye to HDX, as it will no longer available for sale at of the end of October 2016.
A big part of why we’re putting all of our emphasis on RealPresence Group Series is due to high demand from our customers. They way they’re using video has evolved and Group Series is designed to meet the needs of the workplace of the future. Three of the top reasons we’re seeing organizations upgrade from HDX to Group Series:
Native integration with Skype for Business. It’s critical that video rooms are a seamless part of the way you communicate, and RealPresence Group Series is the only standards-based video conferencing solution with native Skype for Business integration. And it’s just gotten even better, with the Skype UI available right on Group Series systems to ensure the same interface across collaboration tools with no new training required.
Dramatically better user experiences. HDX offered great quality HD video, but Group Series takes this to another level. It’s not just about HD video quality any more, that’s a given. To truly improve the experience, you need camera innovations like EagleEye Producer that automatically zoom in on the person speaking, and audio innovations like NoiseBlock and Acoustic Fence to keep out distracting sounds.
Sharing any content, from your own device. We have many customers who rely on real-time full motion content sharing for true collaboration. With Group Series we’ve made it simple to share wirelessly from your personal devices to ensure that your content is always available to share in the most convenient way.
There are so many new applications and use cases for video that have been enabled by the unique innovations in Group Series, it would be impossible to cover them all here. I encourage you to check out our web site, where we highlight many of these stories and how Group Series is transforming the way people work.
It’s time to make the switch to RealPresence Group Series to enhance your video and collaboration experiences with the highest quality, easiest to use and best collaboration devices on the market.
If you’ve ever put off buying something new - or upgrading to a better version of what you already have - because you’ve invested in a maintenance contract or extended guarantee that still has time to run, we know how you feel. That’s why we’ve introduced our Unused Care Program, so you can take advantage of the latest Polycom solutions and not lose the value of outstanding maintenance on your current solution when the time is right for you.
We know how important it is to keep your technology investments current and up-to-date, and we don’t want you to miss out on any promotions or special offers, or the benefits of moving to a subscription model, multi-year contract or higher level of service. So our Unused Care Program lets you refresh your technology, migrate your systems, or change to a subscription when the time is right for you, without losing the value of the maintenance you’ve paid for but haven’t yet consumed.
If you want to move from Premier to Advantage mid-contract, it’s not a problem. We’ll simply take the outstanding value of your existing Premier contract, and reduce the cost of your new Advantage contract accordingly.
Similarly, if you’ve seen a trade-in promotion such as moving from Polycom® HDX® to RealPresence® Group Series, you can upgrade and purchase a new maintenance contract without losing out.
Or, if you want to migrate from your current infrastructure to RealPresence Clariti™, you can use the value of your outstanding maintenance contract towards your new subscription or migration.
You should never hesitate to renew maintenance when it comes due simply because you are considering one of the aforementioned changes. It’s important that you keep your existing solution under support. Once you decide on your new solution, we will simply apply the Unused Care amount using this valuable, new program.
The value of outstanding maintenance mustn’t exceed the cost of the new service you’re purchasing – but even if it does, we’ll extend the contract period to take this into account. Estimating the value of your unused care is simple, quick and easy, and applies to both Polycom and Partner Branded support contracts.
So if you’ve been considering making a change to your Polycom solution, but your unused maintenance has been holding you back, contact your Polycom Partner today and ask them about our Unused Care Program.
Throughout this journey on Remote Year, I’ve been working as a digital nomad using Polycom’s video collaboration solutions to enable my ability to work from anywhere around the world. I have felt welcomed in each of my temporary homes and felt the need to return the kindness I’ve been shown by giving back through donations and volunteer time at charities and non-profits.
Giving back to the community
During my time in Belgrade, Serbia I volunteered at a Refugee Aid Miksalište which a fellow Remotee helped organize. My colleagues and I helped organize and pass out clothing articles to families in need. It was difficult navigating the language barriers and trying to understand what the families needed.
One of the fondest memories I have while volunteering at the refugee center was helping a toddler replace his raggedy shoes with a pair of trainers that were in good condition. I removed the old pair of shoes and helped him slip into his new pair. The smile he gave me in return was priceless and I’ll always remember that moment.
While in Lisbon, Portugal after my work day, I volunteered at Refoods a charity that collects leftover food from restaurants once they’ve closed for the day, and then donates the leftover food to families in need around the neighborhood. The concept is ideal, instead of throwing away food that was not used at a restaurant, they agree to give away their leftovers to the charity. I helped wash and dry plastic containers that were used to store the leftover food. I went with other volunteers to collect the leftover foods from the restaurants. In order to keep this cause going they need about 30-40 volunteers, sometimes they don’t have enough volunteers to help collect food, meaning that leftover food is not picked up and is then thrown away. I’m very thankful that I was able to contribute my time to Refoods and I know other Remote Year groups who will go to Serbia and Lisbon, will also continue these charitable giving traditions.
In addition to volunteering there are opportunities to give back to the local communities through a program started by Remote Year called ‘change for change.’ Every time we transition to a new city, we have the opportunity to give our spare change in the local currency to the charities we have helped during our time there. The program has been so successful that other remote year groups are joining to donate in this way.
Another great opportunity for giving is done by giving our leftover food and any clothing which we won’t be taking to the next city on our journey to the local communities. I was inspired to start this tradition after a trip to the grocery store where I realized that I was buying these spices and certain non-perishable foods and then would toss them as we moved on. I knew this was a great waste and brought the idea to Remote Year. Now at the end of every month, as we prepare to move to a new city, we donate all leftover spices, non-perishable foods and clothing to the local communities.
The opportunity to give back has helped me to make an impact on the places I temporarily call home and I hope to continue to give back to these communities and others around the world as much as possible. See where we’ll be next here with my Remote Year group Darien. If you know of any great local charities or areas of these communities in need, let me know and we’ll add them to our list of great ways to give back.
Polycom is pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting at Orgatec 2016 in Cologne, Germany alongside our life long partner, Microsoft. We will at the show 25 - 29 October in Hall 11, stand H-020 and showcasing all solutions that will help customers build their workplace of the future. Sign up and Register your interest in Orgatec here.
...and it's back. #ShowMeTrio competition! To enter the draw, entrants have to share PolycomEMEA account #ShowMeTrio posts and register your name at the stand. Good Luck!
For further information in German language, please read further down.
Zusammen mit Microsoft zeigt Polycom auf der Orgatec 2016 und der Deutschen Partnerkonferenz neue Wege des Arbeitens
Polycom, ein führendes Unternehmen, das Organisationen darin unterstützt, Teamwork, Effizienz und Produktivität mit Hilfe menschlicher Kollaboration voranzutreiben, ist zusammen mit seinem langjährigen Partner Microsoft vom 25. bis 29. Oktober 2016 in Halle 11, Stand H-020 der Messe für Arbeitswelten und Büroausstattung Orgatec 2016 auf dem Kölner Messegelände vertreten. Bereits am 18. und 19. Oktober 2016 stellt Polycom auf der Deutschen Partnerkonferenz (DPK) von Microsoft im Congress Centrum Bremen aus.
Orgatec 2016: Arbeit neu denken
Die alle zwei Jahre in Köln stattfindende Orgatec ist die führende Messe für moderne Bürokonzepte und bietet Ausstellern und Besuchern aus aller Welt die Chance, über die Arbeitsumgebungen von morgen zu diskutieren. 2016 dreht sich alles darum, welche Rolle Mobilität, Flexibilität und Vernetzung spielen, um kreative Ideen entwickeln zu können. „Wir freuen uns, zusammen mit unserem langjährigen Partner Microsoft auf der Orgatec 2016 unsere Vision des Arbeitens der Zukunft vorzustellen. Unser Anliegen ist es, die Möglichkeiten der Technologie für eine effektivere Zusammenarbeit in Unternehmen aufzuzeigen“, erläutert Jens Brauer, Area Sales Vice President Central Europe bei Polycom.
Interessierte können sich auf der Orgatec zudem auf einem Expertenvortrag von Sascha Hirschoff, Director Systems Engineers Central Europe bei Polycom, eingehend über die sich verändernde Arbeitswelt informieren. In der „Speakers` Corner“ der Orgatec in Halle 11.2, Stand J 002 geht Hirschoff um 12 Uhr auf aktuelle Entwicklungen ein sowie welchen Beitrag Unified Communications Systeme dabei leisten kann.
Deutsche Partnerkonferenz 2016: Digitale Revolution
Auf der Deutschen Partnerkonferenz (DPK) von Microsoft am 18. und 19. Oktober 2016 im Congress Centrum Bremen steht für Polycom vor allem die langjährige Zusammenarbeit mit dem Software- und Hardwarehersteller im Mittelpunkt. Polycom, offizieller Gold Sponsor der Veranstaltung, lädt dazu ein, unter anderem Polycom® RealPresence® Group Series, die branchenführende Videokonferenz-Lösung, die für Skype for Business zertifiziert ist und von Office 365 unterstützt wird, genauestens unter die Lupe zu nehmen.
Damit liefert das Unternehmen optimale Anknüpfungspunkte an das Motto der DPK „Digitale Revolution“: „Unsere Gesellschaft befindet sich im Wandel. Die fortschreitende Digitalisierung wird vor allem im beruflichen Alltag eine immer entscheidendere Rolle spielen. Wir sind daher froh, schon seit vielen Jahren intensiv mit Polycom zusammenzuarbeiten und technologische Lösungen zu entwickeln, die das Arbeiten leichter, angenehmer und effizienter machen“, sagt Ellen Kuder, Skype for Business Lead Germany bei Microsoft Deutschland.
Auf beiden Veranstaltungen präsentiert Polycom eine breite Palette innovativer Collaboration Lösungen, die die Arbeitswelt von morgen prägen. Informieren kann man sich unter anderem über das Voice, Video und Content-Sharing System Polycom® RealPresence Trio™ sowie Polycom® RealPresence Centro™, die Collaboration-Lösung, die den Mitarbeiter in den Mittelpunkt der Zusammenarbeit stellt und über eine patentierte 360-Grad Voice- und Video-Technologie verfügt.
When I heard the news about Facebook’s new venture – Workplace – I was glad to see that another technology company is listening to what employees really want. Facebook seems to have really grasped the way people want to communicate with their colleagues. In day-to-day life we don’t sit in the same spot all day to liaise with our family and friends – we see them, speak to them, and message them (on the move or face-to-face). Why should the workplace be any different?
As Facebook describes it: “The new global and mobile workplace isn’t about closed-door meetings or keeping people separated by title, department, or geography. Organisations are stronger and more productive when everyone comes together.”
Social media has drastically changed the way we communicate and maintain relationships with one another in our personal lives, so it was inevitable that this style of interaction would eventually creep into our work lives too. We are now constantly connected and the pace of business is quickening, so it’s crucial for work teams to be agile. Any tool that improves communication across levels of seniority, departments, or even continents, is going to be beneficial to an organisation.
Being able to collaborate with my team, wherever I am, is vital to me. I can’t always be creative and resolve problems when I am stuck behind a desk on my own, and it’s not like I just switch off from my work the minute the clock hits 6pm, or when I’m away from the office. I’m lucky that at Polycom I have the option, thanks to the technology we have, to collaborate and share new ideas where and when it suits me. I don’t have to waste time sending thousands of emails – with just one click I can join a group video meeting with my team and instantly share any bright new ideas I have.
Business communication technology is a vibrant space right now, and Facebook’s Workplace will be a great addition to the mix. The modern workforce is becoming increasingly spoiled when it comes to integrated collaboration solutions, because there is now technology that can enable almost every type of interaction.
For example, for more complex communications – such as creative brainstorms – you have the RealPresence Centro, which allows quality group collaboration. Important business calls can rely on high-quality video and audio technology to ensure there are no hiccups or background noise, while global teams can feel closer together with content collaboration tools.
Facebook’s Workplace will certainly assist in team collaboration, but it’s just another piece of the jigsaw puzzle of creating a truly collaborative working environment. As the world becomes a smaller place, and flexible working continues to grow, it’s important that organisations integrate a variety of technologies to keep teams genuinely connected.
Here at Polycom we're dedicated to enabling the workplace of the future with the support of our voice and video solutions. This year at GITEX Technology Week it is no different! We are going to be in attendance and showcasing the latest portfolio of video, voice and content sharing collaboration solutions that help businesses enable their workforce to work from anywhere. Yes, Anywhere!
Polycom will be on stands Z-H12 and Z-H35 in Zabeel Hall in partnership with FVC and Sitec, while Westcon will be hosting a networking event for partners from October 17 – 19 at the IBIS Hotel.
Want to know what you can see whilst at the show? Read on, we have lots to share...
Key Polycom solutions on display by FVC, Sitec and Westcon at GITEX are:
Polycom® RealPresence Trio™is a solution transforms the iconic three-point conference phone into a voice, content-sharing and video system that can fit into any team environment. Easy to deploy, RealPresence Trio technology has broad interoperability and deep integration across multiple UC platforms including Skype for Business and Microsoft Lync, BroadSoft and others.
Polycom® RealPresence Centro™ is the first solution purpose-built to put people into the centre of collaboration, will be available for demonstration during the show. The RealPresence Centro solution introduces a brand new paradigm for group conferencing that drives deep engagement and highly productive meetings by bringing people to the centre of collaboration.
Polycom® RealPresence® Debut™brings enterprise grade video collaboration to the huddle room with a focus on simplicity and affordability. RealPresence Debut has an easy, elegant design that enables high quality visual collaboration for huddle and smaller room environments, as well as for small or medium sized businesses with limited IT resources.
Polycom® RealPresence® Media Suiteis an enterprise recording, webcasting and portal solution that makes the creation and delivery of higher quality videos possible. A central management console enables simple workflows to manage media nodes remotely.
Polycom® RealPresence ClaritiTMis a collaboration infrastructure that delivers Polycom’s powerful HD voice, content, video and web collaboration to businesses of any size is also available for demonstrations during GITEX.
Polycom VVX 101 and VVX 201 Business Media Phones: The Polycom VVX 101 business media phone is a low cost solution for small and home offices, lobby areas and shared workspaces—anywhere people need access to a simple phone with a single line. On the other hand, the Polycom VVX 202 is designed for organisations of all sizes looking for a cost effective telephony solution and features two line support and a wide-range of enterprise telephony features. Both offer life-like conversations with Polycom’s industry-leading HD voice, Polycom Acoustic Clarity and Polycom Acoustic Fence technology to deliver excellent sound quality and noise-free, echo-free conversations.
Want to meet the Polycom team and see how solutions in action? Sign up here, and we'll see you at the show!