Plantronics + Polycom. Now together as Poly Logo

The event this year is being held 26th – 30th September, Atlanta GA and Polycom will be there as a Gold Sponsor at Booth #1624 - and we are going to be very busy!

 

Ignite is the coming together of up to 20,000 Global IT Professionals, IT Decision Makers and Enterprise Developers from around the world.

 

As well as a packed agenda there will be an EXPO and Polycom will be there showing all the latest roadmap developments that creative productivity solutions built on Office 365 for voice, video and video interoperability.

 

Please use this invitation to visit our booth where you will see how:

  • You can have complete Office 365 collaboration with Polycom
  • Polycom is the only solution provider to complete Office 365 collaboration end-to-end
  • Our breadth of our portfolio is second to none for Office 365
  • How our native integration of Polycom devices into O365 drives rapid adoption
  • And how our deep expertise and global reach helps rollout our rapid deployment of solutions.

Want to learn more? Sign up for a boot tour here.

 

…and it doesn’t just stop there. Throughout Microsoft Ignite 2016, Polycom will be presenting a number of speaking sessions too! More details below…

 

Session 1: Complete Collaboration with Polycom and Office 365: a Partnership Overview

Monday, September 26 – 2.00 - 2.45pm

For over a decade Polycom and Microsoft have been working together to create the next generation workplace. In this session, Ashan Willy, Senior Vice President at Polycom, will give an overview of the Polycom and Microsoft alliance and how Polycom’s solutions for Skype for Business and Office 365 enable employees to truly collaborate from anywhere.

 

Session 2: Best practices in Building a Collaboration Strategy: a Conversation with Polycom and Microsoft

Tuesday, September 27 – 9.00 - 9.45am (Breakfast Session)

Skype for Business and Polycom are changing the way organizations communicate and collaborate. During this session, Microsoft and Polycom experts will address best practices around getting the most out of your Skype for Business and Polycom deployments. From finding the right partner to help with your journey to driving end-user adoption, Polycom and Microsoft will share their experiences from the field.

 

Session 3 & 4: Technology Deep Dive into Polycom Voice and Video for Office 365

Tuesday, September 27 – 4.00pm

Wednesday, September 28 – 10.00am

Do you have technical questions around deployment of Skype for Business or Office 365 and Polycom products? Our Solution Architects and Microsoft MVP’s will present Polycom’s collaborations solutions and how they integrate with Skype for Business and Office 365. They will be available to answer any technical questions you might have around deployment, product updates, and voice and video endpoints. 

 

Session 5: How to Prepare for the Cultural Evolution of Video: Strategies for Success from a Microsoft and Polycom customer

Thursday, September 29 – 10.00 - 10.45am

Video is transforming the way employees communicate and collaborate. Preparing for video requires an organization to think beyond the technology and evolve people and culture.  Hear best practices from Polycom’s VP of Global Solutions Marketing, Amy Barzdukas and first-hand experience from Chris Bryant, Sr. Vice President, Enterprise Applications & Technology at Operation Smile

 

Expo Hall Theatre 4 Session: Complete Collaboration with Polycom Voice and Video for Office 365

Thursday, September 29 – 2.10pm

Trying to determine a device strategy for Skype for Business and Office 365? Working through interoperability challenges between Skype for Business and your other voice and video endpoints?  Polycom helps global organizations with these questions every day.  Discover why 70% of customers choose Polycom when choosing the right partner for Skype for Business collaboration.

 

See how Polycom and Microsoft joint solutions can transform collaboration across your organization.  We can’t wait to see you there!

If the second half of 2016 is going to be anything like the first half then we are in for an amazing year! In March at Enterprise Connect, Microsoft announced expanding the reach of Skype for Business meetings so customers of all sizes will be able to leverage their existing video investments, and there’s a recap of it available here.  Also announced was the news of certifying our industry-leading RealPresence® Group Series, as well as the Polycom line-up of room solutions purpose built for Skype for Business to support Project Rigel.

 

We’ve talked about cloud interoperability previously and just this last week Project Rigel and Video Interoperability appeared on SkypePreview.com. The momentum with Microsoft continues and customers can now see these solutions as part of a preview, and as mentioned within our previous announcements, Polycom is fully aligned with Microsoft to support this.  For further insight on Cloud Video Interoperability Service, Meeting Room Devices (Project Rigel) and PSTN Calling, visit SkypePreview.com or of course talk to me or your Polycom rep.

 

Project Rigel Customers who are looking at Project Rigel can expect to augment with Polycom solutions, in particular, those that are going to be certified as we are to bring the video room continuum together.

 

What does this mean to our customers?

This is about ease of use, and it’s about adoption. As part of the workplace of the future, we talk about user experience, workspace and workflow.  Everything we are doing around Polycom RealPresence Group Series, Project Rigel and Polycom® RealConnect™ in the cloud drives this ethos and strategy for customer success.

 

  • User Experience – it’s about ease of use. We’re creating a common look and feel across all devices with Skype for Business.
  • Workspace – we have a choice for customers to achieve their room strategy with Project Rigel and RealPresence Group Series.
  • Workflow – Polycom RealConnect. And soon it will be in Office 365. We really have a model that meets the customer requirements around Office 365, with includes the newest feature - Polycom® RealConnect™ one click connection and 360 degree Roster View.

 

You’d think the summer period would mean things are a little quieter on the business front as many of you are away enjoying well earned breaks, but at Polycom we have been steaming at full tilt!  

 

In July we attended Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference.  This is the coming together of thousands of Microsoft partners to hear about Microsoft’s FY17 strategy.  What an amazing event! It’s all about cloud, but also about helping customers drive transformational change. 

 

In September we gear up for Microsoft Ignite in Atlanta which is Microsoft’s major customer event. Polycom will be there showing customers the widest portfolio for Microsoft Skype for Business and Office 365.  Come back soon to hear more on this!

 

As I look back at the last six months and look forward to the next six, I am so excited because never before has such a platform with Microsoft been so aligned to Polycom’s portfolio.

 

For further insight on Polycom’s solutions with Microsoft Skype for Business, visit Polycom’s website.

 

Follow @CharlieOJames on twitter.

We have a very exciting and busy time coming up as Polycom will be joining Microsoft at their annual Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), July 10-14 in Toronto, Canada. This is a great opportunity for those attending, and particularly for our Microsoft partners who will be looking for new revenue streams with our Polycom voice and video solutions. 

 

Partners can visit our booth #643 to learn more about Polycom’s strong partnership and interoperability with Microsoft, Office 365 and Skype for Business. The Polycom Partner team will be onsite to discuss and demonstrate how our products complete the end-to-end collaboration story and drive new revenue streams for our partners.

 

It’s simple…our certified solutions for Skype for Business and Office 365 easily light up our customers licenses so that they achieve rapid adoption and utilization, which assures that return on investment and higher levels of productivity that our customers seek. In turn, Microsoft partners are able to engage with customers deploying their own valuable skills and services that they have gained through their Microsoft competencies. 

 

We want to illustrate how Microsoft partners can engage with Polycom to be part of this huge go to market that we have with Microsoft. The breadth and depth of solutions for Office 365 and Skype for Business that we at Polycom have results in this relationship.  As a result, we create a long term, valued partnership with our customer and so can our partners. 

 

As I say it’s simple……. what’s not to like?

 

At our booth, the solutions demonstrations will include:rp-trio-09.jpg

  • The world’s first business media conferencing solution for Office 365 – Polycom® RealPresence Trio™ 
  • Polycom and Microsoft extend video collaboration to Office 365 – Polycom® Group Series
  • The first business media phones for the new Office 365 services – Polycom® VVX® phones
  • Simple and powerful collaboration software that drives Skype for Business video interoperability – Polycom® RealConnect

So how can partners engage at WPC 2016?

 

You can join Polycom for a booth tour at booth 643 and be entered for a chance to win a Polycom® RealPresence Trio ™.

 

Check out the WPC page on Polycom’s website >>

 

Sign up for a booth tour >>

 

Meet one-on-one with a member of our Polycom Partner team to explore partnership opportunities partner executive one to one

Polycom Employee

Guest Blog: Charlie James, EMEA Microsoft Alliance Director

 

Charlie James.jpgWe’ve had a busy first half of 2016, and during this period we made some exciting strategic announcements with Microsoft, such as our plans to certify the Polycom® CX5100 and Polycom® RealPresence Trio™ and we discussed how this enhances the Polycom® RealConnect™ offering, in addition to its newest feature – the one click connection and 360 degree Roster View.

 

Customers are increasingly coming to us with the age-old dilemma of making different multiple video systems work together – seamlessly and simply. Polycom has cracked it with Polycom RealConnect.  Adopting Polycom RealConnect means simplifying communication by leveraging native Microsoft Outlook calendaring and bringing everything and everyone together through click to join across devices. 

 

There are several benefits as a result of implementing Polycom RealConnect for Skype for Business, such as improved engagement, driving adoption, information sharing, cross collaborating and greater interoperability. Want to understand how? Read on…

 

Engagement

Customers simply want communication technologies to work together seamlessly and cost effectively. Until Polycom RealConnect was introduced Skype for Business video conferencing users could not meet or share content with participants using other video platforms, proving to be a difficult process for end users. To improve the user experience for our customers, Polycom RealConnect eliminates this barrier which ensures everything works together and provides each end user with the familiar communication experience they’ve grown accustomed to. There is no need to learn complex dialling codes or new platform behaviours, resulting in efficient use of business time and less on learning a new service. Additionally, the new enhanced Roster View enables every participant to be able to see who is in the room, on your screen so you share content as you would in a traditional meeting environment to ensure everyone is on board, productive and engaged throughout each meeting.

 

Adoption

If you’ve recently added voice or video to your organisation as a collaboration solution, or you’ve had video for a while and you want to expand your deployment, you should work on a plan to make sure your employees use and embrace Polycom RealConnect. Depending on where you are in your adoption journey, you may require multiple steps to get from where you are today to where you want to be. Identifying technology champions within your organisation, optimising the workplace and training employees is just the start to creating your workplace of the future.

 

Skype for Business has become one of the most widely-used communication tools in business today. Polycom RealConnect allows Skype for Business users to connect seamlessly with users on other video solutions using a single workflow that makes the experience familiar for all users, regardless of what device they are using and it matters because adoption is reflective of ROI and it could be greatest way to achieving that ROI. Polycom RealConnect drives adoption.

 

Information Sharing

The information sharing ability ensures a higher level of engagement in real time, providing an opportunity to enable bi-directional content sharing (desktop, program share) across Skype for Business clients and legacy video endpoints, shown as high quality content stream in real time with all participants. Polycom RealConnect enhances the Skype for Business client user experience by enabling employees to better engage with the workplace without breaking the workflow, having to join a virtual meeting room or co-space

 

Inclusion

Cross border collaboration ensures there is inclusion of all meeting participants and everyone feels as though they are working together within a collective workforce, this improves levels of productivity and efficiency as well as reducing meeting times, a valuable tool for time management. Additionally, the ‘One click to call’ enables participants to join a Microsoft Skype for Business meeting from any device, in any location and with the newly added feature, Roster view, meeting participants are visible regardless of what technology they are using and another fantastic new feature is the panoramic, wide-shot to include those sitting in dedicated immersive rooms.

 

Interoperability

In partnership with Microsoft, Polycom offers the broadest portfolio of interoperable voice and video solutions designed for Skype for Business and Skype for Business online in Office 365. Polycom RealConnect technology can be enabled through Microsoft-qualified video interop solutions including the Polycom® RealPresence® Platform and the Polycom® RealPresence ClaritiTM collaboration infrastructure solution.

 

For further insight on Polycom’s solutions with Microsoft Skype for Business, visit Polycom’s website.

 

Follow the author @CharlieOJames

Polycom Employee

Microsoft and Polycom are jointly organising a #PolycomChat session on business productivity that will be hosted by the @PolycomEurope Twitter account on Thursday 14 April at 11:30 BST. Questions should be posted on the day on Twitter using the hashtag #PolycomChat or submitted in advance of the event here https://bit.ly/1XekIbj. In addition, the attendees of the Polycom-Microsoft webinar are also invited to join this chat session to ask any follow-up questions with #PolycomChat taking place straight after the webinar. To learn more about the unified communications solutions created specifically to leverage the Skype for Business environment, visit Polycom stand J920 at the UC Expo exhibition taking place in London on 19-20 April. Enter the #ShowMeTrio competition at the Polycom stand to have a chance to win a brand new Polycom® RealPresence Trio™; share @PolycomEurope’s #ShowMeTrio post along with the #ShowMeTrio hashtag on your social networks to have a chance to win.    

 

The Twitter chat: #PolycomChat

14 April, 11:30 BST, https://bit.ly/1XekIbj

 20160414_PolycomChat_Plcm-Msft flashcard.jpg

To stay ahead in the highly competitive world of today, businesses need to find the right mix of technology for their workforce so they can achieve their daily business objectives efficiently. Productivity is improved significantly by customising the unified communications solutions for the business outcomes. It could be further leveraged if collaboration technology could work seamlessly with the existing Microsoft Skype for Business and Office 365 environment to provide intuitive workflows and collaboration experiences.

 

Join #PolycomChat to discuss business productivity with our expert panellists – @CharlieOJames, EMEA Director of Microsoft Alliance at Polycom, and @IanWoolner, Senior Product Marketing Manager (UK) at Microsoft Skype for Business.

 

The webinar: Polycom and Microsoft

14 April, 11:00 BST, http://bit.ly/1pH8eOg

 

Whether you are looking to extend video to the cloud as part of your move to Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business or you want to leverage your existing video investment within your chosen Microsoft environment, the recent announcements made by Polycom and Microsoft ensure that you will be able to seamlessly integrate video conferencing into all current workflows.

 

Register to attend the webinar to learn to ‘Expand the reach of Office 365 and Skype for Business’ first-hand from both Charlie James at Polycom and Ian Woolner at Microsoft Skype for Business. Straight after the webinar, you are invited to join the #PolycomChat session (details above) where you could ask any follow-up questions.

 

The exhibition: UC Expo 2016

19-20 April, London, http://bit.ly/1XkQwLRUC-Expo-2016-Flashcard-v1.jpg

 

On 9 March, Polycom and Microsoft jointly announced an overarching strategy to uniquely unite the worlds of productivity and video collaboration. Join our experts at UC Expo 2016 to learn more about the Polycom-Microsoft roadmap for Office 365 and how it could help you extend the productivity of Skype for Business.

 

You could also win a brand new Polycom® RealPresence Trio™ by ShowMeTrio-Flashcard-UC Expo.JPGentering the #ShowMeTrio competition at the Polycom stand J920. For a chance to win, share the image on the right along with hashtag #ShowMeTrio on the social network of your choice; remember to tag @PolycomEurope too. T&Cs apply.  

 

Polycom Employee

Guest Blog: Charlie James, EMEA Microsoft Alliance Director

 

Charlie James.jpgWe’ve had a busy few weeks following the highly-anticipated Microsoft announcement at Enterprise Connect 2016. If you missed it, the news included Microsoft certifying the Polycom® CX5100 and Polycom® RealPresence Trio™ as part of Project Rigel, and we discussed how this evolves the Polycom® RealConnect™ offering.

 

Our joint, strategic product development roadmap with Microsoft continues to grow and as part of that alliance, we recognise the forever evolving workplace of the future and what that looks like. Recent findings have indicated that 30% of American workers today are Millennials, and the way they work is changing the nature of the workforce. More efficient, round table style, collaborative teaming sessions preferred by the Millennials are replacing the formal, moderated meetings of Generation X.  Whilst there is a need to develop and cater to the workplace of the future, we also recognise that we must have in place trusted, reliable products, such as the Polycom® RealConnect™. We also understand the fundamental needs of our customers, which means further developing our product line-up with the launch of an industry-first cloud-based video interoperability service and our portfolio of Polycom room solutions purpose built for Skype for Business – also an announcement made at Enterprise Connect.

 

Polycom® RealConnect™ enables us to bring together numerous customers in one meeting to create their own experience. Delivering numerous key features, Polycom® RealConnect™ enables a single scheduling and dialing workflow that leverages Microsoft Outlook and includes a simple Click-to-join feature, for both Skype for Business clients and Polycom video endpoints, as well an enabling standards based endpoints for calendaring and click-to-join experience.  

 

Simplifying the process, the amalgamation of Polycom® RealConnect™ and Microsoft’s Skype for Business enables intuitive one-touch dialing which forms a connecting experience, and a native multipoint video and content sharing experience to preserve familiar user experience, which aids our customer’s through adoption.

 

Creating a seamless experience for our customers, Polycom® RealConnect™ has the capability of bi-directional content sharing, including Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) which is sent to Skype for Business users for native content experience, and of course conferences are hosted on both the Skype for Business Server AVMCU and Polycom® RealPresence Clariti collaboration infrastructure, for efficient resource optimisation.

 

To learn more about Polycom® RealConnect™ and the Polycom, Skype for Business product solutions for the workplace, join myself and Microsoft’s Ian Woolner, Senior Product Marketing Manager, UK at Skype for Business on the 14th April 2016, 10:30BST for a live Polycom-Microsoft webinar. Sign up here to secure your place on the webinar http://bit.ly/1pH8eOg

 

For further insight on Polycom’s solutions with Microsoft Skype for Business (SfB), visit Polycom’s website.

 

 

Follow the author @CharlieOJames

Polycom Employee

Guest Blog: Charlie James, EMEA Microsoft Alliance Director

 

_PCX1123.jpgIt’s been a huge week at Enterprise Connect so far and Charlie James, EMEA Microsoft Alliance Director, gives the low down on exactly what the recent announcements, including certifying the Polycom® CX5100 and Polycom® RealPresence TrioTM  for Project Rigel, launching an industry-first cloud-based video interoperability service and our new line of room solutions purpose built for Skype for Business means for Polycom partners and customers.

 

We have been really looking forward to making these announcements which is a result of the incredibly close alliance we have with Microsoft founded on our joint strategic product development roadmap. We’ve worked closely with Microsoft for many years, and during this time, Polycom and Microsoft have worked in tandem to deliver industry-leading collaboration solutions so it felt like the right time, as part of Microsoft’s newly announced Project Rigel, for us to share the good news that we will be delivering a new line of room solutions purpose built for Skype for Business. This new line will offer plug-and-play simplicity in a variety of configurations to meet the needs of any sized business and room. The new meeting room platform is an evolution from Lync Room System and is based on a new Windows 10-based platform that centres on a “Rigel” console that sits in the centre of a room. To support this launch, we have also worked meticulously and are pleased to confirm that Polycom’s leading voice and video technologies, such as Polycom® CX5100 and Polycom® RealPresence TrioTM, will be certified for Project Rigel solutions. In addition we will be extending the Surface Hub with a choice of certified products.

 

Certification is at the bedrock of everything we do with Microsoft and we always recommended to our customers that they invest in solutions that are certified.

 

Microsoft also announced their plans to expand the reach of Skype for Business environments, for our customers and partners of small, large and those in-between sizes, it means we leverage the existing video investments they have made with Polycom as they move to Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business environments. The collaboration with other existing video platforms using a new cloud video interoperability service built by Polycom and Microsoft, our industry-leading Polycom® RealPresence® Group Series in-room video conferencing solutions will be exclusively qualified on Skype for Business Server and supported on Office 365. This enables Office 365 customers to confidently leverage their existing video investments and unite with those of other vendors, including Polycom, Microsoft and Cisco, as they move to the cloud. Our customers will be looking to bridge these solution environments as they move to Office 365 and this news will change and enhance the user experience for our partners and customers as we use our proven technologies in these new deployments. When customers are making big strategic decisions around interoperability it’s good to know that Polycom is part of a strategic roadmap with Microsoft and this announcement underpins this.

 

A familiar Skype for Business-like user-interface on the Polycom® RealPresence TouchTM device will make it even easier for Skype for Business users to integrate video conferencing into current workflows. RealPresence Group Series solutions are used for meetings of all kinds, from huddle rooms to immersive telepresence rooms and this will enable Skype for Business to extend into conference rooms, boardrooms, and meeting rooms which will help our customers to continue to build the workplace of the future.

 

For the official press release, please visit the Polycom press room: http://www.polycom.co.uk/company/news/press-release-filter.html

Polycom Employee

Today Microsoft updated their solutions catalog to include phones supported for Skype for Business Online, including support for Cloud PBX and PSTN Conferencing workloads. In March 2015, Microsoft and Polycom jointly announced that the Polycom VVX business media phone would be the first 3rd party interoperable phones to support the cloud voice service offering as part of Microsoft Office 365. With this October update, we are delivering on this promise—made possible with the recent Polycom UC Software 5.4.0A firmware release (note-it will display as 5.4.0.10182 on the VVX phone). Polycom is pleased to offer 9 phones that can be installed in Microsoft Office 365 cloud PBX environments. We are especially proud to offer 7 VVX phone models to choose from—these phones offer the “showcase” user experience and feature mix for Microsoft UC environments. There is also Office 365 Cloud PBX support for several of the Lync Phone Edition models including the CX600 desktop phone and CX3000 conference phone.

 

For new desktop phone purchases, Polycom recommends the VVX phones. With 5 successive soft

ware releases introducing new Skype for Business and Microsoft Lync features, the VVX phones have caught up and surpassed the features available on the CX600 and Lync Phone Edition models offered by other vendors. The fastest pace of innovation is happening on the compatible phones (SIP based) and—with Polycom’s strong
 strategic partnership with Microsoft, the Polycom VVX phones are the 1st to market supporting Skype for Business Online.

 

** update, January 2016 ** Microsoft has also listed Polycom RealPresence Trio in the Skype for Business Solutions Catalog. This is the premier smart hub for group collaboration that transforms the iconic three-point phone into a audio-conferencing device that can fit in any team environment, large or small. With Skype for Business Online testing pending with the UCS 5.4.1 Rev AA software release available in mid-January on support.polycom.com, this solution will soon be supported with Office 365 Cloud PBX Services.

 

Q: Which Polycom phones can I use with Skype for Business Online with the new Office 365 Cloud PBX services?

A:  You can select from the following phones/solutions:

  • Polycom RealPresence Trio
  • Polycom VVX 600 Business Media Phone
  • Polycom VVX 500 Business Media Phone
  • Polycom VVX 410 Business Media Phone
  • Polycom VVX 400 Business Media Phone
  • Polycom VVX 310 Business Media Phone
  • Polycom VVX 300 Business Media Phone
  • Polycom VVX 201 Business Media Phone
  • Polycom CX600 IP Desktop Phone
  • Polycom CX3000 IP Conference Phone

You can read more about how each of these phones fit in an Office 365 / Skype for Business Online environment here

 

Q: If I don’t have the VVX phones yet, which ones should I order?

A: Polycom is introducing new order codes for VVX Skype for Business Edition Phones. Phones ordered with codes ending in “-019” will get VVX phones installed with the minimum UCS 5.4.0A release required for Skype for Business Online. The VVX phones that end in “-019” also include the Polycom UC Software license required to operate them in Microsoft UC environments. When you order these phones and you won’t have to figure out how to update the VVX firmware of the older VVX phones prior to installing them on Skype for Business Online. To review the product details on these VVX phones, download the REFERENCE GUIDE Polycom VVX Phones, Skype for Business Edition.

 

Q: If I don’t have RealPresence Trio yet, which one should I order?

A: A new order code for a Skype for Business Edition RealPresence Trio, also ending in -019, is expected to begin shipping in February. It will ship with the UCS 5.4.1 Rev AA software required for support with Office 365 Cloud PBX (powered by Skype for Business Online).

 

Q: What Polycom firmware release is needed for the VVX phones I already own?

A: VVX phones you own already must be updated to UCS 5.4.0A prior to deploying them with Skype for Business Online. If they are currently deployed on Lync Server 2013 or Lync Server 2010, this is easy to do. For VVX Business Media Phones running an earlier version please refer to the following FAQ on our support community page on how to perform the necessary upgrade; FAQ - How can I setup my Phone / Provisioning / Download / Upgrade / Downgrade Software

 

Q:  What features are supported on VVX phones that are not supported on the CX600 or other Lync Phone Edition models?

A: Important features that VVX phones support include:

·      Boss/Admin

·      Touch Screen Interface (VVX 500/600)

·      Group Paging

·      USB Headset Support (VVX 500/600)

·      Intercom

·      Bluetooth Headset Support (VVX 600)

·      Selectively Restrict Features (i.e. lobby phones)

·      Custom Applications and Backgrounds

·      Customizable Music on Hold

·      Electronic Hook Switch (EHS) support

·      Acoustic Fence

·      802.1X Authentication

·      Expansion Module Support

·      Better Together over Ethernet (BToE)

·      Consultative transfer

·      Auto-Answer

 

Q: What Polycom firmware release on CX phones is needed for Skype for Business Online?

A:  The CX600 desktop phone and CX3000 conference phone must be updated to May 2015 CU (version 4.0.7577.4463) available from Microsoft prior to deploying them with Skype for Business Online.

 

Q: Can I use a Polycom CX300 R2 USB phone with a Skype for Business client?

A: Yes. You can use a CX300 R2 USB phone which gives you the choice of a handset, speakerphone or headset (via headset jack), however there are advantages to having a phone like a VVX that is “always on”.  The VVX phones have dedicated feature keys like “transfer”, “call park” and support additional features like intercom, paging, auto-answer, and consultive transfer—features which are not supported when using a Skype for Business client with only a headset or USB phone. A CX300 R2 phone is a good choice for the home office when you need to make an occasional early morning or evening calls. Full time telecommuters, however, should consider a VVX phone or a CX600 for their home office.

 

Q:  I have a mix of on-premises Lync server installations and/or SIP trunking with IP PBXs that I plan to phase out over time. Can you help me plan for hybrid installations as I introduce Office 365 Cloud PBX deployed phones in my Enterprise?

A:  Yes. Polycom offers a range of Professional Services for Microsoft including Envisioning Services (planning, network assessments), Implementation Services and Technical Support Services.

 

Q: Does Polycom have an online support portal for questions I may have?

A: Yes. We recently created a “Skype for Business” category under “Voice” on community.polycom.com for Polycom related product questions/answers.

 

Q: What are the advantages to moving to a Microsoft Cloud PBX with Skype for Business Online? Do you have any resources available that will help me make a decision?

A:  This is topic is worthy of an entire blog post in itself (stay tuned). Here is the abbreviated version.  Microsoft’s Cloud PBX will allow customers to make, receive and transfer calls from mobiles, tablets, PC’s, and phones from nearly anywhere with internet access. IT departments who move their communications services to the cloud will no longer need to maintain and upgrade on premises servers and software—and if you are retiring older PBXs and moving to the cloud, the support time savings are multiplied. Software upgrades are managed automatically in the cloud. New features can be introduced at a faster pace. Customers can easily scale up or scale down the numbers of employees supported. Also, a subscription based Pay-As-You-Go OPEX model is more attractive than a CAPEX model where larger capital investments are required to upgrade or replace aging PBX equipment. Finally, the overall price of communications is expected to be significantly lower than the PBX and conferencing services replaced.

 

Resources:

  1. Polycom Support Page - Polycom® UC Software for Microsoft Deployments
  2. Forrester Report: Polycom and Microsoft - Forrester Research calculated the total economic impact companies can gain when they join the power of Polycom with Microsoft.
  3. Deploying Skype for Business - Industry leading analyst Zeus Kerravala from ZK Research hosts a 5-part series on best practices for deploying Skype for Business
  4. Skype for Business Masters Webinar Series (On Demand)- A Series presented by Microsoft MVPs about what Skype for Business is, how it works and why you need it. Part 4 of this series focuses on “Office 365: Uncover the Benefits”
  5. Voice Selection Guide for Office 365/Skype for Business Online - Evaluate the capabilities and features of Polycom phones and select the models that fit your Office 365 cloud PBX deployment

If you have sales related questions, feel free to send an email to TeamMicrosoft@polycom.com

 

Be sure to view this webinar replay:

Choosing-phones-for-Office-365-Cloud-PBX.png

Polycom Employee

It’s here—UC Software 5.4.0 Rev A (UCS 5.4.0A)—the Polycom software many Microsoft voice customers have been waiting for.  In March 2015, Microsoft and Polycom announced that “Polycom’s VVX business media phones will be the first phones to support PSTN calling in Office 365”.  As the Office 365 Cloud PBX “preview” currently underway expands to include phones, the Polycom VVX phones being deployed will be running UCS 5.4.0A. While some might refer to 5.4.0A unofficially as Polycom’s “Office 365 software release”, 5.4.0A is also the first “Polycom supported” software release for VVX phones deployed on Skype for Business Server 2015 (on premises).

 

Polycom introduces features in 5.4.0A that improve the user experience and make phones easier to provision and manage with Office 365 Cloud PBX deployments running Skype for Business Online. Better Together over Ethernet (BToE) is now easier to install. Administrators can install the BToE application to the user’s computer with a single download package. Administrators can also directly manage phone configuration settings in the Web Configuration utility through BToE.  Another enhancement allows existing VVX phone features like access to calendars, message waiting indicators, and synchronized call logs to work with Exchange Web Services for Office 365. When it comes time to migrate users, the new Office 365 User Migration feature allows administrators to migrate user information from a Lync on-premises solution to an Office 365 on-line solution (or vice versa). Other enhancements in this software release support the ability to use and manage VVX phones in Office 365 environments. For a complete list of the feature enhancements in UCS 5.4.0A, download the latest Polycom UC Software Feature Summary. To download the 5.4.0A software, go to the Polycom support page for Polycom® UC Software for Microsoft Deployments.

 

S4B_MasterSeries.png

 

 

 

 

 

You have probably seen in the press that Microsoft has unveiled yet another collaboration tool – the Surface Hub with its state of art front facing cameras and noise emitting microphones.  Through the launch of the its large screen Surface Hub devices, Microsoft promises to transform the way groups of people work together as the Surface Hub could replace traditional whiteboards in offices, homes and schools with full connectivity to the range of Microsoft products.

So what does this mean for Polycom? Will the Surface Hub replace the Lync Room System? 

 

From my perspective, the new addition to the Microsoft collaboration suite is an ideal opportunity for us. As for replacing Lync Room System, I believe the Surface Hub will only serve to complement existing solutions as it further drives true room based collaboration.

 

 

It’s no secret how successful the Polycom / Lync partnership has been over the years, and the use of Lync throughout businesses particularly the enterprise means that organisations have already invested a fair amount in infrastructure, endpoints and training for employees in order to ensure that the Lync workflow is integrated into the business processes.  

 

I am excited about the new possibilities and potential sectors that could open up for us through a solution like the Surface Hub, we have seen great success through Lync Room System installations and our own Room Systems for Lync drive by our Group Series products, we anticipate further joint success moving forwards.   Think of the possibilities of extending Surface Hub with our audio / video capabilities?  That would be awesome!

 

Lync Room System or CX8000, is what it says on the tin - a room collaboration solution - purpose built to deliver visual collaboration capabilities coupled with the CX5100 centre of the table camera, LRS can ensure a productive meeting experience where everyone is seen and heard.  On the wall touchscreen a solution like the Surface hub then further enhances this environment. 

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I would even go as far as to say that this truly compliments our ethos of creating a true workplace of the future, through enabling collaborative workspaces, workflow and a high quality experience. It’s almost like we planned it!

 

 

With Skype for Business now generally available, a new era in workplace communications has arrived...to learn more about how Skype for Business can impact your organisation watch our 'Connecting Skype for Business in your video environment' webinar to gain valuable insights from our experts

http://www.polycom.co.uk/collaboration-solutions/microsoft-unified-communications.html

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The countdown to Microsoft World Partner Conference 2015 has started. If you happen to be in Orlando on 12-16 July and want a piece of the Smart City buzz, the two exhibition areas you should not miss are Microsoft CityNext and Polycom (booth #1501). Here is why… 

 

Cities face new challenges ahead. 

 

By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities*, representing an additional 2.7 billion people in the world’s urban areas. How can city leaders prepare for this influx of migrants in light of today’s challenges: aging infrastructure, tighter budgets, cyber-security threats, urbanization and the pervasive use of mobile and social technologies by citizens?

 

Government leaders have the power to shape the city of the future. Information and communication technology enables cities to innovate, collaborate and prosper by connecting constituents with the next-generation of public services, with the goal of improving satisfaction, increasing efficiencies and reducing costs. 

 

Failing to properly deploy innovative solutions to mitigate the population density of cities would result in additional labour, traffic, environmental and security challenges. In this blog, I am sharing how Microsoft unified communications and Polycom collaboration solutions empower citizens, businesses and governments to transform the way people live, learn and work. You can also watch the video interview available further below to know more.

 

The Smart City race is on and the opportunity is big.

 

According to Forbes, urbanization has become so important that it has elevated some cities to be even more important than the countries themselves contributing substantially to the country’s GDP. Top of the Forbes list was New York City, which has initiated smart and sustainable initiatives such as City 24/7, an interactive platform that integrates information from government programmes, local businesses, and the city’s citizens to provide knowledge to anyone, anywhere, anytime, and on any device. Barcelona and Santander in Spain and Amsterdam have been cited as some examples of smart cities which have already begun wiring up and connecting themselves to drive better efficiency and benefits for citizens.

 

The Government of India has announced an ambitious 100 Smart Cities programme where State capitals as well as many tourist and heritage cities are expected to witness a rapid upgrade of urban infrastructure and online services to citizens, enabled by Information Technology. Singapore remains committed to becoming the world’s first Smart Nation that taps on ICT to better serve citizens, which will set it apart from the many Smart Cities that are already developing globally. The global race to become the Smartest City is definitely on and the business opportunity for technology vendors and integrators is tremendous.

 

According to Frost & Sullivan search, the Smart City market represents a USD 1.5 Trillion business opportunity globally in segments of energy, transportation, healthcare, building, infrastructure, and governance. Polycom and Microsoft are two Smart City market participants that partner with cities to address various challenges through the use of unified communication and collaboration technology.

 

Polycom Solutions for Microsoft CityNext: Better together!

 

Microsoft CityNext empowers governments, businesses, and citizens to create more sustainable, prosperous, and economically competitive cities. Broadening the city innovation conversation beyond infrastructure alone, Microsoft CityNext helps city leaders unlock the most important resource of any city—the potential of its people—by delivering citizen-centric services to help them lead safer and healthier lives and have access to quality education.

 

Polycom provides the most comprehensive and complete solutions for Microsoft unified communications, including voice, conferencing, and video collaboration solutions. Polycom collaboration solutions integrate seamlessly to enhance productivity along with Microsoft applications. Thus, together, we are enabling cities to provide services that put people first by designing around their needs to serve them better. 

 

 

• Modern Cities – Microsoft & Polycom enable real-time, equitable and sustainable access to government information, services and city resources. Allowing city employees do their jobs better, citizens to leverage services more effectively and businesses to succeed more quickly.

 

• Safer Cities – Microsoft & Polycom empower justice, enforcement and defense agencies to be better prepared and respond faster to threat, disaster or emergency in their communities. Protecting the way-of-life that citizens and leaders have worked hard to establish

 

• Healthier Cities – Microsoft & Polycom help cities to transform healthcare models and provide collaborative care from anywhere to anyone affordably. Offering patients, providers and payers a sustainable model and better outcomes for all.

 

• Educated Cities – Microsoft & Polycom provide rich, interactive learning experiences that improve knowledge retention and increase productivity of every learner, teacher and instructor.

 

By adopting a modernization approach that works today and is sustainable into the future, government leaders can transform their cities into vibrant hubs that attract a skilled population and inbound investment to drive the city’s economy— thereby, becoming more competitive in the global economy.

 

Partnering to build The City of the Future

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The Mega Trend of Smart Cities is set to drive urban development for the next decade and will drive demand for response, storage, multi-energy networks, smart devices, and new business models (Telehealth, Distance Learning, Next-gen Citizen and Emergency Services…) leveraging unified communication and collaboration solutions. As a Microsoft and/or Polycom Partner, you should be at the forefront of this change helping to build the City of the Future, which is more modern yet sustainable, educated, safer and healthier for all.

 

Visit us at WPC 2015

 

If you happen to be at WPC, please visit the Polycom Booth #1501. Ask for my colleagues, Andrew Graley or Robert Birch who will share with you how we can work together to address this market opportunity. You can also contact us to know more about Polycom Solutions for Microsoft CityNext: industry.solutions@polycom.com

 

* The World Health Organization, in their World Urbanization Prospects report for 2014.

Polycom_Booth.jpgEach year, Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference brings together over 10,000 of some of the brightest minds in the technology industry. All partners of Microsoft, all working together to make business more efficient, more intuitive and even more fun.

 

Last week was no different. Polycom has been privileged to be a partner of Microsoft for over a decade. Constantly working together to improve efficiencies and generate productivity in the workplace, Polycom and Microsoft have developed solutions that are built and qualified in the Lync environment.  In fact, our work with Microsoft, which includes our CX8000, a Lync Room System, has played a big role in Polycom gaining the highest rating by Gartner for Group Video Systems.

 

 

What we had in the booth

Polycom was once again a proud sponsor of the event.

The main element of our booth display was the CX8000 Lync Room System and CX5100 – our unique, center-of-the-table 360-degree HD voice and video device for Lync. Many who came to our booth mentioned that they were using the original roundtable, the CX5000 and were eager to upgrade to the new and improved HD solution.

 

As usual, our VVX phones generated much interest as many inquired about the different functionality of the devices – from our VVX300 (an entry level HD voice quality device) to the VVX600 (multiple features that include video, HD voice and an instant access directory).

 

 

Meeting capture – particularly for training or new hire videos – and ability to access and dissect transcripts for key messages were the two most favorably received applications of our Video Content Management solution.

 

Cloud party a big hit:

In partnership with Plantronics and Sonus, Polycom sponsored an event on the roof deck of the W Hotel in Washington.  We were pleased and honored to have more than 500 attendees attend, including influential Microsoft Partners, as well as Lync Marketing, Engineers and Sales Teams from Microsoft as well as members of the media as well.

 

Generating a movement:

 Polycom is proud to be joining Microsoft on two programs that are truly remarkable:

  • Operation Smile –  A charity designed to help children around the world who have facial abnormalities, Polycom is working in conjunction with Microsoft to offer support for this cause
  • CityNext – Polycom has been accepted into Microsoft’s CityNext program, which is designed to positively impact cities and communities through the use of technology

The Polycom and Microsoft partnership continues to be an important one for businesses everywhere. We’ve been honored to collaborate with Microsoft to address key business challenges along the way.

 

 

And stay tuned. Microsoft and Polycom have more coming!

 

 

The continuing advancements of today’s collaboration technology make it possible to transform virtually any place in the world into an ‘office.’  These days, my ‘office’ is much more mobile, since I’m usually working on wireless from my laptop, tablet or phone rather than a traditional desktop computer. I’ve nearly forgotten what it’s like to feel tethered to a desk.

 

Unified Communications, like Microsoft Lync, has also made us more productive and efficient. For most, instant messaging and VoIP calls have become second nature but for many, video is still in the early adoption phase.

 

So, how can we make video easier to access and more intuitive? Enter: Lync.

 

We’ve been working with Microsoft for a long time. So long, in fact, that we have the broadest set of solutions in the industry that are optimized for and interoperable with Lync (40+ options). In my role as a Marketing Program Director for Microsoft, I’ve learned about the challenges organizations face with video adoption. The solution, though, can be simple. Especially for organizations that have Lync, these tips can make a world of difference in speeding adoption and usage of video. The employees in the organization will be glad for it, because the ROI can be tremendous.

 

The Challenges to Adoption:

 

Customers we’ve met with have shared three distinct concerns about video:

 

  • Quality of Performance

  • Limited Leadership Buy-in

  • Interoperability

The quality is paramount to adoption. Steve Lohr of the New York Times reported in 2012 (two years is an eternity in technology) that even the blink of an eye – 400 milliseconds – is too long to wait for a web page to load. We’re spoiled and impatient!

 

A lack of buy-in and support can prohibit adoption. In some circumstances, leadership is not prepared for the changes UC can bring to an organization or they may lack the type of high-level, long term UC vision. In addition, smaller companies struggle with limited IT support.

 

Users need to connect to be able to connect with suppliers, colleagues and customers outside of the walls of their organization. Interoperability with other video platforms is paramount to adoption.  

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Our Recommendations:

 

To avoid the above uncertainties, we offer three recommendations that will make your video adoption seamless:

 

  • Ensure your network is video-ready

  • Have Adoption & Migration Plans

  • Identify Critical Success Factors and Measure Your Progress

Bandwidth plays an extremely important role in video conferencing. There is a strong correlation between how well your network performs and the success of your video solution deployment and adoption.  Introducing video to your network, you’ll want to understand the impact, bandwidth requirements and utilization in advance.

 

As mentioned earlier, application performance is absolutely critical to success. Having a plan – or plans – will ensure the end user is prepared, trained and approves of the experience.  Make sure your adoption plan includes…

 

  • …a communications plan: what are you rolling out?

  • …a training plan: how do your employees use it?

  • …a migration plan: when will employees transition?

  • …a support plan: who can help if something goes awry?

  • …an operations plan: which includes a series of tests to ensure proper bandwidth is available

Most importantly, after implementation, ask for user feedback – especially for early adopters. Understanding employee pain points and correcting them will allow them to gravitate faster toward embracing video.

 

Poor video performance can be a direct result of device challenges and limit your success. Consider assessing all performing devices – in the office and at home – to ensure they are Lync qualified and compatible.

 

Finally, measure your success! My colleague, Russ Colbert, recently published a byline in Federal Computer Week on the adoption of video in our Federal Government. Russ noted the Navy was one of the early adopters of video collaboration and his superior would ask him every day to estimate the return on investment. Positive ROI will help build support from senior leadership.

 

This is an exciting time for collaboration. To think we can travel around the world without leaving our office! Face-to-face collaboration is changing our business world, making us more collaborative, more productive, and more efficient while improving work-life balances. Video will soon surpass email and instant messaging as the most desired means to conduct business.

 

Is your business ready?

Microsoft Lync is rapidly becoming the de facto application for organizations to connect their employees through presence and IM. When you add voice, video and content collaboration capabilities to Lync, the value to organizations is clear: one tool, one resource for virtually all of your unified collaboration and communications needs to drive productivity and engagement.

 

Many companies partner with Microsoft to add their voice, video and content capabilities to the Lync platform, and Polycom is one of them. For more than a decade, Polycom and Microsoft have been working together to improve unified communications experiences. Polycom uniquely integrates our solutions natively into the Microsoft Lync platform—all with the same look and feel of the core Lync experience with added features and functionality. In total, we provide more than 40+ solutions that integrate directly into Lync today, so people can choose just the right communications and collaboration solutions that fit their organizations needs.

 

Microsoft recently announced their 2014 Partner of the Year winners and finalists, and Polycom was honored to be named one of two finalists in the Communications category. This is a very competitive space and we were thrilled to see our commitment and investment in the Lync platform pay off with this recognition. 

 

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Given the fact that Microsoft received more than 3,200 nominations across 46 award categories, we are honored to be recognized.  The Polycom and Microsoft is stronger than ever.  Polycom and Microsoft continue to develop solutions—like our Lync Room System, Polycom CX8000 and CX5100—that are changing the way people communicate.

 

 

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