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No Jitter Roll: Five for Friday, Microsoft Ignite Edition

At this week's Ignite conference and expo, Microsoft Teams was the big buzz for collaboration -- touted from the mainstage, in breakout sessions, and on the exhibit floor. Here's but a small sampling of Teams-related device and management offerings showcased at Ignite, from Crestron, Yealink, Pexip, BlueJeans Network, and Unify Square.

Creston Flexes Teams Muscle

Via a new portfolio called Flex, Creston now offers users the ability to have native Microsoft Teams or Skype for Business experiences whether at their desktops or in a meeting room of any sort -- from a huddle room to boardroom, and beyond.

The Flex line includes the M100 Series, introduced in March at Enterprise Connect, a tabletop audio- and video-conferencing system for use with Teams or Skype for Business. The series features a 4K HD camera with auto-zoom and people-counting functionality for meeting room analytics.

New to Crestron's Teams product line are its first VoIP phones, the P100 Series. The phones feature a Teams interface for touchscreen calling and calendar access, for example. For its entry into desk phones, Crestron has layered its zero-touch provisioning and management software on top of devices it's licensed from Yealink, said Ted Colton, VP at Crestron. The phones are also available for Skype for Business, firmware upgradeable to Teams.

Another addition to the Flex line is the B100 Series, a front-of-the-room meeting room system featuring a wall-mounted sound bar, a beam-forming microphone array, and an integrated 4K HD camera with the same capabilities provided in the M100 Series. It pairs with a Teams or Skype for Business touchscreen, and it, too, can be remotely provisioned and managed via Crestron's XiO Cloud platform.

The XiO Cloud platform runs in the Microsoft Azure Internet of Things Hub, Colton said.

The Flex portfolio represents a strategic shift for Crestron, which typically has provided bespoke implementations. These devices are "built for IT installation," Colton said -- no systems integration required.

Yealink Expands into Teams Support

In addition to making news as the original design manufacturer for the new Creston VoIP phones, Yealink made some device announcements of its own. Its Teams portfolio includes the T56A and T58A desk phones, the CP960 conference phone, the Android-based VC200 huddle room solution, and the MVC500 and MVC800 Skype Room Systems for larger meeting spaces.

Yealink said it aims to smooth the transition from Skype to Business to Teams. The T56A, T58A, and CP960 are upgradeable from Skype for Business to Teams via a firmware update, and the video devices are compatible with either platform.

The T56A, T58A, and CP960 devices are Microsoft-certified, and on the market. The video solutions for Teams will be available in 2019.

Pexip to Release Teams-Enabled Video System

Pexip's Cloud Video Interoperability (CVI) solution for Teams, shown in demo mode at Enterprise Connect 2018, is now available, the company announced this week.

This solution adds to the Microsoft-certified video interoperability solution Pexip has been offering for Skype for Business. This new CVI solution enables video, audio, and content-sharing between group video conferencing systems and Teams, said Jordan Owens, VP of architecture at Pexip. The experience should be seamless for users, no matter whether on Teams or not, he added.

"Users just have a meeting, whether they've transitioned from one system to another or from the premises to the cloud," Owens said.

Pexip CVI for Teams will be available on Oct. 19, the company said.

BlueJeans Adds Teams Gateway

Elsewhere in video, BlueJeans Network announced its own Teams-related product -- the BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams. Via the gateway, BlueJeans said it aims to deliver a consistent Teams video meeting experience regardless of room system hardware. To do so, it offers one-touch join via native touchscreens and full interoperability with H.323 and SIP-based systems.

In addition, IT can manage, monitor, troubleshoot, and update the video estate centrally, with device data stored with the Azure cloud, BlueJeans said.

BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams is available to Technology Adoption Program customers and for early adopter trials, BlueJeans said. It will be generally available in North America beginning Oct. 31.

Unify Square Expands Teams Reporting, Partners with Jabra

In Teams-related news of a different sort, Unify Square announced availability of a voice quality and reporting analytics solution for Teams, part of its PowerSuite performance and operations software suite. With this offering, which Unify Square said augments its Skype for Business voice solution, IT will have the ability to identify, track, and troubleshoot call quality across the Microsoft communications platform.

In addition, Unify Square noted a variety of other PowerSuite enhancements in the works. These include:

  • Teams provisioning -- In beta, this offering represents the first of multiple phases of functionality intended to help manage phone numbers and bulk migrations to Teams. It includes phone number assignments and user onboarding, offboarding, and termination, plus policy management. With this offering, Unify Square said it will be bringing provisioning parity between Teams and Skype for Business.
  • Enhanced Workstream Collaboration Analytics -- In an update to Teams reporting capabilities introduced earlier this year, Unify Square is adding new analytics capabilities such as total teams and channel message counts, team member counts, and number of teams joined per individual.
  • Tracking Dashboard -- his monitoring solution, in beta, gives IT the ability to track and assign an experience score for a targeted set of UC users. It will allow proactive troubleshooting so IT can determine who on a call is creating the poor experience and provide guidance on how to address and resolve the problem.
  • Mid-Call Update -- Another beta capability, this Help Desk extension lets IT drill into a single user's call details more deeply than previously possible, with the ability to troubleshot and take action during a call or conference as issues occur.

Lastly, Unify Square said it has expanded its partnership with Jabra so that IT can now implement firmware updates and feature configuration for the vendor's devices directly within the PowerSuite platform. Previously, PowerSuite enabled reporting and troubleshooting of Jabra devices.

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