Finally – Skype for Business for Mac Plus Enhanced Mobile Application Sharing

Skype for Business Mac is now publicly available for download. The Mac client offers edge-to-edge video and full immersive content sharing and viewing. The result is a great first class experience for Mac users.

skype-for-business-announces-new-mac-client-and-new-mobile-sharing-experiences-1

Enhancements to Skype for Business mobile apps on Android and iOS

New capabilities in Skype for Business apps for iOS and Android are now available —including the ability to present PowerPoint files in a meeting and a faster, more reliable content sharing approach.

skype-for-business-announces-new-mac-client-and-new-mobile-sharing-experiences-2Present in a meeting from your mobile app—Now you can present content right from Android or iOS device. No more emailing files and links back and forth when you present from your phone or tablet. Now, sharing a PowerPoint deck in a meeting is as easy as selecting the file from your favorite cloud drive and presenting right from your phone. On Android, you can also share a file stored on the device itself. With swipe gestures, you can easily transition between different slides. Once shared, the PowerPoint file also becomes available in the meeting’s content bin for other participants to download or present.

Video-based Screen Sharing for mobile devices—Microsoft is also enhancing the content viewing experience with Skype for Business on mobile devices by using Video-based Screen Sharing (VbSS) for content viewing on iOS and Android apps. The initial setup is much faster, the experience more reliable, while also consuming network bandwidth efficiently. It provides a seamless viewing experience, especially if you are sharing animated content such as CAD models. Learn more about VbSS and how it can enhance your meeting experience.

If you haven’t yet checked the Skype for Business mobile apps for Android and iOS, visit Skype for Business Apps & Downloads so you can download the apps and experience meetings on-the-go today!

For additional information about Skype and Microsoft Office 365 please contact us at office365@atidan.com

 

Article credit: https://blogs.office.com/2016/10/27/skype-for-business-announces-new-mac-client-and-new-mobile-sharing-experiences/

 

How to Work From Home and Look Good Doing It

In the last decade, the mobile workforce has increased by more than 100 percent—not that surprising when we consider the abundant improvement in technology over that same time period. Telecommuting offers wonderful benefits to companies and workers alike, with an improved work-life balance topping the charts. Not only that, but a 2015 Gallup poll shows that telecommuters are more likely to be more engaged in their jobs, and being engaged can lead to higher profitability, mobile productivity, customer engagement and other positive business outcomes.

How to work from home FI

But mobile teams experience problems of their own. At the forefront is the disconnection that naturally occurs when team members work separate from the rest of the team. Not only do telecommuters sometimes miss out on deeper relationships with co-workers, they don’t get to experience office culture and can easily miss important announcements. A case study conducted among full-time telecommuters at a Chinese travel agency even showed that mobile workers were up to 50 percent less likely to receive promotions.

If you’re part of the mobile workforce, here are some things you can do to make your experience as successful as possible:

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate—While telecommuters often make their own schedules—using two hours for lunch (and making it up later) or taking a break to pick up kids from school, for example—it’s important to let your team know when you’ll be away from your desk for any extended period of time. That way, they’ll know when you’ll be back in case they have anything pressing. Teams work better when members know what to expect of each other.
  • Always meet your deadlines—This should go without saying, but it’s important to make sure you aren’t slacking off. According to the aforementioned Gallup poll, work-from-home productivity is at least as good as in-office productivity, if not better. Don’t be the one that causes your boss or co-workers to lose faith in the system.
  • Use all technology available—While email certainly has its place, other technology—such as instant messaging, conferencing, etc.—helps you connect with team members in the moment. Because you don’t have the ability to stop by a co-worker’s desk or see team members at the water cooler, you should take any opportunity you can to create conversations and collaboration when appropriate.
  • Regularly visit or work in the office—Many remote workers do not live close enough to visit the office weekly, but—depending on your role—regular time spent in the office is crucial to team cohesion. You and your manager will need to discuss how often is “enough,” but you’d be amazed how much it helps to show your face every once in a while. When co-workers have spent time with you in person, it makes it easier for them to approach you online or via phone when they need to chat about an issue or project.
  • Build relationships with co-workers who can keep you informed—Even if you visit the office on occasion, you’ll probably miss out on some news or information when you aren’t there. Check in regularly with office friends who will gladly keep you apprised of anything important—even a shift in the office culture or mood.

But being successful isn’t just up to the mobile workforce. Companies can help their telecommuters stay more engaged with the whole team by instituting proper training, using collaboration software that allows for file sharing and ensuring proper security on mobile devices so mobile teams have the same access as everyone else, no matter where they’re working. In addition, scheduling regular videoconferences ensures face-to-face time, which can go a long way in a telecommuting situation. When telecommuters feel like part of the team, they’re more likely to stay content and engaged in their job—a fact that benefits everyone involved.

Related content

Contact the Atidan team at office365@atidan.com for additional information about our unified communications solutions and cloud services.

Blog credit to Microsoft https://blogs.office.com/2016/03/03/how-to-work-from-home-and-look-good/

 

 

 

8 Features You Didn’t Know You Needed for Online Meetings

When it comes to business communication, face-to-face meetings are always a popular pick. But with company branches scattered across the country—and often, the world—virtual meetings are becoming a frequent choice. Not only can online collaboration save time, but money as well. In fact, according to Verizon Conferencing, virtual meetings between five or more people are at least seven times less expensive than face-to-face meetings that require travel. That’s why every organization, whether small or large, should invest in reliable virtual meeting software.

Features for Online Meetings

There are several free options available today, but in order to have the best online collaboration possible, companies should look for providers offering a rich selection of features. Many believe they’ll be just fine with decent picture and sound, but having a variety of impressive features can make all the difference between effective virtual meetings and those that are a waste of time.

Here are eight features you should keep in mind when selecting virtual meeting software:

  1. HD video—Because your virtual meetings are replacing face-to-face meetings within your organization and/or with clients, it’s important that your meeting software includes high-definition video that will allow for the best picture possible. Look for virtual meeting software that provides a video resolution of at least 1080p. Being able to see participants on the other side will encourage dialogue and true collaboration.
  2. Quality microphone—Just as you’ll want high-quality video, it’s imperative to have access to reliable audio during virtual meetings. Online collaboration will be boosted when everyone can clearly hear what is being said.
  3. Security compliance—While web conferencing may not be the most likely target of a cyber-attack, it’s still a good idea to select an online meeting service that offers a secure solution. Such a solution should include authentication and encryption, end-to-end regulatory compliance and consolidated management.
  4. Tech support—It doesn’t matter where your team members are located or what type of device they are using—things can go wrong. And when they do, it’s in everyone’s best interests to have a virtual meeting software provider that can support your team and get things fixed ASAP.
  5. Content sharing—At some point, most online meeting presenters will want to share documents, applications, webpages, software or other visuals with the group. Select virtual meeting software that allows presenters to share their screens (or portion of their screens), as well as delegate control to other meeting participants.
  6. Recording and playback—In today’s business world where busy professionals attend more than 60 meetings per month, it’s common for at least one person—if not several—to miss a meeting. Recording and playback features make it simple for these team members to catch up on what they missed without wasting anyone else’s time. In addition, online collaboration can be saved for archiving purposes.
  7. Dial-in conferencing services—One reason for video or web conferencing is to maintain the visual aspect that’s appealing in face-to-face settings. However, some meeting participants may be traveling or on the go during the meeting, making a dial-in feature imperative. This feature gives participants the option to call into the meeting via their phone.
  8. Polling—When you are holding an especially large online meeting, it’s not possible to hear ideas from everyone. But taking a quick poll is a great way to solicit audience feedback, increase participation and keep your audience engaged.

If your organization is looking for the best alternative to face-to-face meetings, search for an online meeting service that provides a large range of features, including the eight listed above. Keep in mind your goals for online collaboration—which may include everything from increased productivity to decreased costs, a heightened sense of camaraderie among employees and more—and ensure that any service you engage will allow your organization to achieve these goals.

 

Contact the Atidan team at office365@atidan.com for more information about our Cloud Services and unified communication solutions.

Credit to Microsoft: https://blogs.office.com/2016/02/16/features-you-need-for-online-meetings/

 

Communication Powered Productivity – New Office 365 Plan Launch

Microsoft and Atidan believe that the heart of productivity is great teamwork, and the heart of great teams is great communication. Productivity today is centered on conversations—sometimes a quick instant message or call, and sometimes a meeting planned in advance including voice, video and content sharing.

With many different avenues of communication, people need tools that allow them flexibility in how they connect. For years, consumers have embraced new ways of communicating, turning “Skype” into a verb synonymous with video calling. But corporate telephony, including PBX systems, and audio and video conferencing systems, has lagged behind—until now. Having Skype for Business as an integrated part of the work people are already doing in Office means greater continuity as they collaborate and communicate throughout their day.

Built on the familiar Skype user interface, Skype for Business makes connecting with colleagues as easy and intuitive as connecting with friends and family on Skype. With the new services, Skype for Business gets even better, for organizations and their people:

  • PSTN Conferencing provides the flexibility to dial in to a meeting from a traditional phone, in addition to the existing ability to join a meeting with a single click on your PC or mobile device.
  • Skype Meeting Broadcast makes it easier than ever to produce large virtual meetings for up to 10,000 meeting attendees, who can join from virtually any browser or device (see it in action). Now Skype for Business truly is a single platform for every type of meeting.
  • Cloud PBX enables companies to eliminate separate PBX systems and transition to the cloud with Office 365 as the central location to manage users for communication and
  • With PSTN Calling, Office 365 customers can also subscribe to Microsoft managed calling plans and phone numbers, starting in the U.S. with more markets coming later.

Watch this video to learn more about how the new Skype for Business capabilities can benefit your organization.

Simplify your infrastructure, lower your costs and empower your people

Microsoft is the only company that has built this combination of capabilities—a cloud business phone system including dial tone, and a complete meetings solution including audio, video, content sharing and messaging service—as a core part of a complete productivity and collaboration suite, available across mobile platforms and at a global scale.

Today, over half of our business customers are currently paying for multiple conferencing solutions, and many are still using legacy PBX phone systems. Now they can simplify their infrastructure with one cloud platform for meetings and voice, ultimately reducing the cost, complexity and effort of maintaining legacy phone and conferencing systems.

But it’s about more than saving money. People spend nearly a third of their time at work in meetings, yet only 18 percent of information workers actively use conferencing tools that enable rich experiences like video and content sharing. When you consider that nonverbal signals account for nearly 90 percent of the messages we receive during interpersonal communication, it’s clear that moving to modern communication tools can have a dramatic impact on productivity and collaboration.

Office 365 brings significant new value 1

Desktop sharing during a Skype for Business meeting.

A rich partner ecosystem

As we release these new capabilities in Office 365, partners like Atidan will play an integral role in extending the value of our new services.

We also partner with telco operators who provide secure, high-quality network connectivity and managed services that help customers get the best experience with the new Skype for Business services. These partners include BT Global Services, Orange Business Services, SoftBank, TATA Communications and Telstra.

Key partners like Polycom are delivering innovative new solutions for audio conferencing including the Polycom® RealPresence Trio™ for groups, and Polycom® VVX® desktop phones, which are the first phones qualified for the new Skype for Business services in Office 365.

Application partners like Genesys are also building on our platform to deliver solutions like contact center applications that work with Skype for Business and Office 365.

Deeper value from security and analytics

In addition to the Skype for Business capabilities, we’re releasing new security and data analytics capabilities in Office 365, including:

  • Delve Analytics—Empowers individuals through rich dashboards that provide insights on time and relationships, with the goal of helping individuals get time back and spend it effectively.
  • Power BI—A business analytics service that enables information workers to visualize and analyze data with greater speed, efficiency and understanding through live data dashboards, interactive reports and compelling visualizations.
  • Customer Lockbox—Gives customers new approval rights, transparency and control over their data in the cloud.
  • Advanced eDiscovery—Integrates Equivio machine learning, predictive coding and text analytics capabilities, to reduce the costs and challenges that come along with sorting through large quantities of data for eDiscovery purposes.
  • Advanced Threat Protection—Protects against unknown malware and viruses by applying behavioral analysis.

Contact the Atidan team at office365@atidan.com for additional information and a free briefing!

Blog credit: https://blogs.office.com/2015/11/30/office-365-brings-significant-new-value-to-business-customers-worldwide/

ExpressRoute for Office 365 Now Available for Secure and Fast Cloud Connections

Microsoft Azure ExpressRoute is now available for Office 365 in addition to pure Azure Cloud deployments. Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 enables organizations to establish a private, managed network connection to Office 365 as an alternative to connecting over the Internet.

This direct connection offers you more predictable network performance, an SLA for guaranteed availability and additional data privacy. As more organizations depend on Office 365 for document collaboration (SharePoint/OneDrive/PowerBI) and communications (Skype – Video and Voice), they will come to depend more and more on the network connectivity they have between their users and Office 365. Pricing is based on port speed and starts at $300/month for unlimited data (metered data plans also available), including two redundant connections.

As always, the Atidan team is available to assist with Azure and Office 365 solutions and security. office365@atidan.com

Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 - Atidan

Express Route Partners and Peering Locations

Case Study from Microsoft

Today we’re pleased to announce that Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 is now generally available from these network operators:

  • British Telecom
  • Equinix
  • Tata Communications
  • TeleCity Group
  • Verizon

Connecting your network to Office 365 using Azure ExpressRoute

Depending on your network configuration, here’s how you can work with network operators offering ExpressRoute for Office 365 to establish a connection between your network and Office 365:

  • If your organization already uses Azure ExpressRoute, your network operator can simply turn on the connectivity for you. Since use of Office 365 generates additional network traffic, you should discuss the requirements for additional bandwidth with your network operator.
  • Organizations using IP VPN technology for a WAN provided by a network operator can ask the network operator to add Office 365 as a node on your WAN. Once Office 365 connectivity is added, Office 365 services appear as if they are on your WAN—like an offsite datacenter.
  • ExpressRoute can also support large or point-to-point network connections. If you have a large broad network, then you may already have a network connection in a co-location facility where Azure ExpressRoute is available. You should work with your network provider to identify the best way to connect to Azure ExpressRoute.

For more information, read about ExpressRoute for Office 365 here and watch this episode of Office Mechanics:

Frequently asked questions

  1. Where in the world is ExpressRoute for Office 365 available?
  2. Your users can connect from anywhere in the world that your network operator provides access. Each network operator connects to the Microsoft network at specific locations. They can provide networking from the user location to the Microsoft network connection. You should discuss the options with your network operator. The locations where they will connect to Microsoft’s network are listed here.
  3. How do organizations purchase ExpressRoute for Office 365?
  4. Organizations interested in purchasing ExpressRoute for Office 365 should have an Azure subscription and should discuss details of the connectivity with an Azure ExpressRoute partner.
  5. Are there any Office 365 services that Azure ExpressRoute cannot provide a connection to?
  6. Today connectivity is available for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business Online, Azure Active Directory, Office 365 Video, Power BI, Delve and Project Online. Services that ExpressRoute does not provide connectivity to include download of Office 365 ProPlus installation files, Yammer, Domain Name Service and Content Delivery Network servers.
  7. Is QoS supported on Azure ExpressRoute?
  8. Yes. QoS is supported for Skype for Business Online over Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365.
  9. Does Microsoft provide tools to test for network performance issues?
  10. Yes. We have the Office Client Performance Analyzer (OCPA), which was recently updated to add a number of new performance test metrics. Azure ExpressRoute for Office 365 may be a solution to network performance problems experienced by users. OCPA can be downloaded from the Office 365 admin console here.

Video Conferencing for Startups and Small Businesses—10 Hacks to Maximize their Value

Whether you operate a startup on a shoestring budget or have a successful small business, chances are good that you’re always looking for ways to save money, maximize your investments and get your clients, customers and your team excited about what you do. In order to do that, sometimes meeting face to face is necessary—but it can also be cost prohibitive. Between trains, flights and/or the cost of driving a car, plus the actual time you’ll spend traveling (which can be pretty unproductive even when you have the luxury of being able to work on the go), sometimes the benefits of seeing a client in-person just don’t add up.

That’s where video conferencing comes in. It gives you the power to bring everyone together—without the cost of a plane ticket. That said, video conferencing can have its pitfalls and problems, but with a few quick tips you can avoid some of the bumps in the road and get even more from your system.

  • Video conferencing for startups and small businessesGet comfortable with the camera—Looking good in front of the camera isn’t just a matter of putting on a suit and coiffing your hair, so take some time before your debut to practice your camera skills. For instance, learn to concentrate on the camera instead of the screen, slow down your movements, stop nervously picking at your nails, and learn to smile. After all, your clients will see everything that you’re doing, and you don’t want to distract them from your message.
  • Work on your presentation voice—No one likes being shouted at or wants to struggle to hear what you’re saying. So before video conferencing with your clients, test out your mic and figure out how moving around a room changes what people hear. Try speaking softly, loudly and somewhere in between, and ask a co-worker, friend or family member to weigh in on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to sound.
  • Check your settings—As you work on your on-camera mannerisms and presentation voice, don’t forget that you can improve both the way you look and sound by making a few quick adjustments to your webcam’s video settings. With the ability to tweak brightness, exposure, color, white balance and microphone volume, among other things, you can deliver a performance that’s as close to perfect as possible.
  • Location, location, location—Even if you work in an environment that’s all about the hustle, you should seek out a quiet place where background movements won’t distract attendees from your message. As an added bonus, with less motion in the background, your video will also look smoother.
  • Update your technology—With every new iteration of video conferencing technology that comes out, the quality of your experience will improve—either though ease of use, video quality or another factor. By simply updating the version of the technology you’re using, you can get a better conferencing experience. (The good news is that updates are usually included with your technology, so it’s just a matter of clicking a button.)
  • Get wired—For smoother, more consistent audio and video, try to use a wired Ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi. In a pinch Wi-Fi will do, but it often results in more lag time and interference, which can reduce the quality of your audio and video, frustrate guests and give you a somewhat less than professional look.
  • Check your bandwidth—Depending on the type of video conferencing you want to do, you may need to increase your bandwidth to get the upload/download speeds you need for a quality experience. Although these numbers are subject to change and may depend on the video conferencing service you use, you can consider these numbers (shown as upload/download) the absolute minimums you should aim for:
    • Video calling with screen sharing: 128kpbs / 128kpbs
    • High-quality video calling: 400kpbs / 400kpbs
    • HD video calling: 1.2Mpbs / 1.2Mpbs
    • 3-person video calling: 512kpbs / 128kpbs
    • 5-person video calling: 2Mpbs / 128kpbs
    • 7-person (or more) video calling: 4Mpbs / 128kpbs
  • Connect early—The importance of this cannot be overstated, especially if you’re conferencing with clients. After all, you don’t want to waste your client’s time and look like a novice by fumbling around with your technology in the process.
  • Encourage interactivity—People are often hesitant to share what’s on their minds when they feel they’ve been put on the spot, but the point of video conferencing is to simulate an in-person meeting experience, which is typically full of questions, comments and asides—all of which can be important to building trust, understanding and creating lasting relationships. In order to encourage this type of banter, let everyone know that they’re free to ask questions at any time. Then, if there’s an opportunity to engage someone in the conversation naturally—just as you would if you were in a room together—do so.
  • Record your meetings—The best way to improve your meeting skills is to see how they read from the other side of the camera. When possible, record both the audio and video of your meetings and evaluate them in the same way that a football team would go over their plays the day after a big game.

Finally, don’t forget to send a follow-up email. Just as with any other meeting, don’t assume that clients will take notes or even fully grasp the information and concepts addressed in a meeting. In order to hedge your bets, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and provide them with a follow-up message containing the salient points of the discussion and an outline of any next steps, expectations or responsibilities. This way, everyone will have seen and heard the information, and participants have something concrete that they can refer back to. It’s a win-win that costs little in terms of time, and allows you to stay in front of your team and clients long after the meeting has ended.

Contact the Atidan team for additional information about Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business office365@atidan.com

Content from Microsoft https://blogs.office.com/2015/09/02/video-conferencing-for-startups-and-small-businesses/

Skype for Business Events – Welcome to a Unified Communications World

Join Atidan for live demonstrations showcasing the latest Skype for Business and Office 365!

June 12, 2015, Friday 1PM Eastern – Register Here

June 19, 2015, Friday 11AM Eastern – Register Here

June 30, 2015, Tuesday 2PM Eastern – Register Here

Microsoft is already delivering the tools that make meetings more productive – with assets that are integrated, familiar, and part of the everyday work experience. And yet, so much more is possible with Skype for Business as a part of Office 365. Atidan is pleased to invite you to experience Skype for Business during our live demonstration and discussion.

We will show you how schedule and start a meeting right from within your Exchange Email and share documents directly from Office apps like PowerPoint. Take notes with OneNote and share information from SharePoint portals. Skype for Business supports all kinds of meetings – from highly interactive collaborative sessions to more formal, large presentations.

Audio, video and web conferencing is integrated into a single experience. People connect easily and stay focused on the things they’re doing together—whether it’s sharing an app, co-authoring, or presenting content. Frequent meeting organizers and hosts will save time on routine activities.

Skype for Business automatically captures participant lists via OneNote. Sharing and co-editing the meeting notes can be done without having to switch back-and-forth from one app to another. Skype for Business means the freedom to work with anyone, in any location, at any time – virtually eliminating the need for travel.

Spontaneous conversations, working sessions, and meetings can happen at any time. People in different locations meet and make decisions in an instant. Online meetings are easy to host, join, and manage with Skype for Business.

Everyone registered will receive a free trial offer and we are giving away copies of Microsoft Office to several lucky winners!

Introducing Skype for Business – Presented by Atidan

Skype for Business Quick Introduction Video

What is New in Skype for Business Video

Lync is now Skype for Business — see what’s new

What’s Skype for Business?

Change your picture

Add a contact from your org or the Skype directory
Send an IM
Make and receive a video call

Make a call using your PBX desk phone for audio

Set up a Skype for Business meeting in Outlook

Join a Skype for Business meeting

Call into a meeting on your mobile or other phone

Set up and test Skype for Business audio and video

As always, the Atidan team is here to support you and if we can assist you with Skype for Business or any other questions please contact us!Skype 1 Skype 2 Skype 3 Skype 4