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        With Enterprise Connect 2019 now come and gone, it’s important to see how the cohesive Microsoft and Crestron roadmap continues to strengthen. At the Microsoft Keynote there were many things introduced and shown that are exciting for both Microsoft Teams™ and the Microsoft Teams Room Systems (MTR).

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        First order of business is to offer a congratulations to the entire team of people who are advancing Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams for the second year in a row has won the award for Overall Winner at Enterprise connect.
        Let’s start with everything that Microsoft introduced and then we will look at what Crestron specifically as a partner has introduced and then recap how those 2 visions come together to deliver unparalleled smart building experiences for all users.

        MICROSOFT FEATURES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:

        1.   Microsoft Teams turned 2 years old with unprecedented growth as the slide shows and documents some incredible adoption among enterprise customers.

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        2.   Customized backgrounds – COMING SOON – takes the intelligent background blur technology one step further, allowing participants to select a more professional background when working remotely, to appear behind them during a meeting or video call. This improves the effectiveness of remote meetings by encouraging the use of video while minimizing distractions. What we are not sure yet is if the MTR or the Microsoft Teams Room Systems will be able to take advantage of this feature. You could see the possibilities if they could as the rear wall could be a green screen and properly lit in a conference room to show a virtual background or even logos of the company that is participating in the call.

        3.   Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams - in Microsoft Teams meetings (commercial preview) empowers meeting attendees from the same tenant to participate in the conversation regardless of the device you use or where you are. Whether joining from the meeting room or remotely, you can start a new board in the Microsoft Teams meeting (currently supported on desktop and web – coming soon to mobile). The board is automatically shared with meeting attendees. Users can ink together in real-time on the board and even launch the native Whiteboard app to enable an even richer collaboration experience with features such as sticky notes, images, and grid lines. Ink Grab, enables you to add analog content from a physical whiteboard onto the Whiteboard canvas without having to recreate it from scratch. If you start an ad-hoc brainstorm session on the physical whiteboard, you can easily continue via the digital whiteboard and include remote collaborators in the conversation. Simply take a picture of the content and use Ink Grab to transform them into digital ink. To enable Whiteboard in a Microsoft Teams meeting, please turn on the Whiteboard web preview here.

        4.   Content Cameras and Intelligent Capture – COMING SOON - will soon support an additional camera for content capture, such as capturing information on analog whiteboards. Using any USB camera, Microsoft Teams Rooms leverages our new Intelligent Capture processing to capture, focus, resize, and enhance whiteboard images and text, so remote attendees can clearly see whiteboard brainstorming in real time, even when someone is standing in front of the whiteboard. This will be an amazing new feature for the MTR systems and will become probably one of the most popular features if the buzz is to come to fruition from EC2019.

        For those customers that are looking for a solution right now that is in market, I would suggest looking at the Crestron AirBoard™ whiteboard capture solution which can be implemented with the Crestron ecosystem and remotely shared, viewed and even create a timeline of the whiteboard during the meeting capturing the writing and even erasing that many times happens
         
        Here is a link to the product page so that you can get more details on how the unit works and a video to see the unit in action from 2017.

        5.   Live captions and subtitles – COMING SOON - as a public preview for English – make your Microsoft Teams meetings more inclusive for attendees who are deaf or hard of hearing, have different levels of language proficiency, or are connecting from a loud location. Improve meeting effectiveness by allowing attendees to read speaker captions in real-time so they can more easily stay in sync and contribute to the discussion. This will be an incredible feature to see with the MTR systems that cross company international meetings and will be so helpful to remove barriers between regions that might exist today.

        6.   Secure private channels – LATER THIS YEAR – allow you to limit which team members can see the associated conversation and content within that channel. You can right-size channel participation and exposure without having to create discrete teams to limit visibility. This is one of our top requested features and we’re excited to be actively testing this internally and with select customers.

        7.   Information barriers – COMING SOON – avoid conflicts of interest within your organization by limiting which individuals can communicate and collaborate with each other in Microsoft Teams. This helps limits the disclosure of information by controlling communication between the holders of information and colleagues representing different interests, for example, in First line worker scenarios. This is particularly helpful for organizations that need to adhere to ethical walls requirements and other related industry standards and regulations. Microsoft Teams also comes with other built in compliance capabilities, such as retention, e Discovery and supervision, built in.

        8.   The new Calendar App is rolling out in April 2019. The existing 'Meetings' app in Microsoft Teams will be replaced by the Calendar app that retains all existing app functionality while introducing a range of new features. Three new types of calendar views will be available: Day, Work week and Week view (default). Users will have the ability to go back or forward in time to see any past or future meeting. Users will be able to perform key actions including Join, RSVP, Edit, and Cancel from the right click menu. Meetings on the calendar will light up to indicate when someone joins it online. User's current exchange setting for working hours and working days of the week will be respected. Lastly, users can schedule events without adding any attendees in the scheduling form. Non Microsoft Teams meetings can also be edited and updated from Microsoft Teams directly.

        9.   Enhancements to the Chrome™ browser meeting experience (COMING SOON) are getting richer for Windows® and Mac® computer users. A year ago, Microsoft introduced friction less meeting join in Chrome with no client needed. Coming soon, we will enhance that zero-footprint experience by adding 3 new capabilities: the ability to see participants video, application sharing, and full desktop sharing. This enables any meeting attendees to have face to face conversations and share content easily, with zero downloads needed.

        10. Live Events in Microsoft 365™ software (now available) enables anyone to create live and on-demand events that deliver compelling communications to employees, customers and partners. Events use video and interactive discussion across Microsoft Teams, Stream, or Yammer® application and can be as simple, or as sophisticated as needed, using webcams and screen sharing for informal presentations, or stream a studio-quality production for more formal events. Up to 10,000 attendees can participate in real-time from anywhere, on any device, or catch up later with powerful AI features that unlock the content of the event recording.
        For the MTR systems you can see how this can now be used in a personal office setting for things like quarterly updates from the C level, team meetings or just doing things like video podcasting etc.

        11. Meetings First (in preview) is a great addition for Microsoft Enterprise Voice customers who use the Skype® for Business Servers application. It allows customers to protect their voice investments by continuing to use their servers for Calling and Chat while harnessing Microsoft Teams for cloud-based meetings. Your users will enjoy best in class, modern meetings while your company experiences improved performance using the Microsoft global cloud infrastructure.

        For those customers who are looking to experience the best meeting experience they can, this is something that all Skype for Business customers should be looking into. The Microsoft Teams meeting experience is far beyond that of a Skype meeting and the reliability is beyond what an on-prem solution can deliver.

        12. Microsoft Teams Marketplace now includes improved experiences for shopping by device and space and should be looked at by all customers. 

        13. Direct Routing (AVAILABLE NOW) provides customers the ability to connect their voice trunks via certified Session Border Controllers (SBC) to Office 365® software. And we continue to enhance DR with key features. Media Bypass (AVAILABLE NOW) is being supported by many of our Session Border Controllers partners – this improves AV quality by enabling direct connections between callers in many scenarios. We also have added new certified SBC vendors – Oracle and TE-Systems.

        14. Dynamic e911, Location Based Routing, Music on Hold, and Busy on Busy(COMING SOON). These are additional features which voice administrators routinely request. We appreciate the feedback as it helps keep our teams prioritized for your needs. We invite you to keep an eye on our public roadmap – as we add them based on their timing.

        15. SO MUCH MORE for Microsoft Teams outside of the MTR systems and information can be found here.

        16. Microsoft Keynote – the keynote that documents everything new and shows you these features working and how they will be implemented can be found here.

        CRESTRON FEATURES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:

        1. Simple. Sleek. The new Crestron UC Smart Soundbar is the front of the room solution with exceptional audio and image quality that brings out the best in every meeting, in any size room, with a single USB connection. Crestron.com/SmartSoundbar
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        2.   Crestron Scheduling Solutions - The modern workplace is fast-paced, flexible and dispersed. From touch screens and scheduling software to illuminated room availability indicators, the Crestron room scheduling platform provides everything you need to make your workplace more efficient, connected and collaborative across all meeting spaces.

        Crestron.com/RoomScheduling

        3.   Crestron Flex solutions come in several forms, but all bring the same consistent user experience, regardless of the type of space in which they’re deployed. That means more uptime and less strain on your support resources.

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        4.   Crestron expanded on the Flex portfolio by introducing what is code named the P-250 Microsoft Teams Video Phone. This phone is expected to be shipping sometime later this year but was introduced and shown working at both the Microsoft Booth and the Crestron booth and garnered rave reviews on its stylish look and responsiveness when in a full Microsoft Teams video call.

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        5.   Crestron Mercury® tabletop conferencing system is the only UC and AV all-in-one tabletop solution that supports any web collaboration application. By combining all the must-have conferencing and collaboration tools in one easy-to-use console, Crestron Mercury enables people to work together regardless of location or conferencing application. All others lock you into a single platform.

        Crestron.com/Mercury

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        6.   Crestron XiO Cloud™ service – The revolutionary IoT-based deployment and management platform for the modern, intelligent workplace garnered Crestron Microsoft’s prestigious IoT Partner of the Year. Crestron.com/XiOCloud


         

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