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AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution | Don’t let distance stop your people talking feature

The AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution

Don’t let distance stop your people talking

Last week, I went on a whistle stop tour of Europe to meet some AudioCodes customers. It was, as usual, a pretty hectic schedule. On my last day before flying home, I was sitting outside a coffee shop sipping a nice short espresso, waiting to join a conference call with a long-standing customer, John. It was, indeed, a perfect way to round off my trip.

The AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution | Don’t let distance stop your people talking

Ironically, this conference call had been arranged because John had expressed an interest in the AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution – a room system specially designed for getting the most out of Skype for Business meetings. I say ironically, because practically every conference call-related myth, stereotype and cliché reared its head during this meeting. But it turned out to be the best marketing opportunity for our solution that I could have wished for.

After several long minutes had passed, I was admitted to the meeting, with John apologizing profusely for the delay. Evidently, he had been struggling to initiate the meeting.

This proved to be a great starting point for our conversation. I began by explaining to John that simplicity is the key with the AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution, and that initiating or joining a conference call is very easy and straightforward. You just press one of two buttons on the console’s head unit screen – MEET NOW to start an ad hoc meeting, and CALENDAR to review your daily agenda and select the meeting you want to join.

I began by outlining some of the unique features of the Huddle Room Solution. John wanted his IT manager, Anni, to join the meeting. Anni was working offsite for the day, so John had to search for the correct PIN code for this specific conference call and send it to her before she could finally log in from her mobile phone. Eventually, she was with us. This seemed like a good moment to point out that the AudioCodes Huddle Room Solution lets you add a participant to any call quickly and easily with just a few clicks. And all participants can see who else is participating and who the meeting organizer is.

While I was explaining how simple it is to deliver meeting information and PIN codes directly via the head unit, our call was interrupted by the sound of a plane passing overhead at John’s location. When we resumed the call, I told them that the Huddle Room Solution neatly avoids such disturbances by allowing you to mute any or all participants for any reason, just as you can with the Skype for Business client.

In fact, everything that you’re familiar with in Skype for Business – and plenty more besides – can be done from the Huddle Room Solution’s control interface. For example, if a confidential topic comes up during a meeting you can go private simply by picking up the handset.

Anni said that the thing she looks most closely at with any new technology purchases – apart from quality and reliability, of course – is easy and effective troubleshooting. I explained that we at AudioCodes always aim to provide comprehensive holistic solutions, and the Huddle Room Solution is no exception to this. Beyond giving you amazing sound quality, we take it even further by empowering your IT team with our dedicated management tool.

This powerful yet simple tool makes managing the Huddle Room Solution simplicity itself. You can relax in the knowledge that your huddle room will always be available for use – with the most up to date software and voice quality optimization – whenever you need it. Even better, any problems can be dealt with remotely by your IT people.

With only a few hours left before my flight, and with John sounding very enthused by our conversation, I arranged to have some samples sent to him so he could see – and hear – for himself what the Huddle Room Solution can do.

A week after they received the samples, I got a call from Anni. It was great news. She and John were so impressed by the Huddle Room Solution’s superior acoustics and ease-of-use that they decided to order several units.

I thought back to that pre-flight espresso, and how much easier my al fresco conference call with John would have been with the Huddle Room Solution already in place – because no matter where you are, it really does turn any space into a meeting space.

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We at AudioCodes always aim to provide comprehensive holistic solutions, and the Huddle Room Solution is no exception to this. Beyond giving you amazing sound quality, we take it even further by empowering your IT team with our dedicated management tool.

CloudBond 365 and SBC at HQ reconfiguration

Meet AudioCodes’ CloudBond 365 OPCH – Future-Proofed for Microsoft Teams

The real alternative for Cloud Connector Edition and coexistence

While out on the road to present the AudioCodes strategy around the Microsoft Teams journey in the weeks after Microsoft Ignite 2017, it became clear to me that we’d had the right vision back in 2014 when we introduced CloudBond 365. The resource forest model as a foundation for each member of the CloudBond 365 family demonstrates more than ever that our CloudBond 365 solutions enable our customers and partners to be future-proof.

CloudBond 365 and SBC at HQ reconfiguration

CloudBond 365 and SBC at HQ reconfiguration

After the announcements at Microsoft Ignite 2017, we at AudioCodes are highlighting the ability of CloudBond 365 to serve as an OPCH. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this Microsoft acronym, OPCH stands for On-Premises Configuration Hybrid. As such, our CloudBond 365 OPCH is a PSTN connectivity appliance for Skype for Business Online, and serves as an alternative to Cloud Connector Edition (CCE) where coexistence with Skype for Business Server is required. Paul Cannon’s Microsoft blog refers directly to such third-party OPCH specific appliances for those who don’t want to modify their main deployment.

Over the past few weeks, our partners have been asking me when CloudBond 365 OPCH will become available, strongly indicating that they are continuing to enable Skype for Business Online users with Cloud PBX (now renamed Phone System) in a future-proof way.

The OPCH deployment model has been supported ever since the introduction of CloudBond 365, which means that we have this solution available right now. In the past, we referred to the solution as Skype for Business Hybrid Voice. Today, we refer to it by the OPCH acronym. As a matter of fact, most of our CloudBond 365 appliances installed over the past few years are deployed in this Hybrid Voice model, enabling voice services for Skype for Business Online. The exact same CloudBond 365 solution will also bring voice capability to Microsoft Teams in the future, through Direct Connect.

Something that will be new to our CloudBond 365 family ties in very well with Microsoft’s announcement that Modern Authentication for Skype for Business Server has gone to Public Preview. This allows CloudBond 365 to authenticate Skype for Business users against the Azure Active Directory, eliminating the need to set up bidirectional trusts between CloudBond 365 and the on-premises user forest(s). For topologies that are now supported in Public Preview, please read this.

It is also important to note that our entire CloudBond 365 family of solutions have User Management Pack 365 built-in. This is a powerful but simple web portal that ensures a smooth deployment and provides a single pane of glass across all Skype for Business deployment models.

If we go back to Paul Cannon’s blog, we can see Microsoft’s recommendation for enabling on-premises Skype for Business for Hybrid PSTN. This is an excellent moment to point out that User Management Pack 365 sits intuitively on top of existing on-premises Skype for Business deployments, connecting the enterprise environment with Microsoft Office 365 (‘split domain’) via special connectors. After the initial setup, UMP 365 empowers IT departments by facilitating a gradual and fully controlled migration to Microsoft’s Phone System today, and to Microsoft Teams in the future, from any existing Skype for Business deployment.

Our goal is to help our partners and customers stay on track with their journey to intelligent communications across Skype for Business Server and Microsoft Teams. For me personally, it has been very refreshing and rewarding to hear from our community over the past few weeks that we have exactly the right solution – at exactly the right time – to do just that.

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After the announcements at Microsoft Ignite 2017, we at AudioCodes are highlighting the ability of CloudBond 365 to serve as an OPCH. Our goal is to help our partners and customers stay on track with their journey to intelligent communications across Skype for Business Server and Microsoft Teams.