Category Archives: productivity

Trust Strike Ascentae Deal

Creative Workspace SolutionsTrust Business Partners has announced a new contract with Ascentae to support growth into the UC VAR space. Trust will provide business consulting services to support the growth strategy of Ascentae, a fledgling UK distributor of AV equipment and services.

David Pitts and Graham Bunting will be working with Jon Knight of Ascentae to promote CREATIVE WORKPLACE SOLUTIONS as a key differentiator for UC VAR’s to sell more to their existing customers and make them stickier.

It’s a debate that many businesses face as they ponder the possibilities of digital transformation. How can the benefits of greater collaboration be embraced without losing all paper-based processes? The business value of improving collaborative opportunities may be obvious, however, there seems to be a degree of apprehension when it comes to transferring to digital. One major barrier to change is workplace culture and the reluctance to introduce new technology for fear of disrupting tried and tested processes. Organisations want to take small steps towards a new working world rather than a giant leap to overhaul existing practices.

Ascentae’s exclusive distribution agreements include the Nureva HDL300 Audio conferencing technology. At the heart of the HDL300 is Microphone Mist technology, which fills the room with 8,192 virtual microphones.

Listening to all microphones simultaneously, it dynamically selects the one closest to the speaker, ensuring the best quality sound for remote listeners.

“Trust and integrity are the foundations of partnerships,’ says Graham Bunting ‘and we are looking forward to working with Ascentae to help grow and expand their business.”

Workspace not Workplace | Workspace updates

Workspace not Workplace | Workspace updates. The whole concept of Work is changing – there are many reasons why this is happening, but changing attitudes to work coupled with agile working policies underpinned by technology innovation are probably a few of the key factors.

Unified Comms Nirvana

UC is a philosophy and a culture underpinned by technology. It’s about communications and collaboration which are people centred rather than technology lead. UC is a journey towards a better personal and customer centred environment, that is not about just a technology refresh or buying new. As there is no universally accepted definition, this presents a challenge of common understanding in discussion, which can be overcome by simply investing a small amount of time to work back from a future vision to a current position. In doing this, the language can be neutralised as a potential barrier to common understanding. One of the key challenges beyond the definition is that of “baggage”. What I mean by this is that we are all a product of our experiences and whilst in many or most cases this can be a real asset, in the world I am discussing here, I see it as a potential pinch point. My rationale here is that telephony in particular has worked in a certain way for many years and in particular PBX functionality has been somewhat staid, and most people still use telephony in the same way they always have:

Scene 1
* Phone rings
* Answer phone (if you’re lucky)
* Conversation and perhaps transfer or enquiry
* Terminate call

Scene 2
* Pick up handset dial number speak and disconnect

Now when you start to shift your thinking – the whole communications experience can become enriched and the process cycles reduced. In the above examples, there are often additional actions that will take place after the call, such as an email will be sent to support the call, or to confirm the conversation or a document is shared via email. With a UC solution such as Microsoft Lync, the experience could look more like this:

Scene 3
* Lync client alerts to inbound call
* Click to answer and talk on your headset – hands free
* Caller shares a document with you and a focused conversation takes place
* You decide to bring in a third party who works for a different organisation, but because you federate your presence status you can see (using the rich presence capability) that they are free so you can simply “drag tham” into the conference.
* The call continues and you need to leave the office you transfer via a mouse click to your mobile device and continue the call * Whilst in the call, you send an IM message from your mobile to your colleague to ask a question not for general consumption, and get a response in seconds
*Call terminates and the project is advanced.

Scene 4:
* You want to convene an ad-hoc conference call so you click on meet me and add the participants from your lync client.
* Meeting commences as colleagues join you record the call and share the recording for others as reference point to agreements and actions and whilst on the call schedule the follow up.
* Call ends and project is progressed

This is a paradigm shift in the way we think about communications and collaboration and has to be experienced to be really appreciated but for sure it is a move in the right direction. Why not check it out – you will be glad you did…

Reduce your email traffic? Yes please.

It’s all got a bit out of hand now hasn’t it? Email started off so well too. Immediate communications from your desktop rather than the lengthy process of “word-processing” a document, printing it, fetching it, walking to the fax machine….. You remember that – right? Then the traffic began to build, and build, and build. Where do all off the emails come from. Conversation being held via email, copying “all” followed swiftly by a “copy all” WILL YOU STOP COPYING EVERYONE ON YOUR RESPONSES.
So is it any wonder that the introduction of a tool that’s”fit for purpose” is gaining high rates of adoption. Microsoft lync’s instant messaging does exactly what it says on the tin, removing the need for protracted email conversations AND because presence status shows availability and out of office message before contact is attempted, unnecessary traffic is avoided. In addition to which this capability can, through federation, function beyond corporate boundaries with clients, suppliers and partners within your chosen ecosystem.
The user experience is best in class, and you don’t even have to be at your desk to access it. Lync sets you free to work from wherever you can access a data connection….. Which also reduces your call charges.

Why wouldn’t you want to consider lync?

Bring Your Own Device

I was recently pondering technology and specifically the kind of technology that I’ve spent a significant portion of my working life with and that is telecommunications – telephones and data communications if you will.

For a long time the enterprise or business community led the way as far as technology adoption went and especially telecommunications. I’m sure you all recall the first mobile phone “bricks” that were for a long time “status symbols” in the workplace. But now it’s all change,as nearly all of us have I am sure, very “smart” smartphones full of the latest apps, and tablet devices aplenty for our own use, and acquired personally. And so most people have better technology available to them in their pocket than many enterprises have afforded them today. As a result of this “dynamic”, increasingly individuals are deploying their own devices in the work environment (Bring Your Own Device) causing an absolute headache for the IT department as far as security of information is concerned. Notwithstanding this, many enterprises are stepping up to the plate and enabling their workforce to deploy their own devices which on the face of it might seem to be a good thing for the enterprise – allowing them to save money on not equipping everybody with new technology – perhaps?!

However this is only part of the conundrum given that ultimately communication is all about, well …..communication and the very disparate nature of these devices with different operating systems et cetera clearly presents a challenge in terms of integration and of course making them all work seamlessly. And that’s before we even get into a conversation about support. So having said all of this what’s my point. Well my point is this. The Legacy PBX and communications infrastructures are clearly creaking at the seams, in fact many haven’t been updated since the end of 1999 (when the Millennium bug was going to see planes falling from the skies) amidst fears of failure if nothing was done, and I begin to wonder who today is really offering the greatest innovation to meet the needs of the way we’re choosing to communicate and work these days?

Many of the usual suspects are struggling with the very legacy that everyone else is, and I can’t currently see any vendor really rising up to the challenge, however, I can’t help feeling that one of the worlds biggest players albeit not known for their “voice” credentials – Microsoft may well have the answer with their Lync offering and the partnership ecosystem (or ISV ecosystem) that I’m seeing beginning to evolve.

There are increasingly so many compelling reasons to ensure we review and change the way in which we communicate, not least of which the challenges around travel and the drive for organisations to become increasingly more green and create a much smaller carbon footprint. So I guess the biggest challenge here really is the disparate nature of these technologies and the understanding for organisations in order to be able to successfully integrate these technologies to work effectively and of course in these austere times to find an affordable solution. So in the final analysis I can see that we will increasingly see the adoption of the aforementioned technologies and in a “use what you require” cloud supplied utility price model. And it seems to me that for the next few years certainly that this will increasingly be the preferred acquisition model. Services organisation with a heavy bias on knowledge workers will be the “glue” that makes it all work, and ultimately free us from the “desk”??  – well that is I believe a completely different challenge and discussion for another day.

But what do I know…..

Will you reach your full potential?

I was showering this morning and began thinking about the year just gone and the coming year ahead. I was thinking about all the well wishes I was receiving and sending and I started to think about some of the language we use and ended up thinking about reaching our full potential. Further thought on this had me delving deeper and asking myself some questions which I would like to pose to you here now- Firstly what exactly is your full potential? How do you measure it and where is the ‘limit’?
I’m still pondering on that one and hope to hear some alternative perspectives and thoughts.
I hope you reach yours and achieve fulfilment 🙂