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.”

It’s happened – I’ve “become”

Is it just me becoming the inevitably grumpy old man, or are there others who see what I see when they encounter the Out Of Office email response!
To be precise I’m not bemoaning all OOO responses, some are delightfully informative and helpful. After all if you know that you are going to be in a long meeting, it’s actually helpful to know who to go to in your absence.
What I am referring to are those “I’m not in the office therefore I’m incapacitated and the device you know I’m carrying no longer functions or I’m simply having a lazy day away from all the hustle and bustle but trying to kid you all I’m so busy that communication is simply impossible” out of office replies.
I’m not sure exactly what these say about the person brushing us off – are they saying we should believe communication with us is now impossible without some miracle, or are they assuming that all but them know that the technology has not only been around and in use for many years but is now indeed mainstream.
I think at the core I feel somewhat insulted and agitated that anyone would think this is an acceptable way to (un)communicate….. There rant over!

After all – What do I know?

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?

5 reasons you might want to consider Microsoft Lync UC

So if you made it here beyond the title, it’s very likely that you at least have an acquaintance with Lync and that in itself is reason number 1. If you have an awareness of the experience that Lync affords you, then the other reasons could well push you over the edge to a full deployment or at least a Proof of Concept.
2. Your Microsoft licencing could already include the Client Access Licences (CALs) that are required, and so your cost of deployment could well be lower cost than you had imagined.
3. You have complete flexibility to deploy a solution that uses servers on your own premises, or simply go straight to the cloud and take advantage of a hosted service and just pay as you go.
4. Lync is a Microsoft integrated offering that embeds communications into the fabric of all your applications and especially Outlook where most workers spend most of their working day.
5. By deploying Lync and federating your presence outside your enterprise AND taking advantage of future federation with Skype, you could substantially reduce your call charges…
Above all of this, the Lync EXPERIENCE is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Worth a look? If I can help, I’d be delighted to.

You simply wouldn’t bet against this would you?


Love it, or hate it, change is a regular and unavoidable occurrence in our lives and it seems that the pace of innovation and change is gathering pace. Never more so is this true than in the technology space and in particular that of communications and IT.

There is never a day passing without news of a new innovation that will sooner or later impact our lives, hopefully to show an improvement. Often it takes us a while to see these changes and certainly to get on board with the details of what the change is and its specific impact on our lives- working or personal. Within the IT and voice space especially the demarcation lines are getting ever more blurred between our business and personal lives and we see much talk about the concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) which is frequently tweeted about on twitter with the #BYOD hashtag, as well as the increasing trend towards home working. This is something that is becoming the norm rather than the exception and the freedom to choose where you work, or equally as important for nomadic workers like me, be able to work anywhere, is underpinned by some of the smart technologies emerging from the Microsoft stable.

Microsoft has for some time been on the fringe of “total” communications technology (TCT), delivering Internet Messaging (IM) and presence capabilities. This evolutionary journey began several years ago initially in LCS, then OCS, and now in Lync. What we have seen as a precursor to this TCT is Microsoft integrating their solutions into some voice vendor’s technologies with varying degrees of success – after all, when two large corporations come together, with the best will in the world, there is always a wrestling of “we do it like this so can you change that”. Notwithstanding that there have been some successful partnerships, but that has all changed forever, as Microsoft has declared their hand as a complete voice, and video enabled UC solution.

What for me makes this such a compelling offering is the usability and simplicity. Generally speaking when a “worker” enters the office (home or traditional workplace), the first place to go is OUTLOOK. Here, we can access all of our emails, appointments and contacts….. Contacts, with whom we wish to communicate. The simplicity of seeing the status of my (federated) contacts before I consider how to communicate is already a big bonus helping me decide the best mode to begin. Once I have decided, a simple click of my mouse initiates the call from whichever device I wish – so if this is my laptop, I could very well have chosen just a headset – This in itself brings huge benefits – NO IP PHONE = LOWER POWER CONSUMPTION – this is a good thing – right? NO PHONE ON MY DESKTOP = More space available – this too is a good thing – Yes? So we can reduce our carbon footprint, real estate costs and all from an integrated UC application – MS Lync, which means we no longer need a PBX – wow! Why would you not want to consider this?

UC – A technology, or something else?

 UC – or  should I cut out the TLA (three letter acronym – or in this case two letter) and give it it’s full title – Unified Communications, is one of those “titles” that has many different meanings and thus causes as much confusion as it does buzz.

For many in my industry, UC is absolutely a technology, and some are keen to talk the hind legs off a donkey about the technical details of what “it”can deliver, but rarely get to the real “pay back” part of the conversation.

So what have I got to say for myself – well I believe that there is significantly more to the UC conversation than just technology. I am firmly in the space that technology is rarely the only element of a successful solution, as we need to factor in the people engagement piece – whether that be employees, partners, or the paymasters themselves Customers.

UC is about bringing together various disparate channels of communications and devices into a device agnostic, location independent offering. That is to say that my ability to communicate is supported wherever I am and whatever device I happen to be using. Microsoft Lync is such a platform that enables a fairly intuitive interface for engaging with your colleagues, suppliers and customers using whatever is the most appropriate mode – Instant Messaging; Email; Telephone Call; Video Call and allows for Collaboration, through desktop sharing and discussion. All of the options are embedded in the applications that most business people are using in their daily work. Open Outlook, and you immediately have access to presence (availability and status of people in your work circles) especially if you “federate” (your presence) beyond just your internal contacts.

AND beyond the technology is the people element. Any organisation looking to embark upon a UC “journey” (that is how it should be viewed IMHO) should ensure that the company culture and people “fit” are scrutinised very carefully. The transition from existing pbx to lync voice, needs carefully planning and skilfully migrating, so that it appears seamlessly executed. This can only be achieved with a sound understanding of the process and the technologies. It is also key to be clear about your objectives and how the people in this journey are included and embraced. Just changing the tech alone will surely yield some improvements, but for the real payoff you need buy in and engagement. (If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got).

Finally consider this – today you are probably arriving at your office (home office, work office, coffee shop) and after turning on your laptop, opening Outlook. Good news – all of your communications are embedded here, and with the simple addition of a headset or similar, you have your communications hub ready to go – IM, telephony, video etc. So simple and ubiquitous, and think about the considerable savings of no longer needing your office wired pbx….worth serious consideration don’t you think?

I can see you

Isn’t it funny that even though we know intellectually things like videoconferencing and audio conferencing in general are a good thing as far as the green agenda is concerned and of course from an efficiency and effectiveness point of view. Yet we still don’t seem to adopt them in our business lives quite as wholeheartedly as you might imagine.

Why ever not?
Is it merely standards, usability or acceptance or is it something more esoteric?

Perhaps it is all moving a lot faster than we think, for example in our personal lives the availability and uptake of technology particularly in terms of mobility is staggering. Much of this technology is now being driven into the enterprise through our adoption at a consumer level. We are finding increasingly, use for Skype and facetime for example. These applications are being broadly adopted by generation Y and increasingly by their parents . Furthermore these consumer technology products are also being brought into the workplace as you will see increasing use of personal iPhones, iPads and other tablet devices in use for work purposes and IT departments having little choice but to embrace and “allow” it.

If you add to this ubiquitous nature of data anywhere any time from any device and the always on availability of (increasingly higher bandwidth) data connections we can see that there is a need to understand and embrace if we are not to be left behind when it comes to competing for customers, staff and profits.

So what will you be doing to ensure you embrace the unstoppable change that all of this enables?