Monthly Archives: November 2019

Reminder: Quarterly Chicagoland Teams User Group

Another reminder for those of you in the Chicago area, December 2nd is our quarterly Microsoft Teams user group, this one is in the burbs. Catering will include some of my favorite deep dish pizza.

These are always fun and valuable, and a great place to network with your peers and make those relationships.  Vendors and local experts attend regularly as well so it’s a place to get those questions answered too!

This time around there are two sessions, the first will be preseting on 911 and can answer questions about their services, next I’ll be presenting on all the new features that have hit since the last meeting.  Should be a ton of fun!

To register or to find other local groups visit

Please note this meeting will be held at the Downer’s Grove Microsoft Office ( 3025 Highland Pkwy #300).

Collaboration Bars for Teams are Coming!

I’m a bit unusually excited about this announcement, and from what I’ve seen of Yealinks offering, it’s going to be pretty cool. You’re likely familiar with Microsoft Teams Room systems, simple in-expensive devices that connect to the cloud to host video conferencing. These we formerly Skype Room Systems (v2) or Project Rigel and ran on Surface tablets with Windows 10. The first iterations of this didn’t leave me feeling too warm, but they worked. My biggest issues were mostly Windows 10 updates and the occasional user would would join from the tablet but not turn on the TV and were upset they were on video. Things have gotten better since those days, but I feel for smaller rooms, they’re about to get even better with Collaboration Bars.

These Collaboration Bars connect with your TV (touchscreen is best but not mandatory as there’s a remote control) or display to enable the meeting experience, the difference is that they’re compact, run Android, and are controlled from the TV, eliminating the “I didn’t know I was on video” complaint from the person who didn’t show up for training… or read the guide… or look at the sheet in the room… or the label on the tablet in the room (I’m bitter).

I’ve been following Yealink and their VC210 series. They’ve been coming out with some pretty strong offerings recently. When their first phone came out I was wary, but they quickly won me over with their user experience. Clients tend to love their products, and I have to admit that I do as well.

VC210 Front

This device comes with a 4K camera with a 120 degree view of the room, can utilize WiFi, sit on top of your TV, and run Bluetooth to it’s full duplex speakerphone (it needs a Yealink CP900).

VC210 Back

In fairness, as excited as I am, I haven’t touched one of these devices yet, but will update as soon as I do. These are going to be a low-cost plug and play option that is going to be suitable for what I would consider the majority of mid-market conference and huddle rooms (not the large ones, but they’ve got models for that too). Good times ahead!

Missed Ignite? Here’s the Video.

I didn’t make it to Ignite this year, which stinks. For me, the networking there is endlessly valuable, but my clients are even more so and I always put them first. The technical sessions are great (especially if I get a chance to present) but the great part about that is the ability to catch up on those later.

Check out the link below to watch some of them. I have to confess, when there’s a shot that includes the audience, I’m trying to pick my friends out of the front row.

Microsoft and Cisco Love…

At Ignite, Cisco and Microsoft made some pretty exciting announcements and their interoperability going forward. Those announcements can be seen here. There will be cloud video interop (CVI) that will allow WebEx devices to connect to Teams Meetings, quite handy for those who need to invest in both. There will be the ability to click to join Teams Meetings from WebEx devices as well as the ability to join WebEx Meetings from Teams devices, also quite cool.

What I’m the most excited about, being the Microsoft voice nerd, is the ability to connect Cisco Session Border Controllers directly to Microsoft Teams for Direct Routing in a supported fashion. No more sheepishly telling a Cisco shop that they’ll have to buy AudioCodes or Ribbon to put an SBC in front of their SBC. With this direct option, combined with the ability to disable missed call notifications, dual forking and using Teams as an endpoint for Cisco phone solutions just became a cool reality.

CVI and Meeting Join is expected in Early 2020, and Cisco has joined the Direct Routing certification program, but I don’t see clarity in the article on just when that will happen.