Microsoft scores leader from Gartner – 6th year in a row!

Microsoft has done it again!  Their Microsoft Lync product has helped them continue to grow in the upper right quadrant of the Gartner’s UCC Magic Quadrant.

I really hope that with their acquisition of Skype they are able to provide a light weight version of Lync via Office 365 for free, while offering a very cost effective full version of Lync for home users.  This will really help close the gap!  This brings full collaboration, unity, and productivity to home users and the business users.  And think of the federation capabilities this provides!

Read the full report here:

Army Approves Lync for Field Use

This is fantastic news for Microsoft, for us, and for the Army!  Microsoft has helped show the United States Army how a product such as Microsoft Lync can help deliver the right people, the right time, and the right resources anywhere in the world.

Using this tool, the Department of Defense has show that the security of the tool is meeting standards of the United States, allows us to make more informative decisions faster.  This means now we can wrap intelligence around anything!  No longer are we dependent upon deploying pepole everywhere, we can have a team of front line soldiers, and a team of intelligence in the background.  This allows us to stay one step ahead of the curve :)

3D Conferencing Technologies

Think of the last time you sat on a conference call, whether just an audio based conference call or an interactive audio/video/content conference call.  How engaged were you?  If you felt like you were pretty engaged, that’s great!  Now, think of the traditional conferences/meetings.  You typically schedule a block of time on everyone’s calendar, find a room, secure the resources.  The meeting goes great up until you look at the clock and you are running out of time.

Two things could take place.  First, you have a meeting to talk about something that is happening – ie: go over an agenda, assign resources, recap previous meetings, etc.  Second, you meet to collaborate amongst collegues.  This is a great example of what I’m going to showcase.

Take the collaboration example.  Ten people book a room for one hour.  In that one hour, you are expected to ramp up the dialog, make sure everyone is in attendance so you get the best ideas from everyone, and you are expected to have all data in your back pocket.  If you don’t, then typically you’ll need to schedule another meeting or work offline.  Then, you come back again after a period of time to meet again.  But, in the first part of this example, let’s say 45 minutes into it everyone starts changing directions and gets on to valuable collaboration.  Now, what happens to that feeding off others when you get kicked out of the room becuase your one hour is up?

This brings me into a product from ProtonMedia where they have developed a virtual meeting center.  This virtual meeting center allows all to create an avatar that simulates them in real life, and build knowledge around specific subject areas.  This tool now integrates into Lync, which allows real time collaboration amongst people, integration into SharePoint, which brings skills and resources around collaboration, and now single sign on so you can be a single entity.

This tool I started playing with last night and I am already seeing value within it.  I can be matched up with the right people instantly!  Maybe they aren’t online (the real person :) ), but maybe they can still provide some quick knowledge or point me in the right direction.

I’ll be playing with this tool a lot in the next few days, but thought I’d start telling everyone how excited I am to see progress made from the standard 2D conferencing to new 3D conferencing worlds.  This is really going to improve, expedite, and give quality to meetings, conferences, collaboration, training, and education.

Here is a link to this tool:

DSCP on Exchange 2010 Replication?

A friend asked me if it was possible to specify DSCP values for Exchange 2010 replication. After doing some trial and error and research, it seems like it’s possible. By segregating MAPI and Replication to different NICs, and using Local Policy, you can set port 64327 (TCP, Default Exchange 2010 Replication Port) to use a DSCP value. I’ll test this later in my lab….

Lync 2010

Finally got around to installing Lync 2010 in the Production environment at work. At first, seems a bit overwhelming when trying to deploy, but as I dig more into it and understand the topology builder and its role, it seems to be a bit easier! I’m now sitting waiting on the certificate to be generated so I can start services, but in the meantime it’s got me doing some digging! I’m playing around now with a few different devices from some vendors including a Polycom CX5000, CX3000, various GN headsets, and a handful of different Lync optimized webcams.

Some exciting stuff coming down the line! I’ll update you once I have my certificates installed and working.


Exchange 2010 Online Archive Access through Outlook 2007!

Finally! You can access an online archive (used in Exchange 2010) through Outlook Web Application (2010 only), Outlook 2010, and now Outlook 2007!

Data Data Data!!!!!

Wow!  With the abundance of data streaming out there in the world these days, there is a huge need to reel in the compliance, retention, and control of that data. 

Imagine an employee who starts to communicate with someone over a social media site such as LinkedIn, goes back and forth with quotes from their sales CRM application and then the conversation ends shortly later.  Several weeks, days, months, etc. go by, and the conversation again stirs up on LinkedIn.  When official business is conducted, what retention does your company have in place to find that data should they need to?  Is it archivalable?  What if data leaks?  What if your employee uses that data against your company?  What if your employee uses that social site to take contacts or other data to competitors?  What if your employee’s significant other or friend gains access through social engineering?

What’s the right mix of the data?  What is the right mix of control?  Should these sites be allowed to exist?  If there is a significant business purpose for these tools, how can a business ensure the right partner agreements are in place?

As I compose this draft, I’m putting this out there for thoughts, but keep this in mind and feel free to comment as you think of how this can data can be useful and harmful to the right folks.  I’ll be updating this post soon with more data, but this is a good start of my ideas.

Busy Bee!

I’ve been quite busy recently with a data center and user move of our corporate headquarters, as well as relocation and combining of offices.  Many of our IT’ers have worked around the clock to make it such a success! 

Finally, we are on the tail end of this project, but as always, it seems there has been an abundance of projects waiting for us to complete.  I’ve got a few!  Cisco CUIMOC/UM integration with Exchange, Lync 2010 rollout, Unified Messaging, PCI compliance, HIPPA overviews, Smartphone implementations, etc.

Look for posts soon!

VMware vSphere Fast Track 4

Started VMWare Fast Track classes this week….

Taking the BlackBerry World by Surprise!