In the hybrid work era, communication is key
Over the past year plus, organisations have experienced a shift towards new and alternative means of working. Global health measures told offices around the world to work from home, and organisations very quickly had to find out if their IT systems and digital tools were truly up to the task.
Alongside adoption of cloud computing, multi-factor security authentication, and remote collaboration software that allows separately-located team members to work on the same project together, one digital enabler was crucial to permitting teams to stay in touch and achieve their productivity targets: effective video conferencing software.
As teams ease into hybrid working arrangements that have become the norm in the aftermath of the pandemic, nearly half of Australian enterprises have employees who are still working from home or who are alternating their time in the office with their co-workers.
As this new working culture becomes normalised, teams have had to become acclimatised to corresponding remotely with their teammates or with clients. Video conferencing is no longer the last option or the unloved necessity to link up international meetings – today, video conferencing solutions are the de facto choice for enabling communications – whether it be meetings with colleagues, with business partners, or for online events and webinars that used to be held in physical convention centres.
With the vast majority of enterprises running one version or another of Microsoft’s prolific Windows operating system, it should come as little surprise that Microsoft collaboration tools are also pervasive, from the Microsoft 365 productivity suite to the Microsoft Teams conferencing and collaboration software. Microsoft Teams has been steadily overtaking Microsoft’s precursor, Skype for Business, as the preferred unified communications platform.
Despite Microsoft Teams having around 115 million daily active users as of October 2020, with so many different setups globally, there are literally thousands of conference room systems and configurations that a company might be utilising. These feature a variety of support for different settings such as video/audio streaming quality, minutes-taking and recording capabilities, and cloud storage capabilities, just to name a handful.
With software solutions supplied by a smorgasbord of vendors — often selected for competitive pricing rather than an ability to integrate with other systems — conference room connectivity might pose a major hurdle for organisations looking to prioritise business continuity and efficiency.
Enter the BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams, a Microsoft-certified cloud video solution interoperable with Microsoft Teams at the quickest, easiest-to-use intersection. Since 2009, BlueJeans has made it its business to enhance meeting experiences – and with a focus on efficiency, has been integrating with market-leading Microsoft deployments for ten years now.
Since being acquired by international telecommunications specialists Verizon last year, BlueJeans has established itself as a leading cloud-native video conferencing as a service (VCaaS) provider off the back of its sturdy stable of conference room products. These include its flagship video bridging service BlueJeans, its portfolio of audio-focused hardware VC systems powered by Dolby, and its cloud-based, live streaming service BlueJeans Events.
To say BlueJeans is a videoconferencing specialist would be an understatement, and its Gateway for Microsoft Teams brings a lot of that expertise to the conference room table. It allows users to enjoy a consistent Microsoft Teams experience no matter where they are located on the premises or what conference room hardware they are using.
BlueJeans Gateway is a pure Software as a Service (SaaS) method. It is interoperable with H.323 or SIP room systems, enabling the organisation to maximise existing hardware investments, thus making it extremely scalable across the entire enterprise.
The BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams is easily deployable in four steps, but its ease of use does not only extend to deployment. BlueJeans supports a one-touch meeting join for easy integration with a variety of video systems and native touch screens, supporting screen vendors like Cisco, Poly, Avaya, and Lifesize – without meeting participants having to worry if multimedia devices will connect.
In fact, once BlueJeans Gateway is enabled across an office’s Microsoft Team environment, room systems can be set to auto-join Teams meetings at the scheduled start time; no manual tinkering required.
Companies that had been considering undergoing a Microsoft Teams migration, or a possible overhaul of their video conferencing setup now that they’re headed back to the office, might notice a lack of a critical element with their base Teams setup: the ability to include group video endpoints in a Teams meeting. The BlueJeans Gateway is one of just a handful of service providers that will enable group video endpoints to connect into Teams meetings.
In addition to the native security controls in Teams that ensure endpoints, cloud components, and desktop and mobile clients are not easily affected by cyber threats, all meeting connections via the Gateway are fully encrypted. The platform even allows admins to prevent non-encrypted connections to join meetings.
Along with seamless and interoperable connectivity throughout the deployed Microsoft Teams environment, the BlueJeans Gateway offers encryption, access control, and content sharing permissions. Integration is so seamless that calls made via the Gateway are nearly indistinguishable from a native Microsoft Teams experience.
Any performance anxiety can be managed using the BlueJeans Command Center, a web portal providing real-time analytics and detailed historical information on bitrates, audio and video quality, packet loss, and more, in an easy-to-digest, graphical format. Troubleshooting call issues is as easy as the quick-fire setup (one room takes around just 20 minutes to get set up, without any prior experience), and the one-touch paradigm interoperates with other vendors’ systems (tested on over 19,000 room systems).
Verizon has full confidence in the BlueJeans Gateway and is offering two ways to try it out for free before purchasing. First up is ‘Take a Test Drive’, where users can instantly connect to a Teams meeting using the Gateway demo environment — without any configuration required whatsoever.
The other option is Try For Free, a more standard 30-day free trial where you can test out the BlueJeans Gateway service in your company’s own Microsoft Teams environment.