Microsoft Teams for Mobility and More

Today, 61% of employees say they work outside of the office at least part-time, and that number is gradually increasing. As staff continue to adapt and evolve in today’s digitally-transforming landscape, it’s important to ensure that your business is equipped with the right tools to facilitate collaboration.

Solutions like Microsoft Teams are designed to ensure that experts can continue to communicate with their colleagues, contribute to workflow, and produce exceptional results regardless of where they are.

With the dedicated Microsoft Teams mobile app, users can view shared content, connect through chat with meeting participants, and catch up with various tasks, all within a convenient, easy-to-use application. So, what makes Teams so beneficial for remote workers?

Easy-to-Adopt with a Simple UI

The mobile user interface for Teams is simple, with a minimalist navigation menu that makes it easy for users to find the chats and activity feeds that are relevant to them. Users can check recent conversations, mentions, and team actions within a matter of minutes, and everything is organised chronologically for the best results.

Effective Mobile Device Management

Another thing that gives Microsoft Teams the edge for mobile workers is the fact that CIOs and admins can maintain all the control they need over mobile devices, using Intune for Office 365, which allows your organisation to:

  • Manage which mobile devices the workforce can use to access business data
  • Manage the mobile apps that the workforce uses
  • Protect and control the way your team can access and share information
  • Ensure that apps and devices remain compliant with security requirements

A Simple but Valuable Feature Set

The features available on the Microsoft Teams mobile app are designed to be easy to use and access. The most prominent tools available include chat and calling. Chat comes with things like photo uploading, rich text editing features and more.

While Microsoft Teams might not have the widest selection of features available on the market, there are numerous add-ons available so that you can basically build the team collaboration software of your dreams. With the Teams Mobile app, remote workers can tap into the rich desktop experience of Teams collaboration and plug into an array of third-party services without ever having to switch to another tool or provider. All that, and the app is extremely easy to use, which ensures that you don’t have to bring remote workers in for training.

One point worth noting is that the Microsoft Teams application does work more effectively for file editing through mobile if you have other Microsoft Office 365 applications installed too. This may be something to consider when building a suite of tools for your mobile workers.

A Host of New Microsoft Teams Features

Microsoft recently announced a new suite of features intended to appear within Teams throughout 2018, including the delivery of new inline messaging translations between a range of languages in chat and conversation channels. There’ll also be a background blurring option for video calls, proximity detection to add Skype systems to meetings, and mobile sharing facilities too. Mobile sharing will mean that attendees can share video live streams and photos from their mobile devices.

Alongside the huge selection of planned features, Microsoft has announced new calling features for the enterprise-grade system, including call delegation and consultative transfer. There’s also Direct Routing available, which allows customers to integrate their existing telephony with Teams.

Additionally, Teams will also be available across a range of meeting room devices, including the Microsoft Surface Hub, and a selection of partner-created devices like those from HP, as well as Plantronics and Polycom.

Bringing Voice Computing to the Workplace

Microsoft has announced new features that will help users to transcribe, record, and save meetings in the cloud. The anticipated inline message translation function will also integrate with Microsoft’s very own voice assistant, Cortana.

According to Microsoft, their decision to integrate Teams with Cortana should help users to make calls more easily, join meetings, and add people to conferences using nothing but natural language.

During this year, Teams will see the arrival of cloud recording – another solution that will take advantage of recent developments in cloud technology. Teams will have the opportunity to record meetings with nothing but a click and create automatic transcriptions of whatever was said. Attendees in meetings will be able to play back key parts of their recordings with the help of transcription guidance.

Microsoft has suggested that the transcription service will be upgraded in the future with facial recognition to make sure remarks are properly attributed to the right people.

Teams is Gaining Traction

Alongside all the recent updates, Microsoft also gave an insight into the popularity of Microsoft Teams, with 200,000 customers currently in the Teams environment, over 181 markets, using 39 different languages.

Are You Ready for Teams?

To learn more about enabling your teams with Teams, contact us today.

Conferencing Made Easy

Are your meetings frequently disrupted or delayed due to connectivity issues? What are the main barriers your business faces when conferencing?

In a recent study* by Barco, the most common IT related issue in the boardroom is Connecting Hardware, followed closely by Using Meeting/Presentation Software.

There are many negative impacts caused by such meeting disruptions, from appointments being postponed or cancelled, to even damage to business reputation.

Check out how Interlinked can make conferencing easy by adding Barco ClickShare to your business solution:

For more findings from Barco’s study, check out this infographic:

Want to learn how Interlinked can make conferencing easy by adding Barco ClickShare to your business solution? Contact us today.

*Barco, 2017, The Workplace Digital Divide

Is your business on ISDN? Upgrade before you’re disconnected.

In 2016, Telstra announced its decision to cease sale on its ISDN products and other special services as of June 2018. This is due to the nationwide rollout of the National Broadband Network and the incompatibility these products face with the new technology.

Telstra’s anticipated final disconnection will occur in 2022 – but businesses could begin losing services as early as 2019 depending on their location.

Affected services include:

  • ISDN2
  • ISDN2 Enhanced
  • ISDN10/20/30
  • DDS Fastway
  • Megalink
  • Frame Relay

Important dates:

  • 31 January 2018 – New ISDN service unavailable for customers who do not already have ISDN in place
  • 30 June 2018 – Full cease sale on new or additional ISDN services for all customers
  • June 2019 – Disconnection will commence for existing ISDN connections
  • By 2022 – All ISDN connections will be disconnected and full network will be decommissioned

Companies that currently utilise an ISDN service should start considering an upgrade.

If your business hasn’t transitioned to a compatible product within eighteen months of the NBN becoming available at your address, your services will be disconnected. This could mean permanent loss of your phone numbers and disruptions to your business.

You don’t have to wait until the final disconnection date. Interlinked can help your business migrate to an IP system today that is fully customisable and compatible with ADSL and NBN. On top of functionality and compatibility, it can also cut down on costs by reducing the cost of all your calls.

To assist with your migration, Interlinked can help your business evaluate the below:

  • Upgrading your existing phone system vs buying a new one
  • Selecting a hosted VoIP system vs an on-premise VoIP-enabled PBX
  • Network capacity and speed – your internet connection may need to change to accommodate for voice quality

Next Steps:

  1. Speak to us for a free consultation
  2. Interlinked will tailor a new solution based on your business’ needs
  3. We will take care of all paperwork and migration processes

To find out if your address is NBN-ready, click here.

For details of Telstra’s announcement, click here.

Track, secure and control corporate devices under one single system

The Interlinked Mobile Device Management (MDM) service allows you to manage and secure the increasing volume and diversity of both ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) and corporate-owned devices.

Here’s a quick overview of our MDM solutions powered by Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security products, and how Interlinked can help your business stay in control:

To learn more about protecting and controlling your business devices, contact us today.

Make voice calls from Office 365

Microsoft has recently signed a new deal with Telstra, introducing Telstra Calling for Office 365.

It’s a cloud-based service for public switched telephone network (PSTN) calling within Office 365 delivered from the Microsoft cloud, and available only for Telstra business customers in Australia.

The service will be available from mid-2018, and supports Telstra calling plans from both Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams – the software giant’s chat-based Office 365 workspace – meaning users can access cloud collaboration and voice services.

Telstra Calling for Office 365 lets customers access cloud collaboration and voice call services with Telstra calling plans supported directly from Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams.

Benefits of Telstra Calling for Office 365:

  • leverage Skype for business and/or Microsoft Teams to use one business number to make and receive local, long distance, mobile, audio, or video calls
  • enable voice in cloud just like every other Office 365 service in a matter of seconds in the same Office 365 management portal
  • use all the normal call handling functions such as call hold, transfer, forwarding, and voicemail in the cloud
  • reinforce branding by letting staff use their existing business landline number regardless of their location

The partnership combines Telstra’s carrier-grade service with Microsoft collaboration platforms, resulting in a richer user experience.

Telstra’s Executive Director of Global Products, Michelle Bendschneider, says employees want to connect in lots of different ways, but without the hassle of disparate systems.

“We are always looking for ways we can make it easier for our customers to connect. Telstra Calling for Office 365 brings the full scope of Office 365’s cloud productivity and collaboration apps – including video conferencing and meeting broadcast capabilities – alongside Telstra voice calling.”

“By combining what have traditionally been separate collaboration channels, we’re helping to increase productivity while simplifying the experience for employees.

“We’re able to offer this unique solution for our customers thanks to our close partnership with Microsoft and deep mobility and connectivity expertise.”

Microsoft Australia’s chief operating officer, Rachel Bondi says the addition of voice services to Office 365 is “enabling all components of our modern workplace solution.”

Telstra Calling for Office 365 is a unique solution to enable cloud voice within Office 365 and is testament to the strong partnership our two organisations have built over many years,” Bondi adds.

Business grade voice coupled with collaboration apps like Office 365 will accelerate the migration from traditional services, such as an IP PBX, to the cloud.

Over 200 customers have taken part in a pilot of the service over the last six months, with 30 Telstra customers now taking part in an early adopter program to move voice services to the cloud. According to Microsoft and Telstra, they have seen “strong” interest in the product.

As a Telstra Partner for Enterprise & Business as well as Microsoft Gold Partner, we’re excited about the opportunity to provide our clients with the best of Microsoft’s productivity cloud and collaboration tools combined with Telstra’s expertise in voice, network and service capabilities in one single solution.

To learn more about moving your business voice needs to the cloud, contact us today.

Telstra is preparing for the next generation of ultra-fast mobile technology: 5G

5G networks will deliver mobile speeds theoretically fast enough to download 600 feature films a minute.

Mike Wright, Telstra’s managing director of networks, said 2G, 3G and 4G technology arrived in Australia having been designed by Europeans for densely populated European countries.

“Our approach [to 5G] is to get in earlier and try to have it modified so it’s more suitable to Australia when it arrives, rather than us have to try to modify it when it gets here,” Mr Wright told BusinessDay.

“We discovered that the way [5G] was being written, we were going to be limited to tens of kilometres for some features, and we’ve been able to get some of those distance limits changed,” he said.

“Something that seems to be unique to Australia, and we found with earlier standards, is how gumtrees impact those radio signals and the way they get from the radio tower to the end user,” Mr Wright said.

“That will influence whether we need additional towers for 5G, whether we reuse the existing towers, whether we use small cells, and then we’ll be looking at applications,” he said.

‘Buffering’ while streaming videos will be a thing of the past with 5G.

Interlinked Blog | NBN Ready

Telstra to add 1,000 Technicians to repair NBN

In order to cope with NBN-related work and reduce the time customer spend waiting for a fault to be repaired, Telstra will hire 1,000 new field technicians.

“We know that sometimes the experience our customers can have when they need a fault fixed or a new service installed can improve and we are building up our resources to do just that,” said Telstra’s executive director customer service delivery, Brian Harcourt.

Service times are unacceptable with residents waiting weeks to have their services restored after extreme weather have wrecked mass damage.

Interlinked Blog | Telstra NBN

In the next two years, the national broadband network will be connected to more than 5 million households according to NBN Co.

Telstra has contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars with NBN Co to maintain connections. Technicians are required to complete a 17-week training program to obtain skills to fix faults on the network.

If you have been experiencing faults with your NBN network, please feel free to contact us on 1300 302 207 and one of our experts will be able to help.

Choose the right business phone system with Interlinked

Choosing the right phone system for your business

Are you looking to purchase a new business phone system?

It is important that you understand the types of phone systems you can choose from and decide on the product that is right for you and your team. Things for consideration include your budget, whether or not your growing business will require more extensive features in the near future, whether you have IT staff that is capable of running and maintaining any in-house hardware, and if you have access to a high-speed internet connection.

To assist with your decision, the Interlinked team has put together a quick summary for your comparison:

1. Landline (Standard PABX)

  • Analog / digital systems that run via the telephone company’s traditional copper wiring
  • To run landline service, you need on-premises PABX hardware. This is the hardware that is used to create multiple extensions and allow for phone system features, such as call transferring and call directories

Most suitable for: These systems are typically best for large organisations that have the budget to pay for it and an in-house IT staff to run and maintain it.

2. Hosted PABX

  • This is similar to standard PABX (see above), however instead of using on-premises hardware, your phone system is hosted and/or operated by your provider
  • Works with your existing telephone service or can completely replace it
  • Can be used with landlines, mobile phones, or VoIP service

Most suitable for: Businesses that want the functionalities and features of the standard PABX but do not have the budget or resources to run and maintain the hardware in-house.

3. VoIP phone systems

  • Rather than only using the traditional copper wires that landlines use, VoIP uses the same internet connection that a company is already using to get online
  • VoIP systems provide other unique features in addition to the standard features included in a PABX system, such as computer integration that allows voicemails to be sent to email inboxes and laptops or desktop computers to be turned into “virtual phones”
  • VoIP systems provide mobile options that give remote workers access to a business’s phone system via their smartphone
  • Choice between self-hosted or cloud-based options depending on the level of resources you have available to install and maintain hardware

Most suitable for: These systems are best for small businesses that want the functionality of a sophisticated phone system at a reasonable price and for businesses that want their remote employees to have access to the phone system.

4. Virtual phone system

  • Virtual phone systems work by connecting a business phone line to remote workers on their mobile phones or home phones
  • These types of systems work as an extensive call-forwarding solution, wherein calls are transferred to each employee’s designated phone – mobile or home – when a customer or client calls the main business number
  • These systems include a variety of features, such as automated receptionists, voicemail, call forwarding, call screening and online faxing

Most suitable for: Businesses that are comprised solely of remote workers or sole trader businesses.


Are you unsure of the most suitable product for your business?  Speak to our friendly team on 1300 302 207 or send us a message online here.

 

Apple WWDC 2015

9 key announcements from Apple WWDC 2015

The 2015 annual Worldwide Developers Conference by Apple kicked off yesterday (8th June) in San Francisco, California.

The event began with a keynote in which Apple unveiled a new music service, new apps, new operating systems and easier ways to find information.

Here is a summary of the 9 key announcements:

1. OS X – El Capitan

OS X 10.11, otherwise known as El Capitan (named after a mountain found within Yosemite), is more about improving the OS X experience and performance than redesigning the user interface.

Key Updates:

  • Safari: users can now “pin” sites to load instantly from the landing page, and mute audio in tabs without entering specific pages
  • Spotlight: more extensive and integrated search capabilities – look up sporting event tickets, weather, and upcoming events using natural language
  • Improved Windows Management: automatically split screen between apps and store multiple desktop layouts in a navigation bar on top
  • Metal 3D graphics SDK: Apple’s optimisation tool will give El Capitan a performance boost – Apple says it should accelerate app launches by 1.4 times, and make it twice as fast to switch between apps
  • Improvements to the way Windows and Mail work

El Capitan is available for developers today, with a public beta coming in July and a full, free rollout to all in the Australian spring.

2. iOS 9

Similar to the new version of OS X, iOS 9 is more about making refinements.

Key Updates:

  • Low Power Mode: allows users to squeeze three extra hours out of the battery
  • Space Saving: takes up less space on your iPhone
  • Multitask on iPad: users can now split their screen in half and operate two apps at the same time – sliding a screen to the left brings a second app open to the screen, sliding down from the top lets you bring in a different app to your screen
  • Notes app: more functionality e.g. drawing, adding links to a website or maps, creating tasks lists and adding photos in your notes
  • Passbook: now renamed to “Wallet”
  • Introducing the “News” App: a new app similar to an iOS favourite Flipboard in collating news from a variety of publications
  • HealthKit: tracks more data, including water intake, UV exposure and menstrual cycles, and can now link to iCloud

A public beta will be released in July with the final version coming out in the Australian spring.

3. Siri

Siri answers more than one billion requests a week, and with the latest updates the iOS “proactive assistant” initiative uses the data on your phone to give contextual advice and options.

Key Updates:

  • Suggest What To Do: offer suggestions on what music to use or what apps to open based on location and time of day
  • Suggest Who’s Calling: if an unknown call comes in Siri looks through your email to suggest who might be calling
  • Schedule Events Automatically: scan emails and insert invitations directly into calendar
  • Intelligent Reminders: ability for user to tell Siri to “remind me about this” and it will know you are referring to the webpage currently on Safari

While these new services draw data from nearly everything you do on your phone, Apple emphasises that the data powering the new Siri features is kept as anonymous as possible, not shared with third-parties, and localised to a user’s device.

4. Apple Music

Apple’s all new music service. You can stream your favorite artists, watch music videos and exclusive clips in HD, and listen to curated playlists. Other features include “Connect“, which lets unsigned artists upload their music, as well as Apple’s own global radio station called Beats 1.

Apple Music will be available on iOS starting 30th June and also coming to Android in the Australian spring.

The price details in the United States will be $10 USD per month, with the first three months free. Australian prices will be released closer to the launch date.

5. Apple Watch

Less than two months into its life, the Apple Watch has a new operating system: watchOS 2.

Key Updates:

  • More Watch Faces: for example “Time Travel,” which gives you an overview of upcoming events in addition to what’s going on at the moment
  • More Interactivity: such as replying to emails and answering FaceTime audio calls
  • Developers Have More Control: they can make apps that play back video and audio using the watch speakers, and access HealthKit and HomeKit

The new Apple Watch OS will be available in the Australian spring.

6. HomeKit

Apple’s smart home platform now allows you to control more of your home

Key Updates:

  • Expanded Functionality: capabilities to adjust window shades, motion sensors, and security systems as well as compatibility with sensors such as smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms
  • Enhanced Accessibility: use HomeKit with your iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch as long as it is connected via iCloud

7. CarPlay

Apple’s auto operating system also gets an improvement

Key Updates:

  • Connect Wirelessly: users will no longer have to connect their phone with a cable but it will work wirelessly when you get into the vehicle
  • Apps Developed for Specific Cars: auto makers now have ability to develop apps that control the car’s features, with support for high-DPI screens at multiple display sizes

8. Apple Maps

Apple Maps also gets a revamp, including the addition of public transit maps which show train, bus and ferry lines showing you when the next train or bus is departing and how long it will take to walk to the nearest entrance.

The bad news is that rollout will begin in America, Europe and China, and there is no news yet on when it will be coming to Australia.

9. Apple Pay in the UK

Apple announced it was expanding its mobile wallet Apple Pay to the United Kingdom, including allowing people to jump on a London bus or the Underground with the Apple Pay.

There is no mention of when or if it will be coming to Australia.

Welcome ATC

Welcome Australian Technology Corporation

Interlinked is pleased to announce our recent acquisition of Australian Technology Corporation, IT & telecommunications solutions provider servicing Sydney. Our company benefits from the acquisition as we continue to grow as a leading provider of IT&T solutions.

The acquisition will also bring about many benefits to clients who now have easier access to our wide array of services, including business phone systems, managed IT, cloud computing and software development, as well as a larger support team to service all your technological needs.

It is our goal to continue providing the highest level of service to our valued clients and we look forward to speaking to you about your next telecoms or IT project! If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Sales: enquiries@Interlinked.com.au or 1300 302 207
Support: support@Interlinked.com.au or 1300 302 207
Accounts: accounts@Interlinked.com.au or 1300 302 207