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UC Inside Track: Episode 2: Skype for Business vs Teams, and Assessing Your Network with special guess Tom Arbuthnot

December 13th, 2017 No comments

In this episode, my special guest Tom Arbuthnot and I look at Skype for Business updates, new tools from Microsoft, and Teams, and more. This includes:

– What to expect in Teams vs what’s already in Skype for Business
– Updated Network Assessment Tools
– .NET 4.7 support for Skype for Business
– CCE 2.1
– Skype for Business and Teams feature comparisons table and Teams roadmap
– Automating your workflows using Connectors in Microsoft Teams

Episode 2: http://www.voss-solutions.com/media/podcast/podcast_002.mp3

UC Inside Track is available directly via the link above, via RSS, iTunes, and now, TuneIn.

New Podcast: UC Inside Track Takes a Look at Microsoft UC Stack – First episode with special guest Jonathan McKinney

November 22nd, 2017 1 comment

Earlier this year, the podcast I had been involved in since its inception, The UC Architects, ended its five-year run. It was a lot of fun, but the format was difficult to maintain. So, I’ve started a new podcast dealing with the Microsoft Unified Communications (UC) stack, with just a single guest on each episode. Guests will be tech luminaries such as fellow MVPs, MCMs/MCSMs, and/or Microsoft staff. The podcast is designed to deliver regular insight into the Microsoft UC market as an easy-to-consume audio file. Each episode will be in a shorter format than the UCA was, making it easier to listen to while driving to work or doing other tasks. We’ll tackle fewer topics, but each in further depth.

Listeners can listen to the podcasts in any of the following ways:
– Subscribe to the UC Inside Track podcast series on iTunes or via your favorite RSS client.
– Listen on TuneIn.
– Listen to the podcast directly via the link below.

In the first podcast, I’m joined by Jonathan McKinney (@ucomsgeek), MVP and MCM, to discuss the recently released Skype for Business to Teams capabilities roadmap. Both Jonathan and I are on the Microsoft Elite Teams for both Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams, and have collaborated for many years. The exchange is lively and informative. The recording was made available to download from iTunes on Friday, November 17.

Episode 1: http://www.voss-solutions.com/media/podcast/podcast_001.mp3

Look for more episodes at least monthly. In episode 2, I’ll be joined by fellow MVP and MCM Tom Arbuthnot (@tomarbuthnot).

The UC Architects Podcast – Oh My God, They Let Me Host!

July 3rd, 2012 No comments

4 or 5 weeks ago, fellow MVP Steve Goodman sent out a tweet about possibly starting a podcast, and asking if anyone was interested in participating.

And so it begins

Steve Goodman’s original tweet about starting a podcast

There was quite a response, and 13 people in total started “The UC Architects Podcast” project. Within about 2 weeks, a website was born, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts were up and running, and the first episode was recorded. Steve hosted that episode, and four of the group were co-hosts. Post production editing was performed, and the episode was launched via web, iTunes, Zune, and RSS. What an accomplishment!

That first episode was quite a learning experience for all involved. Not only did topics need to be chosen and discussed, but the technical details of producing a podcast had to be researched. That first episode was recorded as a Lync conference, and the resulting audio pointed to possible improvements in recording hardware, techniques, etc. Every step of the way was based on group decisions and suggestions. When it came time to start discussing episode two, I was honored to be chosen as the host. Steve set a high bar with the first episode, and I was excited yet nervous at the opportunity.

I created a simple text file that was essentially a brain dump of ideas I had about what to discuss from a technical perspective about Lync and Exchange, as well as including some things we missed in episode 1, like mentioning our website, Facebook page, and other details. Topics are chosen by consensus of the group, but I had some ideas for “mini feature”. I listened to episode 1 several times, as well as my normal podcast subscriptions like TWiT, The Tech Guy, and others. Once I had a long list, I organized it into a flow of the complete episode. My plan was to work from the top down. This would help me stay focused, as well as making sure I didn’t forget something.

Scheduling a conference call involving a half dozen people scattered around the world was probably the most challenging issue. We used http://www.doodle.com to figure out the best schedule for everyone. Unfortunately, this resulted in a couple of the originally scheduled architects to not be available, so a couple of others stepped in. This also caused a couple of changes to the proposed topics as well.

When the time came to hold the Lync conference call, we had a brief meeting before starting the episode, and I shared out the notes in Lync so that everyone could see them. This turned out to be quite beneficial, as the co-hosts could see what was coming up. An occasional IM by the others, including the episode’s producer Dave Stork, really helped the show flow. I could, however, tell that my normal public speaking issue was coming into play – I was rushing things.

I managed to step back a little and let the co-hosts run with some topics and stretch things out a little. This really helped me relax a little, and ensure I wasn’t dominating the conversation as much.

We wrapped up all of the items on the list, and I closed the episode. Once that was done, we had a quick discussion on something that we missed, so we just picked it back up, discussed the topic, and it was later edited into the right place of the recording.

A post-recording briefing was beneficial for discussing the episode, and then the recording was off to the editor, Michael van Horenbeeck. An episode specific graphic was created, the episode’s summary page was created, the files were updated, and lastly, the podcast XML file was updated. At that point, the episode was live, and available online. Well, after I fixed a typo in the XML file. Whoops. At that point, many of the guys in the group begin socialized the episode via blog posts, Twitter, and Facebook.

What an experience! As much as I, like many people, don’t like to hear the sound of their own voice, I listened to the final edit and made notes on a couple of areas, including meeting flow, speaking styles, and audio quality. The audio quality is somewhat limited mainly due to Lync’s recording mechanism and embedded codecs, however we continue to tweak. Little quirks like the background sound of people playing with their mic, typing on their keyboard, or Windows sounds like Lync IM notifications were noted as areas for improvement. And my own speaking style didn’t escape my critique. Lots of “um” and “ah” type comments were fortunately edited out, but a few still remained. And I think I sounded a little stiff. But I managed to survive and had a ton of fun.

Steve is returning as host for episode 3, with me likely returning for episode 4. Even as episode 2 was being posted, I realized there has been ~700 emails between the group! Plus IMs, Lync calls, etc. Planning is well underway for episodes 3 and 4, and I’m excited to see what’s next. We’re planning on having people from the Lync and Exchange product groups, as well as vendors and other UC architects as guests in upcoming episodes.

Be sure to check out the podcast and let me know your thoughts, suggestions, and critiques.

 

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