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Integrating Skype for Business with Google Calendars

Integrating Skype for Business with Google Calendars

Hello USB Pros!
So this has been a fun topic to work on because I searched and searched and there did not seem to be anyone who has gone over a solution for integrating Skype for Business with Google Calendars. That being said there is no great integration but we have found a work around. There is a company called CloudPipes who is calculating demand for a direct plug-in style integration between Google Calendars and Skype for Business which would make things so much easier for everyone! Until that day we have a work around which you can use in a couple different ways to schedule your Skype for Business meeting with Google Calendars.  

The Problem

The problem is that Skype for Business is built around Microsoft Exchange and anyone looking to schedule their video meetings using Google Calendars will find it difficult to do so. There is no direct integration with Skype for Business and Google Calendars available (as of July 2015) and this makes it almost impossible to schedule a Skype for Business meeting if you don't have Microsoft Exchange and Outlook. Most people who do have Microsoft Exchange and Outlook can simply schedule a Skype for Business meeting right in Outlook. But since there is no plugin for Google Hangouts users are going to have to use our "work around".

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Skype for Business certified Webcams and Room Systems

Skype for Business certified Webcams and Room Systems

Skype for Business Room System Review

Skype for Business certified Webcams and Room Systems

 

Microsoft updated Lync to Skype for Business a few months ago. The software provides an all-in-one solution for video conferencing and meeting rooms. Skype for Business features the simple UI of Skype integrated with professional services of Lync. Microsoft also partnered with several hardware manufacturers to develop Skype for Business certified webcams and room systems for an optimal experience.

SMART Skype for Business certified Webcams and Room Systems
SMART is an official Microsoft partner for Skype for Business room systems. The company has introduced several video conferencing systems with single as well as dual displays. SMART is the only manufacturer that offers a massive 84-inches display and a camera with 4K resolution. It’s a perfect combination but it will require a lot of bandwidth as well. SMART systems start at the price of $17,999 and go all the way up to $40,999. They are definitely not cheap but it is a onetime investment for your ultimate meeting room.

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Skype for Business Remote PTZ Control with the Logitech CC3000e

Skype for Business Remote PTZ Control with the Logitech CC3000e

Skype for Business Far End Camera Control Software

Hello USB Pros!

So everyone knows about the new Logitech cc3000e by now right? This has been a great easy to use USB 2.0 video conferencing camera (beside the sub-par speakerphone) for under $1,000! So one thing a lot of people don't know is that the Logitech CC3000e also comes with a free Skype for Business / Microsoft Lync video conferencing plugin that provides the far end with video camera pan tilt zoom controls. Logitech has stated that that both ends do require a "conference cam" meaning either a cc3000e or a bcc950 ptz camera at both ends. Therefore not too many people have actually had a chance to try out this free video conferencing plug-in for skype for business that logitech has made. 

In the video below, Paul Richards, from Conference Room Systems show us the Logitech cc3000e Skype for Business plugin in action using two computers to show remote control over (Microsoft Lync when the video was recorded and posted to YouTube) now Skype for Business. So without further explanation check out this great video of the Logitech cc3000e plug-in in action online using a Windows computer connected to a gigabit network with a 50M up/down network. 

If you have used the logitech cc3000e remote pan tilt zoom plug-in for Skype for Business or Microsoft Lync let us know what you thought! This is a great example of UVC camera control. See our UVC camera control article here: UVC Camera Control and why it is the future? The Logitech cc3000e uses only 1 USB 2.0 cable that comes out of a proprietary USB hub. The webcam and speakerphone include 16' proprietary cables that connect to this USB hub which provides both the camera and speakerphone power. From here the USB hubs can pass UVC control for the camera's Pan Tilt & Zoom operations. No the 16' cables cannot be extended at this time but you can extend the USB 2.0 with a USB 2.0 extension. For more about USB extensions see here: Part 2 - Why USB 3.0 for AV & USB cabling limitations/extensions

Kudos, to Logitech for creating a dynamic plugin for Skype for Business and thanks for reading another post by the USB Pros!

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Skype for Business vs Google for Business

Skype for Business vs Google for Business

 

Skype for Business

Skype for Business formerly known as Lync is a widely used software for internal and external communication. Microsoft bought the already developed platform and made it even better with its expertise. Millions of users use Skype every day to talk to their loved ones, friends, family and colleagues. Not long ago, businesses started using Skype to connect with out of city or overseas employees and even conduct cross border interviews for jobs.

Cisco is already leading the market but Microsoft saw the opportunity to utilize its resources and already developed platform to enter the competition. Microsoft Lync was part of Office 2010 but now it has been integrated with Skype to create one unified platform for businesses. Skype for Business includes all the features that the consumer version has with some extras.

Skype for Business adds extra security to protect corporations’ interests and data. The biggest advantage for users is integration with Microsoft Office. Since both softwares are owned and developed by Microsoft, Skype for Business offers easy integration with Office. Users can connect to any coworker from within the Office application with just one click.

It allows up to 250 users depending on the package. Large corporations usually purchase Server 2015 through certified partners while new startups or medium enterprises opt for the other two pricing plans available. Skype for Business delivers a more natural, intuitive and intelligent communication experience for professionals. It not only simplifies the user experience but also increases engagement and saves costs for the organization.

Since Skype for Business is one of the most cost effective solution for small and medium enterprises, Google is also stepping in to the competition. Google has a vast range of services and all it needs to do is bring everything together and make one suite for businesses.

Google for Business

Google for Business is geared towards getting your business online. Since Google is the most popular search engine, every business wants to appear on it. Previously it was not so straight forward but now the company has made a specific area for companies to register as businesses enjoy free coverage worldwide.

Google for Business Features

Show up on the web

Get on the map

Stand out on Google+

Share the right info about your business

Be found across devices

Bring your Google+ page to life

Respond to customer feedback

Connect face-to-face with Hangouts

All connected in one place

Check-in on the go with the Google My Business app

Insights on your customers

 

As you can see in the list above, all of these features are web based and gives your business an opportunity to make an online presence. But at the same time Google is developing its business suite to counter Skype for Business. Google Hangouts is a very popular video conferencing client as well and it is being used by millions of users.

Skype for Business has strategic partners that make video conferencing hardware compatible with the software. Although there are no on paper system requirements and anyone with a camera and a microphone can use Skype for Business but in meeting spaces a dedicated VTC hardware is required. Skype for Business is also being used in live television broadcast which requires specialized broadcast equipment and Skype for Business suite.

On the other hand, Google recently launched Chromebox for Meetings. It is a direct competitor to Skype for Business systems but with ChromeOS and Google Business suite. Chromebox for meetings start at a reasonable price of $999 and includes Google Business software. Skype for Business systems cost as low as $2000 and go all the way to $20,000 and Skype for Business Server 2015 costs much more compared to other two plans.

Google also has its own productivity suite which includes Google Docs, Google Sheets, Drive, YouTube for Live Streaming, Google+ and so on. Users can create or edit any document in Google Docs just like MS Word. Microsoft Office does have advanced features but on the web both of them are more or less the same. Microsoft has OneDrive and Google has Drive, Skype for Business and Google Hangouts etc. Both companies are neck to neck when it comes to features.

Skype for Business does have an edge over Google for Business when it comes VoIP calling, more control for the admin, Microsoft Azure platform, Surface Hub etc. Google for Business is much more cost effective and delivers the same VTC quality as Skype for Business.

Skype for Business

Google for Business

Office Integration

Google Doc Integration

File Sharing

File Sharing

Cloud Storage OneDrive

Cloud Storage Google Drive

Skype Room Systems

Chromebox for Meetings

VoIP Calls (Requires Server 2015)

No VoIP Calls

Expensive for Large business

Standard cost of $999 – No monthly costs

Skype for broadcast

Does not support live broadcasting

Little or no online presence

Google My Business – complete online presence

 

Above is a small comparison between both business suites and each of them has an advantage over the other. Both are protected by advanced encryptions and authentications so security wise they are on par. Skype for Business is specifically designed for office meeting space and it can be integrated to the whole the network while Google for Business is mostly web-based and does not support VoIP calls yet. It comes down to user preference and affordability. Chromebox are very cost effective but still require some improvements before they can take over Skype Room systems. 

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