Microsoft’s Project Rigel Bears Fruit

Microsoft’s Project Rigel Bears Fruit

At this week’s Ignite conference in Atlanta, Microsoft, along with partners Crestron, Logitech, and Polycom announced the first devices as part of the Project Rigel effort announced at Enterprise Connect in early 2016 to enable easier video conferencing within Skype for Business in conference rooms and huddle spaces.

Crestron’s Next Generation Skype Room System provides a customized Microsoft Surface Pro 4 that customers can use to control and manage video screens and cameras. The solution also provides management reporting.

Logitech too introduced a Surface Pro 4-based product called SmartDock that enables customers to use the Pro to control in-room video and audio conferencing equipment. Logitech customers can bundle SmartDock with its small, medium, and large room systems to create an deploy an integrated room system experience.

Finally Polycom introduced two new offerings: RealConnect Service for Office 365 enabling any standards-based video endpoint to connect to Skype for Business meeting, and its own Surface Pro 4 controller dubbed Microsoft Skype Room System (MSR) Series that integrates with its existing RealPresence Trio and CX5100 to create a unified meeting room controller, codec, camera, and audio hub solution. Polycom also announced Skype for Business support for its Group Series video conferencing systems and its VVX IP phones.

Taken together these announcements underscore two trends – growth of Skype for Business (and Office 365) in the enterprise, and increasing demand for low cost, integrated solutions for small and mid-size conference rooms. Nemertes’ most recent Unified Communications and Collaboration Benchmark shows that 45% of companies are consolidating their UC environments onto a single primary platform, with 53% of those who are consolidating, doing so on Microsoft. Meanwhile 77% of those adopting cloud based collaboration platforms are using Office 365. Nemertes 2016 study on small room video conferencing showed that 32% of companies were increasing small room video conferencing deployments, with key requirements being low cost (< $3,000 per room), web conferencing integration, and
the ability to connect small rooms to existing larger room systems, all features of the recently announced solutions.

Those using Skype for Business (on-premises or via Office 365) should evaluate these new solutions as a means to bring visual collaboration to additional meeting spaces to meet ever increasing employee demand for pervasive video conferencing.

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