TechSperience

Transcript of Episode 24 - A meeting room system that brings collaboration to new heights

March 6, 2020

Episode 24: A meeting room system that brings collaboration to new heights

 With James Hilliard

 

 

This transcript was originally posted on the Connected Community.

 

James Hilliard:

Hey there, folks. James Hilliard back with you on this episode of Connection's TechSperience. Glad to have Dan Fischetti on board. He is a Senior Program Manager with our Microsoft Center of Excellence. Scott Roberts is here with Connection, our Lenovo Program Manager. And Burt Kersey from Lenovo, a Channel Account Manager. And guys, we're all gathered here today. We're going to be talking about meetings. I want to lay out as we start things off a little bit of a thought about meetings, so follow me on this one. Most meetings that I attend or have attended in the past year have been a little cumbersome. Dan, you agree or disagree?

 

Dan Fischetti:

Agree.

 

James Hilliard:

Scott, agree or disagree?

 

Scott Roberts:

Full commitment.

 

James Hilliard:

Burt, what about you?

 

Burt Kersey:

True.

 

James Hilliard:

(Laughs). And I can say the same thing from my end. Let's go back around the table then, Dan, give me some color. Give me an experience that you've had getting a meeting started sometime in the last close-close proximity, maybe let's say a month, and what was that experience like? Give us the horror story.

 

Dan Fischetti:

It was horrible. It was, it was ... Basically, a meeting starts five, 10 minutes late, because you have 16, 20 people, whatever that number is dialing in late. Full audio blaring in the background of something going on. And, you know, a dog or two barking. So, when you have only an hour to get to a meeting and do it and deliver all of your content to your audience, but then you're short ... That timeframe's shortened by 15 minutes because of kicking everything off because of these issues. It's very annoying to deal with it.

 

James Hilliard:

Scott, your experience, worse case?

 

Scott Roberts:

I think, for me, I'll take a different kind of angle. I'll think about external collaboration, right? With customers or prospects. And some of the challenges there are just looking unprofessional, right? Because somebody on your side, my own team is trying to join a meeting, doesn't have the link, trying to call me on my cellphone. I'm trying to make excuses while the prospect's precious time is ticking away and I'm thinking about losing the sale, right? And that, to me, is the worst offense that I run into with collaboration.

 

James Hilliard:

Burt, what about you? A bad meeting kickoff experience in the last month or so.

 

Burt Kersey:

I'll tell you what, here's a funny story. I had a meeting with a guy, we were working on a, a project. He works remotely and he's pretty high up the chain. And so, getting this meeting, first of all, was very important. Second of all, same type of situation. He's having a hard time dialing in. We're having a hard time dialing in. Once you're in there four or five minutes late. We go through the, "Hey, how's all the weather?" Right? So now, I've only got a limited time. Next thing you know, someone else is trying to dial into my bridge, beeping on the number, so you hear people blink, blink, blink, blink.

 

And then, he's getting a little annoyed and I understand that. Then someone keeps talking and we can't figure out who it is. We don't know who to put on mute. (laughs It was wild. And after that, some people lost interest. Not only that, we asked someone a question and they say, "Can you repeat the question?" They weren't paying attention. So honestly, it was just a huge failure. I sent some apology emails afterwards.

 

James Hilliard:

And that's the part that you don't ... Yeah, it goes back to, I think what Scott was saying, right? That embarrassment factor, that we don't look professional. I had two stories I'll give you guys really quick. One, it's those standing meeting rooms. And so, I was on with a call with someone else. She had double-booked. All of a sudden these people that shouldn't have been in that meeting, they start dialing in. So she's constantly saying, "Oh wait, no. That one got moved. Sorry, you got to go here." We didn't get anything accomplished. So that was one of those standing meeting room issues.

 

To the point of the muting and not knowing the tools, and this is something I think we'll talk a little bit later on, was on an event, high-level. We're talking VP like reporting to the C-suite. This happened to be on a larger company-all meeting. I'm moderating it. This guy did not come on and learn some of the tools, as we had asked him to prior to the (laughs) meeting. Afterwards, he was very frustrated. He starts ripping his assistant, but guess what he forgot to do guys?

 

Burt Kersey:

He didn't put it on mute.

 

James Hilliard:

He didn't put it on mute. And so, everybody heard this high-level guy who had just given a lot of information, what a jerk he was. And that was a major faux pas. I mean, there were repercussions. I was outside of the company, so I only heard kind of the fringes of what happened, but there were major repercussions for that guy. And then, their process of how they were going to handle meetings and things like that.

 

Thanks for sharing the stories. I think basically for everyone listening, we've all had (laughs) those experiences. And so, let's talk about, right? How we can adjust that and some of the things that are available to us here. One of the things, folks, we're going to be talking about is Microsoft Teams today, so we'll give you a little primer too if you're not familiar with using Teams yet.

 

We'll talk a little bit about what teams are and how you can use them and how they're being used successfully by groups out there. And then we're going to be talking about the ThinkSmart Hub 500, which is from Lenovo and one of these kind of unified collaboration technologies that we can use to avoid a whole lot of these issues. And in fact, let's go to ease of use. And I want to start with Scott. And Burt, you've given us a little idea there. Burt, maybe I'll come to you on the idea of that in muting and just the ... What is available using this new ThinkSmart Hub to make it easy for us to interact. Some of these systems are just cumbersome. You don't know where the mute is. You don't know whether you're doing it on the hardware or if you do a software mute. Talk about that for a minute. Tell me what you guys have been investing in and working on for the Hub 500.

 

Scott Roberts:

Absolutely, right. And you hit the nail on the head. It's the way it's supposed to work is you don't even know that the hardware's there, right? It's supposed to work in seamlessly and once you have it all set up, you never have to think about it again. When it comes to working on the mute, right? Sometimes folks don't know they have to click the button in the software, do I have to do it on my phone? Do I do a mixture of both of them? If you're in the meeting, running the meeting with the ThinkSmart 500 physically in front of you, it has a nice big touchscreen to it, and you can control all of that. On the machine itself, you can know if you're on mute because it has a green light or a red light at the bottom that anyone (laughs) can see from a 360-degree angle, right? Not only that, you can click and choose each user that you would like to mute or unmute. You have a very easy way to do it. It interacts with Teams, right Dan?

 

Dan Fischetti:

Right. Yeah, that's the beauty part of how Microsoft really has evolved basically from Skype for business to Teams now. As far as the user interface side of the software, it's realistically the same from Skype to Teams. It's how do you pick the call up? How do you mute? How do you do all that?

 

James Hilliard:

Right.

 

Dan Fischetti:

So with a lot of the customers and users out there that have already used Legacy Skype, it's a very easy kind of transition, so to speak, to the customer still using the software. They just have to go somewhere different to fire up the software itself. When it comes to the device side, with the smart hub, it's pretty much easy.

 

James Hilliard:

Right.

 

Dan Fischetti:

You know? Let's really call it what it is. Let's not over-complicate it, it's really easy. The other day, Scott, you and I, we sat there at your desk setting ... We set the device up.

 

Scott Roberts:

Yeah.

 

Dan Fischetti:

And it was a pretty easy process when it comes to… How do we integrate the Office 365 subscription-

 

Scott Roberts:

Yep.

 

Dan Fischetti:

... into the device itself? I mean, we had that thing fired up within five minutes after some light reading. Boom, we were ready to go, and we already fired off a meeting and we started testing it immediately. It was pretty cool.

 

Scott Roberts:

Yeah. I mean, this is purpose-built device.

 

James Hilliard:

This is Scott, right?

 

Dan Fischetti:

Right.

 

Scott Roberts:

So, when we talk purpose-built here, we're not saying ... This isn't something that was cobbled together or an afterthought. This was brought together by Lenovo's ThinkSmart team, purpose-built to help with collaboration, to make it easy, super easy. So Lenovo did all these tests with just random people off the street and they were setting up meetings in a matter of, 30, 45 seconds. Super easy. With no training, no reading the manual. It's intuitive. Everything syncs up with Microsoft on the active directory side, so you don't have to worry about trying to figure out email addresses, phone numbers. It's one screen that controls everything. One stone to control them all or something like that. (Laughs). You know what I'm talking about... But it is, it's really, really easy.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah.

 

James Hilliard:

Scott, do us a favor. Paint a visual picture of the device for folks that are listening to us right now. How big is this? Talk about the screen. What's it look like when sitting in a conference room? Or, describe that for us. Give us that visual picture.

 

Scott Roberts:

Absolutely. So, from a size perspective, for those who are familiar with the Lenovo Tiny. You're looking at a tiny sized device, so it's very small. I don't know, Burt, do you know the dimensions?

 

Burt Kersey:

Hardback book.

 

Scott Roberts:

Thank you, thank you. Hardback ... I believe-

 

Burt Kersey:

Probably a nine by 11 hardback book. It's a one liter box, right? So that's sitting on the base.

 

Scott Roberts:

(Laughs). That hardback book was funny. Anyway, (laughs), I think it's a hardcover. We got corrected. (Laughs). I failed to continue thinking after you said that. Anyway. We're talking hard-hard ... Now I can't even say anything about that. We'll just move on. It’s the size of a Tiny, so, really small. It's got a 360 degree swiveling screen, about 10 inches. 10 or 13 inches.

 

Burt Kersey:

A tablet, 11 inch. Yeah.

 

Scott Roberts:

Yep, yep, yep.

 

Dan Fischetti:

It's a hardback book.

 

Scott Roberts:

Yeah. (Laughs). And from there it integrates right into the phone conferencing. So, this room ... Imagine a room where you walk in, and there's just one clean uncluttered device sitting at the center of your conference room. Where there's wire guards to help keep all the cables organized, clean and crisp-looking. You don't have multiple keyboards, or mice, or clickers. It's just one device right in the middle of the room. Aesthetically, I'm really pleased with how it looks. And it feels like it was designed for collaboration, not an afterthought.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Right. Yeah, I wanted to take it home when we were done setting it up.

Scott Roberts:

Yeah.

 

Dan Fischetti:

It was that, it was that pretty cool. Like-

 

Scott Roberts:

Yep.

 

Dan Fischetti:

I just enjoyed using the device itself and that was just from not even really even getting into the Teams part.

 

Scott Roberts:

Yep.

 

Dan Fischetti:

You know, outside of that it was just very easy to use and boom, there you go.

 

Scott Roberts:

Yeah. And this is probably going to maybe go a little bit farther. When you walk into the room, the way the device is set up, it's integrated into the active directory as a room. You don't have to worry about logging into any machine or anything like that. When you get into that room, your meeting is right there. You simply just touch it on the screen. It's literally that touchscreen experience. That's all you have to do is just touch it and it fires everything up. It automatically knows how many people are in the meeting and who's displaying their camera and will kind of partition the screen appropriately.

 

Burt Kersey:

Right.

 

Scott Roberts:

I mean, it's a really smart device.

 

James Hilliard:

Is there an ideal usage group in the room? 10 people to meet in a room and all the audio is going to pick them up fine. Can you go to a much larger space? How many people can be connected in? Can we just do this for those smaller groups? Can you do maybe a company-all, if you've got, say, a thousand folks in your organization spread out throughout the country? Can it handle that?

 

Scott Roberts:

James, great question. You hit the nail on the head with the number 10. It's meant to small to medium, uh, collaboration rooms. The microphones are far-reaching microphones. It's going to be able to prevent the echo for a small to medium room. We are working on a solution that will come out in the future. I can't give you any teasers, for larger collaboration spaces. But for now, small to medium collaboration rooms.

 

Dan Fischetti:

This is Dan hopping in here. What's cool of Microsoft Teams is the fact that, you know, as organizations grow, there's always subgroups of teams. No pun intended, but pun intended, right?

 

Burt Kersey:

Right.

 

Dan Fischetti:

There's always subgroups. So you can set up different subgroups inside of Teams itself, where you can have a couple different teams integrated in the one call and you'd be able to share everything that you need to share from files going through a whiteboard, having anything from taking meetings notes. All that type of stuff, you pretty much fire it up on the fly.

 

Burt Kersey:

Right.

 

Dan Fischetti:

And you don't have to leave 16 different applications open to go figure out, "Oh, what did I do in notes?" No, I can just go here, type, boom, boom, there we go.

 

Burt Kersey:

Yeah.

 

Dan Fischetti:

That's the ability of not only the device, but also the software in itself.

 

Burt Kersey:

Right, yeah.

 

Dan Fischetti:

... to deliver that, because pain point. I'm not going to lie, internally I have six different communication tools, like Slack.

 

Burt Kersey:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, yeah.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Like where are you guys at with it? How many different IM communicators, video, chat, whatever? Where are you guys all at?

 

Scott Roberts:

Hangouts, Skype, Teams, Zoom, you name them.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Right. I think we all have them, right? My point is, is that Teams can integrate that all together, where you can fire it all up right through Teams and not have to worry about separate logins.

 

Scott Roberts:

Yeah. I think as we ... I was just reading in Lenovo's case study actually about the Hub 500. 32% of meetings occurring today are kind of in this virtual environment, right? Where there might be a couple people in the room, but the majority of the workforce is out in their home. Burt and I were on a call yesterday on Teams, and Burt's sitting in his home office, right? With a jacket on, because apparently, he was outside in the cold-

 

Burt Kersey:

(Laughs). It was cold.

 

Scott Roberts:

But the thing is that they envision, right? The way this works is that everybody ... Those that are in the office come to that meeting room, right? With their laptop in hand and everybody's kind of reviewing the content on their own screen or passing ... It's not even passing control. People can immediately share from their own device, as well as anybody who's in remote territory. That really embodies the modern meeting.

 

Burt Kersey:

Right.

 

Scott Roberts:

I mean, that's where we're headed. And people have to start to get on board with this, right? And start unifying their solutions, making it more cohesive. Right now with these five, 10 different applications, files stored all over the place, it's just horribly, horribly inefficient, right?

 

Dan Fischetti:

And that's what Microsoft's done a great job of is tying it all together and making it easy. And that's the message, is full collaboration from the Microsoft side. As long as you have basically Microsoft 365 subscriptions in your environment-

 

Scott Roberts:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Dan Fischetti:

... you already have Teams. It's how-

 

Scott Roberts:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Dan Fischetti:

... how are you using it and how are you ... And that can help the adoption side of things. Like with Connection, we have the ability to help our customers adopt not only the technology, but also ... The software technology, but-

 

Scott Roberts:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Dan Fischetti:

... it can also help adopt the Lenovo technology as well.

 

Scott Roberts:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Dan Fischetti:

So it's all one solution together. Very simple, very easy to use at the end of the day.

 

James Hilliard:

Well, what I hear as well is the idea ... Again, I'll put us back into one of those bad meetings. And we've all been there where someone in the room ... Say we are remote, and we might be seeing some screen share or something. But then Johnny over in the corner decides he needs to share something and that's not connected. So, we either got to find that little dongle to try and connect to his laptop. So now we're stopping down the meeting here. And then it doesn't work, or, "Oh no, it's that ... " So then they just start talking in the room about what Johnny's showing on his screen, but neither remote guy, I don't see that. So, then I'm saying, "Hey Johnny, can you follow-up with me and can you send me that later and can we have a one-off meeting so I can see what you walked through?" That's one of those chaotic situations.

 

Burt Kersey:

The ThinkSmart Hub 500 fixes it. You don't even have to connect into it. You can present from your local device. It will go to it. It will present to the screen internally in the collaboration space-

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yep.

 

Burt Kersey:

... using Teams, anyone can see it displayed onto their device, right?

 

James Hilliard:

Burt, let me get back into you for a moment here, because you had actually told me before we started chatting here that you are rather new to using Teams. And so, I wanted to get your take on it and what was it like as you started using Teams? What was the... Maybe give me one or two top Aha! moments that you were like, "Wow, this is now going to be a different way that I might be working."

Burt Kersey:

Honestly, uh, it blew my mind for a couple of reasons. Number one, first and foremost is using video chat. It's not something I previously regularly did. But being able to see my face, being able to see who I'm working with and collaborating with... And I work remote from the headquarters at Lenovo. So I'm having these meetings all the time, but physically seeing them. Honestly, it takes it to a whole new level of collaboration. One, you're paying attention. Because you, they know if you're paying attention or not. Two, and I'm not going to get caught like I've been caught before, "Hey, Burt, what do you have to say about that?" And I say, "Huh? (Laughs). Come again." Right? but, it is a major game changer in terms of productivity and efficiency.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Think about today's just consumer environment, though. What are most people using when it comes to iPhone? It's-

 

Burt Kersey:

FaceTime.

 

Dan Fischetti:

FaceTime, right?

 

Scott Roberts:

Yep, yep.

 

Dan Fischetti:

That's what we're bringing into the world of business-

 

Scott Roberts:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Dan Fischetti:

... is the FaceTime to interpersonal skills. So you start looking at, even today's kids that are coming out of college, coming in, the younger workforce generation, it's social media and it's-

 

Scott Roberts:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Dan Fischetti:

... it's FaceTime.

 

Scott Roberts:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Dan Fischetti:

So that's what Microsoft and Lenovo and all of our other partners are here developing that consumer environment in the business world to help basically transition kids from the real world into the consumer world, so to speak-

 

James Hilliard:

Sure.

 

Dan Fischetti:

... if you look at it that way. So ...

 

James Hilliard:

And I'll take it further from college, I've got a high schooler, middle schooler, and elementary, and they are doing that with their tools at school, whether it's video collab, the sharing of docs, all that stuff. And those are just becoming really table stakes for things now. I can go back to really in the last two weeks, I don't know if I can point to a meeting that we weren't using video that I was having to set up some business. And maybe the one that we did, it was a surprise to the other attendees. Like, "Oh, no video here?" I mean, it's really what we expect today, we can see each other and read up on all those other cues, instead of just voice, right?

 

Scott Roberts:

Well, James, check it out. How much interaction and how much communication is nonverbal?

 

James Hilliard:

It's like 70%, if not more.

 

Scott Roberts:

And it's an absurd number, right? You are losing all of that. You don't know how your audience is capturing your messaging, you don't know... They don't know how you feel about it. Unless I can physically see you. It truly is just an absolute game changer being able to see someone's face and knowing how your messaging's being received.

 

James Hilliard:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). And this has been known for a while. We're not bringing video chat now to the world for the first time. Many of us have been doing this ... Especially in business, we've been doing this for many, many years. But, it's been, Scott, that cumbersome nature. It's been the, "We’ve got to get IT in here to set (laughs) this up. We have to ... You know, something's wrong with the room in general, this whole room dedicated." What I see here with the smart hub is that you can now start dedicating many different types of rooms. You don't just have to have this one major conference video room with multiple cameras and all this other stuff set up by professionals. You can, and we know how people are changing the way they work these days and our workplaces are evolving. And so, this seems like it gives a lot of flexibility to the environment, where we want to have these meetings at our workplaces.

 

Scott Roberts:

I think you nailed it. Part of it is that you don't need that big office space or the big conference room anymore to have the meeting. And a lot of times you end up using different spaces because, "Well, this is the only room that has the setup.” Because it's the only room that we spent $50,000 equipping to be ready to have these collaborative sessions. Whereas with the the Hub 500 connecting it to Teams and having this purpose-built device, you can really go into any room, right? Three, four chairs, and you've got a space that can share content, you can collaborate, you can see through video, you can connect to other equipment in the room if you do want to have a big monitor up in that particular space, you can do that.

 

Burt Kersey:

And Scott, I think the beauty of it all is the fact that you don't necessarily have to keep it there. It doesn't take someone who has-

 

Scott Roberts:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Burt Kersey:

... any type of knowledge in IT to go and set it up.

 

Scott Roberts:

Nope.

 

Burt Kersey:

Right? There's easy cable management. It's like plugging in a VCR back in the old days, right? It's like hooking up an Xbox and-

 

James Hilliard:

Atari.

 

Burt Kersey:

Atari, yeah. (Laughs).

 

Scott Roberts:

Well, and I forget the name of the operating system that uses. It's, I think it's the Microsoft Teams kind of environment that I... There was a term for it... It's escaping me now, but my point being is when you get into the device, it's designed just for this purpose. And that's super important. Versus, trying to figure out some kind of home-built kit, so to speak.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah. It's pretty much designed, Everything's Windows 10-based and then obviously with the cloud-type of performance that it has with 365, if you want to start getting into the nitty-gritty details of Teams and how it really works. It has search functionality in there from past files-

 

James Hilliard:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Dan Fischetti:

... files that have been put in there, past conversations. So, what it is, it's a lot of it backs into SharePoint. But the thing is, when you have a repository of information that's being filtered through and going through Teams, you start looking at it instead of going through network drives and trying to figure out, "Hey, what did we talk about there?" You could really just search everything in Teams and eventually it will pull it back up and it's very intuitive. And actually, that's where it plays even more of a pretty cool-

 

Scott Roberts:

Yeah.

 

Dan Fischetti:

... avenue, when it comes into the education space.

 

James Hilliard:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Dan Fischetti:

Because now the teacher can fully integrate, or not integrate. Really, talk back and forth with all of their students around, say math problems-

 

James Hilliard:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Dan Fischetti:

... and things like that. And they could share pictures, they could share videos, they could share everything they have around a particular solution or whatever they were trying to find from a math problem. But a student has the ability to go back into Teams-

 

Scott Roberts:

Yep.

 

Dan Fischetti:

... to find the answer and go back into it, instead of just sitting there in limbo.

 

Scott Roberts:

And-

 

Dan Fischetti:

Yeah.

 

Scott Roberts:

Yeah Dan, that's so important. When you start to think about the meeting. We tend to think a lot about the challenges, getting it started. Getting on time and all the kind of whoops daisies that happen along the way, but one thing that we don't always talk about is the productivity on the backend, right? So, when you go to a meeting, there's a reason. There's a list. There should be an agenda of things we're trying to accomplish and work on. Well, it's nice and you just nailed it. If I can then actually take action on these items, right? In between our meetings and bring that up in real time, I mean, that's some, that's some accountability, right?

 

Scott Roberts:

That's actually being able to see, are we making progress, or are we just sitting here having these meetings for nothing. And I think that's a-a big piece of this-this puzzle is that, you know, we ... With this solution, right? We can now finally start to, you know, really tackle the whole issue of collaboration, which is not just the audio/visual component. It's actually managing and sharing information, documents, and projects. Which Microsoft is all over that.

 

Dan Fischetti:

That's what we're all about.

 

Scott Roberts:

Yeah.

 

Burt Kersey:

I just got back from vacation. First vacation I've taken in a long time, a full week. I realized when I came back, I forgot a lot of things that happened the week before.

 

Scott Roberts:

(Laughs).

 

Burt Kersey:

That's just because it was a good vacation. Being able to have that collaboration using Teams, having the notes there that I can go back and visit the past prior weeks and remember exactly what we talked about-

 

Dan Fischetti:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

Burt Kersey:

...it's changed my life.

 

James Hilliard:

It's that knowledge repository. Now we've got that and I heard the school example just fine. I'm also still, your example there, Burt, of being on vacation. Now, I can come back in, get back up to speed with everything that's there, and I don't have to say, "Hey, I need that one-off meeting with you to get me up to speed here." And, "Hey Rob, why don't you and I get together and do this." And, "Michelle, can I get you on the line to do ... " Right? That repository is there and that must also make it really easy for the document sharing in real time and those quick follow-ups. We don't lose what happens in the meeting. And we probably have a different conversation that needs to be had, guys, about structuring meetings. Just like, how to do a good meeting. Outside of technology (laughs) and all that, because a lot of meetings.

 

Dan Fischetti:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

 

James Hilliard:

But this is changing that. Let me go back around the table and maybe we can get, before we wrap up here. And folks, we'll give you some contact information shortly. But, some feedback. Dan, maybe start with you from a Teams perspective, but also tying it back into the idea of the smart hub here. Feedback that teams are providing and saying, "Hey, this is how it's changing how we're working and collaborating these days."

 

Dan Fischetti:

From, especially from the Microsoft side, when ... Our piece, right? It's starting to change the way our teams are working internally. Ju-, and I can say that truthfully because, I sit here and everything we just brought up and talked about, it's already saved me time on my day-to-day tasks and when working and collaborating with my peers, with my boss, with my boss's boss. It's been truly a life-changing experience inside the business world for us and for all my peers that are actually starting to really fully embrace the Teams environment.

 

James Hilliard:

Scott, for teams that are-are using the smart Hub 500, what's some of the initial feedback? Maybe those “wow” moments when you're either demoing it or you've got it up and running for the first time for them, they've had some experiences and they said, "Man Scott, this is, this is what we're experiencing." What are they saying to you?

Scott Roberts:

Yeah. I think for me, one example I'll draw on is just some of the interactions that I've had with some of my coworkers that are making up part of the younger workforce. They have expectations around coming into technology that's fluid, easy to use, intuitive. They see that. When they interact with this solution, and Teams, and the hub. They can get in there, they push a button. It's essentially like using the iPhone screen. Scroll through, you start typing somebody's name, just like you would to send a text message. Boom, there's their email. It calls them automatically. Just super intuitive. And that's important as a business. You want to recruit talent, you want to have a great solution that's easy to use, that fits into what they're used to. That's some of the feedback I'm hearing and seeing.

 

James Hilliard:

Burt, how many meetings do you have on your calendar, let's say in a given week?

 

Burt Kersey:

Probably over 30.

 

James Hilliard:

Right. Fair to say that five to 10 minutes out of maybe half of those meetings are wasted on kind of some of this set up and follow-up and some of the issues that we've described.

 

Burt Kersey:

Tons. Tons of time is wasted in set up. Hours. Or I think the number's over four and a half hours a year per employee.

 

James Hilliard:

Oh, I wouldn't doubt it. And I'm just thinking about you. If you have 30 meetings, let's cut half of them are on time and they work just fine. But the other half don’t, and you waste five minutes of those 15, that's 45 minutes or so in a week. What could you do with 45 minutes in your week?

 

Burt Kersey:

I could finally do my expense report.

 

Scott Roberts:

(Laughs).

 

Burt Kersey:

(Laughs). Honestly, I work after (laughs) hours every night. I would ... Getting that time back is so valuable. Not to mention, if it's an hourly employee, dollars saved.

 

James Hilliard:

Yeah. And I just bring it up as kind of a way as we look to close things up and wrap things up, and I'll give you guys a final word here, but the idea just for everyone listening to just think about that. What could you do? Put it over a week, put it over a month. If you could be gaining back 45 minutes in your week. And again, these are not scientific numbers. You guys may have some research numbers out there that folks have done, especially for Microsoft to see how people are saving time. But it's a commonsense number that I'm throwing out there and that's one more meeting.

 

If you're a salesperson, that means that's one more meeting you could have with a prospect and maybe that's the meeting that lands the big deal for your quarter. If you're on a marketing team, it's that one other meeting you have with that other vendor that gives you a better discount and better performance. And so, your marketing campaign now is that much more effective. That's just what I'm driving home there. Let's go around the table, kind of a final last word, last thought here on meetings, collaboration, and where we're headed. And Dan, coming from the Microsoft perspective, your call to people saying, "Hey, if you haven't done Teams, this is why I think you should do Teams." Give it to us.

 

Dan Fischetti:

If you're already invested in 365 from the subscription-based, from the cloud-based environment, you already have Teams. So, my recommendation is to evaluate, if you haven't transition over from Skype for business to Teams, please, reach out to our account managers, reach out to us directly and let's figure out how we can help you in that journey to get you over to Teams. Because you're missing out on this unbelievable collaboration platform that we're talking about. Let us help you get there in a very thought out way, that way your company can adopt the technology right the first time and we can help you get more out of your investment when it comes to not only the licensing side of the cloud subscriptions, but also pairing it well with the Lenovo device is going to set you off and you're going to be nothing but happy about moving over to this type of solution.

 

James Hilliard:

And Scott, I'm going to give you the last word. We spent a lot of time talking about the smart hub and some of the features and ideas. But again, high-level. Those that don't have it. They have the current clunky, all the issues we talked about in the beginning, and hopefully we've painted a picture that there is an alternative. Your high-level, again, reminding you guys, what that alternative is and why.

 

Scott Roberts:

Yep. So, to echo a little bit and feed off what Dan said. The key is you now have this great solution called Microsoft Teams Office. To help power your business. The logical next step is to bring in a purpose-built device. That's designed from the ground up to support collaboration that is Microsoft Team certified, right out of the gate so you know it's going to work beautifully and smoothly and help gain you guys better results across the board. Happier employees, more efficient meetings, better productivity. I mean, it's a win all around. And I think we're just scratching the surface of collaboration. I mean, this is going to be a huge thing going forward and we're excited to be working closely with Microsoft on this and delivering some great solutions.

 

James Hilliard:

There again, folks. If you want more information about the ThinkSmart Hub 500, if you want more about Teams, our best advice is reach out to your Connection Account Manager and they'll get you what you need. If you're new to Connection, you don't have a team in place yet, no worries. Just reach out directly to us, we'll get some folks that can get on board and talk with all of you.

 

With that, we are going to wrap up this episode of TechSperience. Again, James Hilliard here. My thanks to Dan, and Scott, and Burt for being on board. Best of luck to all of you out there. Go have a good meeting, hopefully, folks. We wish none of those ills (laughs) that we talked about at the beginning of our show on you, we hope everything goes nice and smooth. But if you're having those hiccups, you know that we've talked about an alternative here and you can reach out to us to get more information. With that, we're going to wrap things up. Thanks for joining us. We do look forward to talking to you all down the road.

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