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Saturday, August 31, 2013

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Windows Certification Newsletter for August 28, 2013


New version of the Windows HCK for Windows 8.1 available
You can now download the RTM version of the Windows Hardware Certification Kit (HCK).
The Dashboard will accept certification submissions from either the HCK for Windows 8.1 Preview or the RTM version until November 30, 2013. After that, you must use the RTM version of the HCK for Windows 8.1.

Writing Better Articles with a Back-to-School Attitude



Apply the basics of education to your article writing practice.
Depending on where you live, the school year has already begun, or will shortly, and another season of formal education begins anew.
Education has evolved over the years to become an arguably effective system of passing knowledge and skills onto others. Article writing is very much like school in that your articles are essentially lessons you're teaching to your readers.
If you approach your writing with the same attitude a good teacher (or student) approaches school, your chances for success will increase dramatically. Here are some lessons we can take from the world of formal education.
6 Back-to-School Basics for Expert Authors
  • Develop a Lesson Plan - Just like in school, you don't want to dive into your article writing without a lesson plan. Develop a plan, called an Editorial Calendar, to map out exactly what you're going to teach your readers and in what order. Then assign each article (lesson) a date. Provided you follow your plan, your readers should approach your Resource Box feeling educated and enlightened.
  • Sit Quietly at Your Desk - Writing high-quality articles is most efficient, and quick, when you're in "The Zone" (as we like to call it). The Zone is that mental state where the words just seem to flow from your keyboard. Getting into The Zone can often be very elusive, but there are some things that will help.
    1. Designate your Writing Spot - This could be a desk, a table, a couch, or whatever gets you into The Zone. Always use this for your writing and your brain will slip into The Zone whenever you sit down there.
    2. Create a Ritual - Always do things the same way as you prepare to write. Maybe it means putting on music and getting yourself a cup of coffee. Whatever it is, embracing it each time you write will help you prepare mentally for the task ahead.
    3. Avoid Distractions - Turn off the phone, email, texting, everything. If you're going to write, be 100% immersed into the process.
  • Master the Basics - In "teaching" your readers, you should always demonstrate best practices. This includes:
    1. Reading - Be certain that you proofread your articles before you submit them! Read and reread them to ensure that you're delivering quality articles.
    2. Writing - It is vitally important that your writing be top notch and free of grammatical and spelling errors. Anything less will severely diminish your credibility as an author and could result in your reader simply clicking away from your article.
    3. Arithmetic - Keep an eye on your word count. EzineArticles Editorial Guidelines aside, it's suggested that you keep your articles between 500 and 700 words. Why? Because this is the optimal length for delivering high-quality information without risking your reader will go elsewhere due to the length.

  • Study in Your Niche - As far as your reader is concerned, you ARE the expert in your field. Act like it by studying everything you can in your niche and applying that knowledge to your articles. And never, ever write about something you don't know. An article with inaccurate information could ruin your credibility instantly.
  • Involve Yourself in Extracurricular Activities - Studying within your niche will only get you so far. Be sure to also spend time outside your field of expertise while, simultaneously, keeping it in the back of your mind. Look for analogies, comparisons, and connections to other areas of interest that could be used as the basis for your next article.
  • Choose Fill-in-the-Blank Over Essay - In essence, articles are just like the essays you wrote in school. Writing essays can be challenging and time consuming. On the other hand, filling in the blanks can be a lot quicker, easier, and often produce higher quality scores ... ahem, results.
    That's why EzineArticles created our Article Templates. These templates not only give you great ideas, they also provide a fill-in-the-blanks PDF that provides the article's style, structure and section topics. By simply filling in the blanks, you can create articles based on your expertise that your audience will love to read. Check out the free article template sample here. If you like it (and we know you will), go here and get the template sets you need to make your articles awesome!
The parallels between school and article writing could go on and on. Stop and think about some of the things you learned during those years and apply them to your article writing practices. You'll undoubtedly find that much of what your teachers shared back then can still be put to good use today.

7 Traits of Highly Effective Leaders

7 Traits of Highly Effective Leaders
(Inc) - While great leaders may sometimes be born that way, there are certain traits that great leaders share in common that anyone can practice and adopt to become more effective. What qualities are those? Well, to be a highly effective leader, you must ... 
MORE HEADLINES
7 Tips for Emailing Extraordinarily Busy People
(Inc) - Some simple techniques can help massively improve your ability to get busy people to take action on your important emails. And they will appreciate it, too.
IRS Issues Final Rules on Obamacares "Individual Mandate"
(Reuters) - The Internal Revenue Service issued final rules on Tuesday for the individual mandate of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, one of the most contentious elements of the U.S. law set to go into effect next year.
2013 Tax Software Survey
(Reuters) - The Internal Revenue Service issued final rules on Tuesday for the individual mandate of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, one of the most contentious elements of the U.S. law set to go into effect next year.
Best Tax Practices for Small Businesses
(Accounting Today) - The Internal Revenue Service has sent letters to thousands of small business owners recently, questioning whether they underpaid their taxes last year. 
The Accountant 4-1-1

Get More Traffic With The New StumbleUpon Paid Discovery Feature

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
While the world of social networks is generally believed to be involving Facebook and Twitter only, there’s this whole other dimension, StumbleUpon that is equally beneficial from a business point of view. StumbleUpon is an online channel for discovering information from all over the internet, about your subjects of interest (set manually). With a user base of over 25 Million stumblers who are constantly looking for something new and exciting, it stands as a good platform for the advertisers. With the introduction of the Paid Discovery feature, its popularity and worth exponentially increased in the eyes of the content marketers because of the many advantages it has over other procedures.
Read more »

Lync Partner Connect Newsletter – August 2013 Edition



News and Events

Take advantage of the FY14 Office 365 Deployment Offer for qualifying partners

It’s easy to deploy Office 365. Help your customers get up and running quickly using our 3 step approach. Start with a pilot, deploy to the rest of their organization and continue to enhance the solution. Customers can learn more at http://fasttrack.office.com/.

Starting September 1, 2013, customers who purchase a minimum of 150 seats of eligible Office 365 Enterprise SKUs* will qualify for an investment toward their Office 365 deployment. During the offer period, Microsoft will reimburse MCS or a qualified partner up to $20,000 per tenant toward a fixed scope of FastTrack step 2 deployment activities. Net new purchases of E-Plans or Exchange Online will be eligible for this investment. This offer is available September 1, 2013 through March 2014. Take advantage of this offer today on the Drumbeat site (Sales Resources for Office 365) < Offer tab or directly at https://drumbeat.office.com/fasttrack#offer.

* Visit https://drumbeat.office.com/fasttrack#offer for full offer details and eligibility.





Guided walk-through for troubleshooting communication between Lync Online users and their federated contacts

Need help setting up communication between Lync online users and their federated contacts in other organizations? This guided walk-through—based on analysis of Microsoft Support cases—walks you through the essential steps.


In This Issue
News and Events
Training and Readiness
Hardware and Devices
Lync Applications
Case Studies

Resources
Communications Competency
Microsoft Certified Master
Win in Compete Situations
Microsoft Pinpoint
NextHop Blog
UC Open Interoperability Program

Contact Us
Feedback and Questions
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Training and Readiness

FY14 Lync Partner playbooks on MPN

In case you missed them, no matter how you partner with Microsoft, there’s a playbook for you. You can access the FY14 Partner Playbooks on MPN at the following links.

Communications Competency and Lync Partner Readiness Playbook
Independent Hardware Vendors Playbook
ISV Playbook
Lync Solutions Providers Playbook
System Integrators Playbook

As always you can access these updated playbooks along with other key partner resources on the Lync Partner Connect SkyDrive.






Hardware and Devices

Audiocodes Expands Lync Branch Survivability Solutions

AudioCodes now offers Lync survivability solutions for branch offices of all sizes. In addition to its range of Survivable Branch Appliances (SBA), which provide uninterrupted Lync voice communications for medium-sized branches, AudioCodes has added a series of Resilient Branch Appliances (RBA) for small branch offices. Based on AudioCodes Mediant 500, 800, and 850 Multi-service Business Router (MSBR) platforms, the cost-effective RBA solution makes use of redundant cellular and wire line WAN links to ensure uninterrupted communications with the central Lync Server 2013.

For information, download the Branch Survivability for Microsoft Lync brochure or contact Rex Harris at AudioCodes (Americas) or David Messer at AudioCodes (Rest of World).







Novus fills unmet need for SMBs

For many small and mid-sized businesses, load balancers are simply beyond their reach in terms of cost and complexity. Still, SMBs need these products to evenly distribute traffic among servers and routers. KEMP Technologies fills this need with its LoadMaster line of load balancers, which optimized traffic for Lync environments.

Novus, a boutique reseller of telecommunications equipment and Lync hardware, now carries KEMP’s entire lineup of LoadMaster load balancers. KEMP’s load balancers for Lync environments feature enterprise attributes while focusing on ease of use and lower cost. KEMP’s load balancers provide 99.999% uptime for application infrastructures, which, in many organizations, is a requirement for meeting SLAs.

Read the LoadMaster deployment guide and LoadMaster product datasheet for more info on KEMP LoadMaster products and contact Chris Meehan at Novus LLC for additional questions.







New Head of Channel and Partner Marketing

Erna Arnesen has joined the company as vice president of Global Channel and Partner Marketing. She is responsible for developing the company’s global channel and strategic alliance marketing strategies. Read more at Plantronics Press Room.







Polycom WPC 2013 sessions available on Youtube!

Polycom would like to thank everyone who visited the Polycom booth at the Microsoft WPC 2013 in Houston. There was a lot of excitement and interest generated by the press release "Polycom Unveils Innovative Around-the-Table Video Collaboration Experience with Full HD, 360-Degree Panoramic Video Solutions Built for Microsoft Lync Environments." For those who were unable to attend, the following sessions are available on YouTube:

Polycom CX5500/CX5100 Preview and Voice Demo at Microsoft WPC 2013 – Polycom Senior Product Marketing Manager, Peter Huboi, previews newly announced Polycom CX5500/5100 and Polycom voice solutions available for Lync.
Polycom VVX- Lync Integration Demo (Part 1: Better Together over Ethernet) at WPC – Polycom UC Architect and Lync MVP, Adam Jacobs, demonstrates Better Together over Ethernet feature available on upcoming UCS 5.0 software release.
Polycom VVX-Lync Integration (Part 2: Call Park and Lync Directory) at WPC 2013 – Polycom UC Architect and Lync MVP, Adam Jacobs, demonstrates Call Park and Lync Directory feature available on upcoming UCS 5.0 software release.







Sennheiser Premium Wireless Headsets optimized for Lync

Sennheiser introduces the availability of SD Series DECT wireless headsets in the North American and Latin American markets this quarter. This new series of headsets is designed to improve call quality and boost productivity for business professionals using Lync. Sennheiser voice clarity and excellent wearing comfort bring hands-free freedom and premium sound quality to the Americas.

Features include:

Sennheiser voice clarity – wideband sound for natural listening experiences
Noise-cancelling microphone – filters out unwanted background noise
Full workday talk time – 8 hours in wideband sound mode and 12 hours in narrowband sound mode
Recharge 50% of your battery in 20 minutes – intelligent fast charging
Long distance wireless range – in typical office building: up to 180 ft./55 m.; in line of sight: up to 590 ft./180 m.
ActiveGard technology – protects your hearing against acoustic shock







snom demos enhanced better together over Ethernet!

snom is once again "One Step Beyond" when it comes to Lync qualified IP phones. The snom UC edition will soon feature "Enhanced Better Together" PC pairing including click-to-dial, call transfer and ad hoc conferencing! Watch the Enhanced Better Together demo video!

Viva las Vegas! snom will be a Gold Sponsor at ITEXPO in Las Vegas (August 26-29) and this will be another chance to witness Enhanced Better Together live in action! If you haven’t already done so, register now and get down to booth #715: Register for ITEXPO

Become a snom UC partner at www.snom-uc-edition.com and for additional questions contact UC-sales@snom.com.







New Sonus Whitepaper: Understanding Lync 911 for Enterprises

Enhanced 911 (E911) support is a critical component of an enterprise voice system. Lync natively provides users with industry leading E911 capabilities. However, to take advantage of these capabilities, organizations require an E911 solution to deliver accurate location information to the appropriate Public Safety Answering Point. This whitepaper looks at the how E911 works with Lync and how an enterprise can provide a better E911 solution for employees. Read the whitepaper.

Microsoft Technology Centers Integrate Sonus Session Border Controllers Globally

Sonus has announced that its session border controllers (SBCs) are being integrated into Microsoft Technology Centers globally, allowing enterprise companies to experience first-hand the powerful combination of Sonus SBCs in a Lync Enterprise deployment. Read the press release.







Westcon Convergence Launches Two New Lync Solution Videos

Westcon Convergence stood out from the crowd at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference last month, delivering its Lync value proposition and engaging with partners. Westcon launched two new videos at WPC that demonstrate how Westcon’s broad ecosystem can help resellers source the right partners for Lync, and simplify the deployment of the solution. Watch the videos!


Westcon Marketing Contact: Runa Macleod@westcon.co.uk, European Channel Marketing Director, Westcon Convergence, UK +44 1293 806053.







Lync Applications

Aspect Unified IP

Aspect® is the only provider of a fully-integrated, multi-channel interaction management and workforce optimization platform for contact centers. Integrating Aspect Unified IP with Microsoft Lync Server 2013 connects customers through voice and instant messaging (IM) and empowers agents to find experts for first call resolution using presence and desktop sharing. Find out more about Aspect Unified IP.







Periscope Qualifies for Lync 2013

Periscope GC for Billing and Enhanced Reporting on Lync recognizes that Lync provides an opportunity to deliver more for our customers. Not only does Lync deliver a rich Unified Communications environment for users, but it coincides with the latest Microsoft technologies in operating system, database and web application development.

Periscope GC takes advantage of these developments to deliver a rich web based user experience providing well established telecoms reporting features such as on-billing, Call Cost Accounting and service provider bill import and extending that further to drive business analytics around the Unified Communications play. Find out more about Periscope GC.







Altigen’s Max ACD

MaxACD Lync native contact center combines several separate compelling contact center productivity applications into one integrated system that works with Lync Server 2010 & 2013 to handle automatic call distribution (ACD), skills-based data-directed routing, call recording, and reporting functions.

MaxACD takes advantage of AltiGen’s 15 years of contact center technology innovation to deliver a complete, integrated software-based contact center solution for Microsoft Lync.

MaxACD includes a robust SDK with APIs to integrate information from your back office applications to build sophisticated routing rules, screen pops, CRM and ERP integration.







Trio Enterprise and Enterprise Attendant

Enterprise Attendant is developed upon a Scandinavian model, Trio Enterprise Attendant Console brings you a high-end switchboard solution which integrates fully with the voice telephony and collaboration capabilities of Lync. When using the attendant console you can for example camp on busy Lync users or transfer calls to mobile phones. You will also get returning calls if the destination doesn’t answer so that you may transfer to someone else in the same department.

Trio Enterprise is a multimedia Contact Center with Attendant functionality, Trio Enterprise from Enghouse Interactive is developed upon a Scandinavian model. Integrating fully with the voice telephony and collaboration capabilities of MS Lync it also supports Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory. Manage all types of customer interactions such as Voice Call, Exchange UM Voicemail, SMS, e-mail, Web Chat & Web Callback, in one single application. Find out more about Trio.







Netscout nGenious Voice | Video Manager

nGenius Voice | Video Manager t is a unified communications performance monitoring solution enabling comprehensive service delivery management for Lync Server deployments by delivering real-time visibility into end-to-end call performance for voice and video sessions. Flexible workflows enable powerful analysis and troubleshooting procedures supporting both proactive and reactive service management tasks. A broad range of immediate and measurable benefits are provided which accelerate the adoption and deployment of Microsoft Lync. Find out more about nGenious Voice | Video Manager.







UNIFY2 PowerSat helps Fortune 100 Healthcare Services Company to increase productivity and reduce costs with a Lync deployment

This large healthcare services organization grew rapidly through acquisitions, where legacy telephony systems remained intact. This resulted in a patchwork of aging systems and ongoing, costly and time-consuming upgrades and refresh cycles.

Working closely with the Unify Square team and after evaluating different alternatives, the customer decided to deploy Microsoft Lync with Enterprise Voice and replace its existing PBX systems. Using PowerSAT allowed the customer to quickly survey people and pinpoint areas to address in a proactive fashion.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) were established for this project: reduce conferencing costs; consolidate PBX infrastructure to a comprehensive UC platform, and increase employees’ productivity. Read more.







Case Studies

The international law firm CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz opts for secure communication

Vienna, Austria – International companies in particular face a challenge in heterogeneous telecommunications infrastructures and the lack of a fax connection to document management systems. Since introducing Lync 2010 and now Lync 2013 as a multisite unified communications solution, the international law firm CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz operates a state-of-the-art ICT infrastructure. Apart from the cost savings through IP telephony and simplified user administration, the firm benefits especially from the connection between the communications server and the other Office applications. The OfficeMaster solution by Ferrari electronic integrates a communications channel that remains vital for legal communications: fax. Read more.







Jetstar Takes off in Asia with Network-based Telephony and Multi-party Desktop Video

Melbourne, Australia – To expand rapidly in Asia, Australian airline, The Jetstar Group (Jetstar) wanted an easily deployable telephony and video platform that supported top-grade collaboration and mobility. Between 2010 and 2013, the firm deployed successive versions of the unified communications platform, Microsoft Lync, with on-premises deployments of Microsoft Lync Server 2010 in Melbourne and Tokyo, and Lync Server 2013 in Hong Kong. Powered by multi-party desktop videoconferencing and click-to-call telephony, transnational teamwork soared, helping Jetstar launch a new airline in Japan months ahead of schedule. Read more.







Plantronics Wearable Technology enables Avtex to provide seamless Lync experience

Rich presence, such as knowing the status of colleagues, and instant messaging (IM) capabilities help workers find and communicate with one another more efficiently and effectively. Integration with familiar Microsoft Office productivity tools and Microsoft Lync makes IM and presence a natural part of everyday workflow. Leveraging the Plantronics Spokes SDK and the contextually aware Voyager Legend UC, Avtex Smart Forward Agent Application allows users to automatically turn the Lync Call Forwarding or Simultaneous Ring features on when the user walks away from their PC. Watch the demo video and read the case study.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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